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Is 100k a year enough to live on in Sydney with stay at home mum and baby?

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Dear all,

In the new year, my wife, my one year old son and myself are planning on moving to Sydney, where my wife's brother lives (in Newtown). My wife wants to stay home and look after our baby for a while longer, probably another six months, and I will be working as either a primary school teacher or a German and Spanish high school teacher. My salary is likely to be around 100k, but we have heard horror stories about living in Sydney with how expensive it is, so we are not sure if we will be able to get by on my salary alone. However, there must be plenty of other folks on 100k or less in Sydney, who manage to get by and some kind of comfortable life... I hope! Is 100k going to be enough?

We would also be looking to buy a small place to live, but our budget will be about 600k. After looking online, it is likely we will have to live in the outer suburbs, as property elsewhere in Sydney is completely unaffordable. Are there any areas in Sydney you would recommend for a small family, with a price range of up to 600k? We don't mind the type of property (unit, flat, townhouse etc) but we do not want to have a balcony but some kind of garden/communal area, as we want our son to be able to run around somewhat.

We are in our mid 30s, do not want to be renting forever and would like to have something we can call home. Staying in the UK is also not an option, because it is on its way down the drain.

Any help or pointers much appreciated.

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It sounds like your so is still very young, so why not enjoy the inner west for a bit.  I would say though that on $100k you wouldn't want to spend much more than $600 a week on rent, so take a look at what that gets you on realestate.com.au.  You will indeed find you need to move quite a way out into the Western suburbs to get anything for $600k.  After a year or two though you might prefer to move somewhere else entirely so I wouldn't worry too much about that to start with.


PR (100) moved to Perth September 2021

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I've been looking but can't find the information:  is that salary including or excluding superannuation?    If it's a total salary including superannuation, then no, it's not going to be enough. If it's excluding, then you should be OK for living expenses. Housing is a different story and I'd be concerned.

My ex was a secondary teacher and I lived in Sydney for over 30 years. I never met any married teachers with a stay-at-home partner.  And that was before Sydney had the recent massive rise in house prices.  I loved living in Sydney, but I never lived further west than Strathfield or further south than Cronulla. Once you get to the outer suburbs, it's not recognisable as the same city.  There are some little gems in the outer suburbs, but you have to hunt for them.  Most of them are mile after mile of dismal, faceless dormitory suburbs with no sense of community (no pub, often no shops). The cheap homes -- the ones you might afford -- are in those dismal burbs.

Can I ask, why Sydney?  I assume it's because your partner's family is there, but consider that you could live in Newcastle or Jervis Bay or Bathurst and be within easy reach for frequent weekend visits. In all those places, house prices are HALF those of Sydney for an equivalent property, and you'll be able to live closer to the town centre and have access to more amenities and a far superior lifestyle.  There's been an exodus of young families from Sydney for that very reason.  I even know people who live in Newcastle and commute to Sydney for work, because they feel Newcastle is a better place to bring up their children.  Your partner's Sydney family probably think of Newcastle as a tired old working-class town, but that image is about 30 years out of date.

 If it's because your partner works in the corporate sector and that's where the jobs are, then I guess you're stuck unless she's willing to change career, but be prepared for a two hour commute to the CBD. There are corporate jobs in Parramatta and the big business parks in the far North West so she could focus her job search there.  

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Scot by birth, emigrated 1985 | Aussie husband granted UK spouse visa March 2015, moved to UK May 2015 | Returned to Oz June 2016

My new novel, A Dance With Danger, is due out August 2022

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Bottom line, $600k isn't going to get you much in Sydney in a place you will actually want to live (would be lucky to get a rabbit hutch here in Canberra LOL).  Personally I think you will struggle on $100kpa especially if that is inclusive of superannuation - and do you actually have a job offer or do you "hope" to get a job.  I'd be looking somewhere else, maybe one of the places that have already been mentioned but of course, if you have a job in the bag then you are going to be stymied.

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I don't think its possible.

