Australia: Australia's CHEAPEST city to live in is revealed

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Newcastle is the No. 1 city in Australia and New Zealand for affordability according to new data, with Auckland ranking dead last when it comes to the cost of living.

Insurance firm Budget Direct looked at basic costs such as transport, utilities and rent and measured them against average salaries to find out which cities are the cheapest.

The study comes as cost of living pressures are soaring across Australia and NZ, driven by rising global inflation from mammoth government subsidy programs during the Covid pandemic coupled with spiraling oil prices amid Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

One of Australia's leading economists Saul Eslake warns there's more 'economic pain to come' for vulnerable residents which may see an exodus from more expensive cities.

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THE COST OF LVING IN AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND REVEALED
City Avg Salary monthly Cost of Rent 1 Bed (innercity) Avg Utilities Cost (E,H,G for 85m2 apartment) Transport Monthly Pass Cost of Living (Basic costs added) Cost of Living (-) Avg Salary
1.Newcastle $5,635.71 $1,516.67 $177.92 $176.96 $1,871.55 $3,764.16
2. Darwin $5,415.80 $1,568.06 $221.00 $86.96 $1,876.02 $3,539.78
3. Perth $5,417.28 $1,626.40 $194.82 $139.00 $1,960.22 $3,457.06
4. Canberra $5,480.77 $1,936.00 $211.52 $60.00 $2,207.52 $3,273.25
5. Melbourne $5,196.99 $1,609.62 $212.18 $156.00 $1,977.80 $3,219.19
6. Sydney $6,182.35 $2,576.66 $190.19 $217.39 $2,984.24 $3,198.11
7. Brisbane $5,253.04 $1,820.00 $170.12 $198.00 $2,188.12 $3,198.11
8. Adelaide $5,022.92 $1,604.44 $287.52 $105.00 $1,996.96 $3,025.96
9. Hobart $4,761.38 $1,556.00 $306.79 $77.50 $1,940.29 $2,821.09
10. Gold Coast $4,937.05 $1,966.67 $201.21 $90.00 $2,257.88 $2,679.17
11. Wellington $4,711.14 $2,095.32 $204.72 $139.86 $2,439.90 $2,271.24
12.Auckland $4,133.67 $1,916.52 $198.96 $200.47 $2,315.95 $1,817.72

In what may come as a surprise to some, the picturesque beachside city of Newcastle was deemed to be the most affordable city with the second-highest average salary at $5,635.71 a month and low average living costs tallying $3,764.16.

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On the other end of the spectrum, NZ's Auckland was rated the most expensive major city to live.

The largest Kiwi city by population has the lowest annual average salary with $4,133.67 a month and comparatively high costs for rent and public transport.

Just behind Auckland on the list of 12 cities was the NZ capital of Wellington, which had similar figures.

Darwin, Perth and Canberra came in at second, third and fourth spot respectively, while Melbourne and Sydney reached fifth and sixth place - with Sydney's average monthly salary topping the list at $6,182.35.

Although Australia's two largest cities both have steep rent and high cost of living expenses, high salaries are able to offset the cost of living pressure.

Independent financial expert Saul Eslake, told Daily Mail Australia that skyrocketing cost of living pressures could see more workers flee expensive capital cities. Pictured: Melbourne © Provided by Daily Mail Independent financial expert Saul Eslake, told Daily Mail Australia that skyrocketing cost of living pressures could see more workers flee expensive capital cities. Pictured: Melbourne

Independent financial expert Mr Eslake, who previously held the role of chief economist at Merrill Lynch and ANZ, told Daily Mail Australia that skyrocketing cost of living pressures could see more workers flee expensive capital cities.

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'Our inflation has risen 3.5 per cent over the year to the December quarter,' he explained.

'And we will almost certainly see more increases in the price of foods, especially items that have grains or wheat in them. So things like bread, pasta, noodles and baked beans will get more expensive.

'This could lead some people to switch cities for more affordability, particularly if the trend toward more flexible working arrangements continues in the wake of Covid.'

Mr Eslake warned vulnerable Aussies will be hit the hardest by rising prices.

'The people at the bottom end of the income distribution will be feeling the most pain from this,' he said.

'If you are a pensioner or someone on a low wage, your income will not be keeping up with the increase in these prices.'

