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Perth: Housing, Visas, Cost of Living

Moving to Perth is an increasingly popular choice for expats and migrants, due to Western Australia’s strong economy and local amenities. Are you about to move to Perth, too? Check out our guide to Perth, with a profile of the city, various neighborhoods, and info on housing and cost of living.
Unfortunately, the real estate market in Perth is both fast-moving and expensive. Housing costs can be high.

How to Find Housing in Perth

Once you have chosen some residential areas where you would like to live in Perth, you should try to find accommodation quickly. The highest demand for rental housing is in the summer (i.e. between November and March). If you plan on moving to Perth in these months, prepare for higher competition on the rental market. Online sites to start your housing search include:

The last website might be particularly interesting for expats moving to Perth, as it is the official homepage of one of the main real estate associations in Western Australia. The site does not only feature a property search engine, but also has a lot of useful information regarding renting and buying housing in the state.

The Perth Real Estate Market and Housing Costs

You should take into account that the real estate market in Perth moves fairly fast. Once you see something you like, don’t hesitate to act immediately. Due to the strong competition for comfortable and affordable housing, make sure to provide the owner of a prospective new rental home with convincing evidence of your current financial stability, your most recent tax return (sometimes it is necessary), bank information, proof of residence permit or visa, and possibly a reference letter from your past landlord.

Although rent in Perth is presently far from cheap, both renting and buying costs have fallen significantly. According to the West Australian newspaper, the overall property values in Perth have declined by 0.9 percent in 2015. This may seem like a small amount, but it is estimated that the market is expected to undergo further losses. Currently, the PerthNow news claims that Perth’s properties are as much as 27 percent overvalued. Yet, the forecast remains positive and experts expect to see a moderate correction in cost. This is due to an oversupply of housing. In 2013-2014, Western Australia hit a record high for new housing starts, starting construction on nearly 29,000 units, the most since 1989.

So if you are moving to Perth, stay optimistic!

Cost of Living in Perth

In general, the cost of living in Perth is above average. However, like the cost of housing, living costs are dropping. In the 2015 Mercer Cost of Living Survey, it ranked 48th out of more than 200 expat city hotspots under review. Regarding Australia, the survey highlights that currency fluctuations can greatly impact the price of business in an international environment. In other words, the decreasing value of the Australian dollar may essentially be an advantage for Australian companies searching for talented employees. This is because the US dollar is stronger than the AUD, it is becoming more cost efficient for international companies to send workers to Australia than to other parts of the world — provided they are paid in US dollars.

However, even if you receive your salary in Australian dollars, don’t worry; for example, although Perth is still an expensive city to live in, it remains cheaper than other metropolises like New York, Shanghai, Oslo, or Singapore. To give you a few numbers: In 2015, groceries for a middle-class family of four required about 250-300 AUD a week. This sum already includes occasionally taking advantage of Woolworth’s special offers or local produce from the farmers’ market.

Furthermore, in addition to rent, utilities, and food, you have to plan for transport and healthcare costs. The latter becomes particularly important if you are not eligible for Medicare, the public health insurance plan, as is the case for most expats with a provisional (temporary) visa. Therefore make sure you receive an appropriate salary and know how to budget, and you’ll be able to enjoy the many leisure opportunities of living in Perth.

Visa and Immigration Issues

Since Australia continues to be an immigrant nation, there are various visa options for expats and migrants. However, exploring them is beyond the scope of this introduction to Perth. If you’d like to know more about common visa types, please have a look at our article on moving to Australia or the immigration section of our Melbourne expatriate guide. For in-depth details, try the Visa Finder or the comprehensive info section of the DIAC website, or contact Skilled Migration Western Australia for specific questions about moving to this region:

Skilled Migration Western Australia

Level 2

166 Murray Street

Perth WA 6000

+ 61 8 9224 6593


We do our best to keep this article up to date. However, we cannot guarantee that the information provided is always current or complete. 

Harald Waibl

"After I moved to Australia, InterNations helped me connect with some compatriots in Perth and thus start enjoying the expat way of life. "

Barbara Richter

"Thanks to InterNations, I quickly found useful tips of where to search for a flat. And I met great global minds at the same time."

Global Expat Guide