The lifestyle in Sydney for that income is going to be poor and not something, in my mind, that would improve on the UK 'going down the drain'

Lots of people survive on that income but only because either they have a house all paid for that cost them $20k in 1978 or they live in the outer west miles form anything nice and enduring summers which are 5C hotter than the city

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You've lived in Australia before so you have a good understanding of the day to day cost of living.  I suppose childcare is potentially a new one for you?  My sister in law pays $170 a day in Sydney and it really grates on her to see almost half her salary go straight out the door on that, but they don't have a choice, they need both incomes.

You'll also have a good sense for what kind of lifestyle you want.   It's not for everyone, but I have another in-law who has lived out in Camden for many years and they love it there. Property is more affordable and it's populous enough that they only really leave the area to visit family.   When the new Western Sydney airport opens in a few years it's going to bring more jobs and easier national and international travel.   Personally I prefer it there.  The rolling hills and green fields are more to my taste than the endless urban sprawl of Sydney's inner suburbs.   But if weekends at the beach is what you have in mind......well it's a bit of a trek and heading up the coast might be a better choice.

When you make your decision, consider what is probable regarding your future income.  Are one/both of you aggressively climbing the career ladder in fields where you salary could be double what it is now in 5-10 years time?  If so, then struggling for a few years could be worth it to put down roots where you really want to be.  If not then I'd echo the other's and urge caution about Sydney.  Time goes by quickly and before you know it you're 40, havent' been able to save a deposit and property prices have risen faster than salary putting it further out of reach.

Good luck!  Hope it all works out great for your family.

Edited by FirstWorldProblems
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British  | Lived in Australia 2001-02 on 457   | Married Aussie wife & moved back to UK | Plan to return to Sydney 2026 when all kids have finished school

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There are only two of us and we've been looking at property in Sydney around Newtown area.

Anything with 2 bedrooms and isn't a hovel is $900k+. If you want actual outdoor space rather than a balcony add another $400k minimum.

To be looking at a proper house type thing you'd have to go more than an hour on the train away from the CBD. Unless your job has parking, you won't be driving as car parking in the CBD is $50 per day and probably $15 in tolls and a bit more in petrol.

Ultimately if you have any choice in the matter try to be outside Sydney.

Out family is two people over here (and a student overseas - who doesn't cost anything due to scholarships) one is a stay at home with one working. The worker earns nearly 3 times what you are suggesting and we have a seven figure house deposit, we still can't find something even remotely equivalent to our UK home. Sydney is expensive - massively. I wouldn't live anywhere else though! There's only one true global city in Australia and it isn't Melbourne!

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42 minutes ago, Ausvisitor said:

There's only one true global city in Australia and it isn't Melbourne!

I'd beg to differ.  Like most Sydneysiders (I lived in Sydney for over 30 years), I looked down on Melbourne somewhat.  Now that I live here, I have a totally different perception.

It's not a stunningly beautiful city like Sydney.  But as a place to live comfortably and enjoy culture and amenity, it's certainly Sydney's equal and possibly even superior.

Not to mention that like for like, property in Melbourne is around two-thirds the price of Sydney.

Edited by Marisawright

Scot by birth, emigrated 1985 | Aussie husband granted UK spouse visa March 2015, moved to UK May 2015 | Returned to Oz June 2016

My new novel, A Dance With Danger, is due out August 2022

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8 minutes ago, Marisawright said:

I'd beg to differ.  Like most Sydneysiders (I lived in Sydney for over 30 years), I looked down on Melbourne somewhat.  Now that I live here, I have a totally different perception.

It's not a stunningly beautiful city like Sydney.  But as a place to live comfortably and enjoy culture and amenity, it's certainly Sydney's equal and possibly even superior.

Not to mention that like for like, property in Melbourne is around two-thirds the price of Sydney.

I didn't say it wasn't nice, in the same way that Chester is lovely, it isn't London.

When the world thinks of Australia only six things actually come to mind - Opera House, Harbour Bridge, Bondi Beach, Koalas, Kangaroos and killer spiders.

That's Sydney not Melbourne...