Mr Eslake warned vulnerable Aussies will be hit the hardest by rising prices. Pictured: Hardware Lane in Melbourne © Provided by Daily Mail Mr Eslake warned vulnerable Aussies will be hit the hardest by rising prices. Pictured: Hardware Lane in Melbourne

How nearly 60,000 Sydneysiders have ditched the 'boring and expensive' city due to soaring house prices and gruelling peak-hour commutes - here's where they're going

Thousands of residents have fled overpriced Sydney since the start of the pandemic with the exodus expected to continue for years to come as more people flock to Queensland.

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Updated Budget figures show 57,300 residents have left New South Wales for another state since the first half of 2020 and some 71,900 Australians overall have moved to the Sunshine State.

In the main population centre Sydney, median house prices stand at $1.41million, putting them beyond the reach of even above-average income earners and forcing many to live a long way from the city centre.

In Brisbane, a mid-priced house costs $828,175, CoreLogic data for February showed.

Dr Tony Matthews, a Brisbane-based senior lecturer in urban planning from Griffith University, said his home city offered a much better life than the long commutes in Sydney.

'It's people living in very modest houses in Sydney getting much better deals in Brisbane for the same price and getting better weather for free,' he told Daily Mail Australia.

'If you find yourself living way out in western Sydney, because that's where you can afford to live and then needing to work in the CBD and commuting for an hour and a half or two hours each way every day, that's extremely bad for your health.'

During the past two years, some 35,600 people also left Victoria for good.

The exodus from NSW, and Sydney in particular, is forecast to get worse with 30,200 more people set to leave in the upcoming 2022-23 financial year followed by another 20,000 in 2023-24, 20,200 in 2024-25 and 20,200 in 2025-26.

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By comparison, Queensland is expected to see 30,000 more people arrive in 2022-23, followed by another 19,200 in 2023-24, 19,400 in 2024-25 and 19,600 in 2025-26.

Australia's net annual overseas immigration rate - arrivals minus departures - was forecast to climb from 41,000 in 2021-22 to 180,000 in 2022-23, 213,000 in 2023-24 and 235,000 in 2024-25.

Dr Matthews said the influx of migrants to Sydney and Melbourne again was likely to encourage more long-term residents leave Australia's biggest cities for Brisbane, the Gold Coast or the Sunshine Coast.

Single image highlights Australia's cost of living crisis - as supermarket prices soar to their highest levels ever

BY OLIVIA DAY AND CHARLIE MOORE FOR DAILY MAIL AUSTRALIA

A single image of lettuces being sold for nearly $6 each at a local supermarket has revealed the stark reality of Australia's cost of living crisis.

The image, uploaded to Reddit on Tuesday, sparked a fierce debate among Australian consumers currently being choked by soaring food and petrol prices.

'A few weeks ago, when our supermarkets had a massive food shortage as a last resort I went to my local Aldi to try and get some fresh fruit and veg,' a user shared.

'They had lettuce half this size and were charging $5.50 each for them.'


Video: Cost of living increases as petrol prices rise higher (Sky News Australia)

'Nearly everything I routinely buy seems to have increased 15-20%. The increases are not small,' another commented. 'What's going on?'

Scott Morrison earlier this month warned shoppers to expect food and petrol prices to rise after Russia's invasion of Ukraine and soaring global inflation pressure.

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A single image of a local supermarket selling lettuces for nearly $6 each has revealed the stark reality of Australia's cost of living crisis as food and petrol prices continue to soar © Provided by Daily Mail A single image of a local supermarket selling lettuces for nearly $6 each has revealed the stark reality of Australia's cost of living crisis as food and petrol prices continue to soar Scott Morrison earlier this month warned shoppers to expect food and petrol prices to rise after Russia's invasion of Ukraine and soaring global inflation pressure © Provided by Daily Mail Scott Morrison earlier this month warned shoppers to expect food and petrol prices to rise after Russia's invasion of Ukraine and soaring global inflation pressure

Vladimir Putin's war and the resulting financial sanctions on his regime have pushed up global oil prices to US$130, the highest level since 2008.

The result is that Australian motorists are paying an average of about $2.20 a litre, and forking out double what they would usually pay for some grocery items.

Global food prices have also increased because the ongoing conflict has shut down ports in Ukraine, which is a major exporter of grain and vegetables.

'Food and grain prices are rising, which will pose challenges to lower income economies, including many in our own region,' the Prime Minister told AFR Business Summit in a virtual speech earlier this month.

'Commodity price rises will be the most obvious transmission channel to Australia. Petrol prices in Australia have risen, like they are elsewhere.'

