Skip to main content Skip to main navigation
Skip to access and inclusion page Skip to search input

Finding a place to live

If you’re making the move down under, one of the biggest decisions you’ll need to make is deciding where to live. Whether it’s the beaches, big city lights or a more laidback coastal town, there’s no shortage of options of where you can choose to base yourself in Australia.

But as with most things when it comes to making a move overseas, the more research you can do upfront, the better prepared you’ll be for when you arrive – especially if you want to avoid blowouts to your budget.


What does it cost to rent?

How much you’re likely to pay in rent will largely depend on where you want to live. As of December 2017, the median weekly rental prices in the capital cities were:



House (est. weekly rate)

Unit (est. weekly rate)

























Source: Domain House Price Report December 2017


Whereas in many countries it’s the norm for rents to be advertised as a monthly amount, in Australia they’re almost always advertised as a weekly rate. As a rule of thumb, you’ll likely be asked to sign a minimum 12 month lease, although sometimes you may have the option of negotiating a 6-month lease instead.


There can often be stiff competition for quality rental properties in Australia, so it pays to be ready to act as soon as you find somewhere you like. Also keep in mind that rental properties in Australia generally tend to be unfurnished, so you’ll also need to consider what you’ll do for furniture when you move in as well.


What’s involved with applying for a rental property?

Having all your paperwork in order can make a big difference when you need to act quickly and having the right documents with you means you could complete an application at the time of viewing should you want to. The exact documents you need vary, but generally speaking you’ll need to provide the following:


  • Photo identification (such as your passport or driver’s licence)
  • Employment and income details
  • Bank statements that show you have available funds
  • References from previous landlords or character references


Researching where to live

Thanks to quality property websites, it’s easy to start researching rental properties online before you arrive. Aside from comprehensive property listings, both and also offer suburb profiles as well – very handy when it comes to comparing different areas to live in.

It’s also worthwhile keeping in mind transport options for where you’re looking and if you’re working how far away you’ll be and how long it’s likely to take you to get to work.

If you’ve got kids, proximity to good schools is also likely to be an important factor. The Australian Government’s My School website can give you detailed information about schools in different suburbs.


What about buying?

If you’re thinking about buying, Westpac can help you with detailed suburb profile reports for areas you’re interested in and you can also talk to one of our home loan experts when you arrive.


How can Westpac help?

One of the things you’ll need to do is sort out your banking in Australia. The good news is this is likely to be a lot easier than you’d think – in fact with some banks you can open up an Australian bank account up to 3 months before you arrive (although you will need to show your ID in branch once you arrive in Australia).

With Westpac (Australia’s oldest bank), you can open up an everyday bank account online in less than 10 minutes and transfer money straight away into your new account, and attend one of our local branches as you’ll need to verify your ID before you start using your new account.


Find out more about opening an account with Westpac

Things you should know

This information does not take into account your personal circumstances and is general in nature. It is intended as an overview only and it should not be considered a comprehensive statement on any matter or relied upon as such.