There are not many truly global cities,

London

New York

Paris

Rome

Tokyo

Sydney

All of these are recognisable to anyone in the world, show a picture of Melbourne to people and many Aussies wouldn't know where it was, show Buck Palace, Eiffel Tower or Opera House and even a cave dwelling hermit knows where it is from - that's the mark of a Global City

Edited by Ausvisitor

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1 hour ago, Ausvisitor said:

All of these are recognisable to anyone in the world, show a picture of Melbourne to people and many Aussies wouldn't know where it was, show Buck Palace, Eiffel Tower or Opera House and even a cave dwelling hermit knows where it is from - that's the mark of a Global City

I didn't notice anything in the OP which indicated living in a  "Global City"  🙄  is a priority.  They want something affordable and comfortable for themselves and a young child, hopefully near family.  That may be a tough ask in Sydney.

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Hi everybody,

Thanks for the quick replies and information.

I guess Sydney isn't going to work for us then, regardless of how much we try. We don't really want to live in squalor after moving half way around the world as we would just hate being there. It might be a global city, but that is no good if you can't live there. A friend of mine lives near Newcastle, but also told me that because of the pandemic, people from Sydney drove up the house prices something crazy.

It is quite ironic that I became a teacher after a 1 year PGCE because the job was on the skills list (quickest way into the country), but now can't afford to live there, in Sydney at least. I understand now why there is a shortage, particularly if people in the job can't support themselves living there, in addition to the somewhat dismal job working conditions and unruly children nowadays.

Maybe we will just move elsewhere in Australia. We would like to have family around, hence the reason for Sydney. Living near to Newtown was never going to happen, we know how expensive it is there, but then living way out west in the extra heat and with the gangs wouldn't be much fun either. My wife also works in education, more in the administrative and assessment side. She would probably return to work part-time in June 2023, when our son is 18 months old.

We have been to Melbourne before, but it wasn't the right time or set-up for us back then, and we also didn't have our son in late 2019. Personally I liked the city and my job, but other factors meant we weren't meant to be live there then. I will ask in the Victoria forum to see what they think about living on 100k a year and landing a nice first home to live in for 600k.

We also would consider the Perth metro, but there aren't as many jobs going there, even if property is much cheaper. I also lived there back in 2010, down in Freo. Nice place too, but again, job prospects are lower, but then again, it is part of the compromise.

Anyway, thanks for the advice everybody.

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4 hours ago, Skani said:

I didn't notice anything in the OP which indicated living in a  "Global City"  🙄  is a priority.  They want something affordable and comfortable for themselves and a young child, hopefully near family.  That may be a tough ask in Sydney.

Melbourne is a great place, even without the 'global' tourist attractions 🙂

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6 hours ago, Marisawright said:

I'd beg to differ.  Like most Sydneysiders (I lived in Sydney for over 30 years), I looked down on Melbourne somewhat.  Now that I live here, I have a totally different perception.

It's not a stunningly beautiful city like Sydney.  But as a place to live comfortably and enjoy culture and amenity, it's certainly Sydney's equal and possibly even superior.

Not to mention that like for like, property in Melbourne is around two-thirds the price of Sydney.

Sydney is a great place, do not get me wrong, but so is Melbourne. It is more artsy and has much more live music, which appeals to me.

I notice you you returned back to Aus after living in the UK in 2016 or so. What made you go back?

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9 hours ago, FirstWorldProblems said:

You've lived in Australia before so you have a good understanding of the day to day cost of living.  I suppose childcare is potentially a new one for you?  My sister in law pays $170 a day in Sydney and it really grates on her to see almost half her salary go straight out the door on that, but they don't have a choice, they need both incomes.

You'll also have a good sense for what kind of lifestyle you want.   It's not for everyone, but I have another in-law who has lived out in Camden for many years and they love it there. Property is more affordable and it's populous enough that they only really leave the area to visit family.   When the new Western Sydney airport opens in a few years it's going to bring more jobs and easier national and international travel.   Personally I prefer it there.  The rolling hills and green fields are more to my taste than the endless urban sprawl of Sydney's inner suburbs.   But if weekends at the beach is what you have in mind......well it's a bit of a trek and heading up the coast might be a better choice.