Skyrocketing fuel prices is also putting pressure on the transportation of goods as trucking companies are forced to pass on the higher price of diesel to their clients.

Prices on soft drinks like Coca Cola and Fanta have increased, while Arnotts, the creator of Aussie biscuits Tim Tams is struggling to secure essential ingredients.

Global food prices have also increased because the ongoing conflict has shut down ports in Ukraine, which is a major exporter of grain and vegetables (pictured, Coles store in Canberra) © Provided by Daily Mail Global food prices have also increased because the ongoing conflict has shut down ports in Ukraine, which is a major exporter of grain and vegetables (pictured, Coles store in Canberra) Vladimir Putin's war and the resulting financial sanctions on his regime have pushed up global oil prices to US$130, the highest level since 2008 (pictured, a woman fills up her car in Sydney) © Provided by Daily Mail Vladimir Putin's war and the resulting financial sanctions on his regime have pushed up global oil prices to US$130, the highest level since 2008 (pictured, a woman fills up her car in Sydney)

Earlier this year, consumer groups One Big Switch and Frugl Grocery compared the prices of common items in February 2021 and February 2022.

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In many cases, prices have surged at rates well beyond inflation, with double-digit annual increases for soft drinks, instant coffee, canned goods and minced meat.

Coca-Cola bottles of the same size soared by 60 per cent from $2.85 to $4.55.

At Woolworths, a 10-pack of Kirks cans climbed by 70 per cent from $6.20 to $10.55.

Instant coffee prices also soared with Nescafe and Moccona going up by 50 to 74 per cent at both supermarkets.

The price increases were well beyond Australia's headline inflation rate of 3.5 per cent last year.

This occurred as Australian wages grew by just 2.3 per cent, with higher inflation effectively eating away pay increases.

Prices on soft drinks like Coca Cola and Fanta have increased, while Arnotts, the creator of Aussie biscuits Tim Tams is struggling to secure essential ingredients © Provided by Daily Mail Prices on soft drinks like Coca Cola and Fanta have increased, while Arnotts, the creator of Aussie biscuits Tim Tams is struggling to secure essential ingredients

A Coles spokesperson said a number of factors were driving inflation for all retailers, including increases in the cost of raw materials, energy price rises, freight costs, extreme weather events and ongoing Covid-19 interruptions.

'We are supporting our suppliers in areas impacted by the recent floods by visiting their sites to meet with growers and understand their individual impact, purchasing the product they have available, and continuing to work collaboratively with them in coming weeks and months as they re-establish operations,' the spokesperson said.

'We are committed to continuing to build strong, multigenerational, collaborative partnerships with Australian farmers and producers, including long-term contracts, which is why so many growers want to work with Coles.

'These partnerships enable us to source directly from suppliers and help us secure faster, fresher produce at great value for our customers.'

It comes as Treasurer Josh Frydenberg delivered his fourth federal budget on Tuesday night, which promised to lighten the load on Aussie households.

Australians earning less than $126,000 will get up to $1,500 when they submit their tax returns from July 1 under a new cost of living boost announced in the Budget.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has introduced a one-off $420 cost of living tax offset, costing a total of $4.1 billion.

When combined with the already existing Low and Middle Income Tax Offset (LMITO) worth up to $1,080, Aussies will get back up to $1,500 after submitting tax returns.

Mr Frydenberg said the measure is a sensible way to give relief to Aussies struggling as prices of food and petrol soar.

'Tonight the Morrison Government announces a new temporary, targeted and responsible cost of living package to ease these pressures,' he said in his speech.

'This measure comes on top of the $40 billion in tax relief already provided by our Government since the start of the pandemic.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg (pictured) has introduced a one-off $420 cost of living tax offset, costing a total of $4.1 billion © Provided by Daily Mail Treasurer Josh Frydenberg (pictured) has introduced a one-off $420 cost of living tax offset, costing a total of $4.1 billion

'Under the Coalition taxes for hard-working Australians will always be lower.'

Due to spiralling petrol prices, fuel duty will be cut in half for the next six months from 44.2 cents a litres to 22.1 cents a litre – saving an average household with at least one car $300.

'A family with two cars who fill up once a week could save around $30 a week or around $700 over the next six months,' Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said.

'Whether you're dropping the kids at school, driving to and from work or visiting family and friends, it will cost less.'

The cut – which will reduce receipts by $5.6billion - takes effect from midnight on Tuesday and will flow through to the bowser over the next two weeks.

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