When you make your decision, consider what is probable regarding your future income.  Are one/both of you aggressively climbing the career ladder in fields where you salary could be double what it is now in 5-10 years time?  If so, then struggling for a few years could be worth it to put down roots where you really want to be.  If not then I'd echo the other's and urge caution about Sydney.  Time goes by quickly and before you know it you're 40, havent' been able to save a deposit and property prices have risen faster than salary putting it further out of reach.

Good luck!  Hope it all works out great for your family.

Yes, I know how expensive living there can be, but Sydney seems out of control. Childcare is an extra cost, hence why my wife would also like to stay at home a while longer with our son. I believe there is the CCS, which should lower the amount paid for childcare in Australia, and this will be improved upon in July 2023 by the Labour party there.

As far as double salary goes in ten years or so, this isn't possible as a teacher, or head teacher even. The pay is pretty poor compared to other careers, so I may have to change career if I want to hit the 200k mark. We will be 40 in a few years time, and really don't want to be renting then, paying out somebody else's mortgage.

Thanks for the advice anyway 🙂

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5 hours ago, AdrianAdrian said:

A friend of mine lives near Newcastle, but also told me that because of the pandemic, people from Sydney drove up the house prices something crazy.....

We have been to Melbourne before, but it wasn't the right time or set-up for us back then, and we also didn't have our son in late 2019. Personally I liked the city and my job, but other factors meant we weren't meant to be live there then. I will ask in the Victoria forum to see what they think about living on 100k a year and landing a nice first home to live in for 600k.

It's true that house prices in Newcastle are being driven upwards, BUT keep it in proportion.  Prices have gone up in Newcastle, BUT they are still much, much cheaper than Sydney or Melbourne.  Here's the current analysis:

https://www.realestate.com.au/nsw/newcastle-2300/

https://www.realestate.com.au/nsw/sydney-2000/

In fact, the gulf between the two is even worse than it looks, because Sydney has a far greater number of cheap outer suburbs in that mix compared to Newcastle.  You really need to drill down to the kind of suburbs you'd like to live in, to get an idea of the comparison.  

I was going to post the Melbourne comparison but I realise it's misleading.  Melbourne is a sprawling city -- greater Melbourne is bigger than greater London.  The outer burbs, which are as dismal as Sydney's but even further away from the CBD, are comparable in price to Newcastle but you don't want to live there as a young couple. 

If you're willing to look in Victoria, I'd suggest looking at Geelong.  Like Newcastle, it has really picked up.  Obviously it's harder to get work there than in Melbourne, however it wouldn't be out of the question to live in Geelong and take a job in Melbourne to get you started.  The commute would be better than commuting from Camden to CBD in Sydney.


Scot by birth, emigrated 1985 | Aussie husband granted UK spouse visa March 2015, moved to UK May 2015 | Returned to Oz June 2016

My new novel, A Dance With Danger, is due out August 2022

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To live in Sydney on 100k a year with a baby would be quite a struggle if you need to cover rent. I think you can do it if you really try hard to be frugal - eg shop only at Flemington markets, forego eating out or entertainment, don't buy a car, etc. You may struggle to fund any unexpected purchases. We lived for about half a year a couple of years ago (also post baby) on about 150k pre tax and just about managed to break even each month.

If your housing budget is 600k, my suggestion is to look at garden flats in the periphery of the inner west. There are a few suburbs which are pleasant enough that people will pay $2m or more for the houses, but the apartments are much cheaper - especially if they are older and not shiny - which may not be a bad thing, as older apartment blocks tend to be solidly built and not afflicted by the structural issues that are a problem with newbuilds in Sydney. For example, you could have bought this 2 bedroom apartment in Enfield for just over $600k: https://www.realestate.com.au/sold/property-apartment-nsw-enfield-138385647 . Enfield is not the trendiest suburb but it's by no means the worst: median house price is $1.9m. Closer to the railway line, you could have bought this 2 bedroom apartment in Homebush for $575k: https://www.realestate.com.au/sold/property-unit-nsw-homebush-139226451 . Homebush is a more expensive suburb than Enfield (median house price is $2.7m), so you get slightly less for your money in apartments too. 

The nice thing about buying an apartment in a suburb that's expensive for houses is that, while you don't get the space of the multi million dollar houses nearby, you have access to the same good quality schools, village shops and transport facilities as the house dwellers. In that sense, it's a very good value buy - especially if it's also convenient for your commute.

 

 

Edited by Tychen
correct figure cited
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On 13/09/2022 at 02:48, AdrianAdrian said:



I notice you you returned back to Aus after living in the UK in 2016 or so. What made you go back?

Sorry I missed this question. I just couldn’t settle. I’d been living in Australia for over 30 years and realised it was home


Scot by birth, emigrated 1985 | Aussie husband granted UK spouse visa March 2015, moved to UK May 2015 | Returned to Oz June 2016

My new novel, A Dance With Danger, is due out August 2022

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14 hours ago, Tychen said:

To live in Sydney on 100k a year with a baby would be quite a struggle if you need to cover rent. I think you can do it if you really try hard to be frugal - eg shop only at Flemington markets, forego eating out or entertainment, don't buy a car, etc. You may struggle to fund any unexpected purchases. We lived for about half a year a couple of years ago (also post baby) on about 150k pre tax and just about managed to break even each month.

If your housing budget is 600k, my suggestion is to look at garden flats in the periphery of the inner west. There are a few suburbs which are pleasant enough that people will pay $2m or more for the houses, but the apartments are much cheaper - especially if they are older and not shiny - which may not be a bad thing, as older apartment blocks tend to be solidly built and not afflicted by the structural issues that are a problem with newbuilds in Sydney. For example, you could have bought this 2 bedroom apartment in Enfield for just over $600k: https://www.realestate.com.au/sold/property-apartment-nsw-enfield-138385647 . Enfield is not the trendiest suburb but it's by no means the worst: median house price is $1.9m. Closer to the railway line, you could have bought this 2 bedroom apartment in Homebush for $575k: https://www.realestate.com.au/sold/property-unit-nsw-homebush-139226451 . Homebush is a more expensive suburb than Enfield (median house price is $2.7m), so you get slightly less for your money in apartments too. 

The nice thing about buying an apartment in a suburb that's expensive for houses is that, while you don't get the space of the multi million dollar houses nearby, you have access to the same good quality schools, village shops and transport facilities as the house dwellers. In that sense, it's a very good value buy - especially if it's also convenient for your commute.

 

 

But imagine living in that with a family, hardly a lifestyle is it?

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3 hours ago, can1983 said:

But imagine living in that with a family, hardly a lifestyle is it?

I think for a couple in their 20's, it could make sense -- it would get them a foot in the door, then as they work their way up in their professions, they save money and eventually will trade up.

However the OP has said they're in their mid-late 30's and there's very limited prospects of their salary rising much. Which means they'll struggle to trade up in the same/adjacent suburbs and at some point, will have to settle for moving out to the boondocks if they want a nice home.

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Scot by birth, emigrated 1985 | Aussie husband granted UK spouse visa March 2015, moved to UK May 2015 | Returned to Oz June 2016

My new novel, A Dance With Danger, is due out August 2022

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Thanks everybody,

We have decided that Sydney isn't going to work at the moment. The place is simply too expensive for us to live on with a paltry teacher's salary. Hopefully in a few years we can revisit the idea, but we aren't prepared to moved around the globe to live in poverty. Once I hopefully become a headmaster or work for the higher levels of the DfE, then my salary can surpass 120k per year (max a teacher is paid in NSW). Now I can understand why so many are leaving the teaching profession in Sydney.

We will probably give Melbourne a go, and should it not work out there either, there are other options for us (we have connections in WA too). Once we hopefully have Aus citizenship in four years, we will reassess future plans. We would like to get our son Aussie citizenship, and open his future options, to add to his GB and EU opportunities.

Thanks for all your advice, and good luck with your future endeavors!

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23 hours ago, Marisawright said:

Sorry I missed this question. I just couldn’t settle. I’d been living in Australia for over 30 years and realised it was home

I know the feeling. We had lived away from the UK for almost 10 years, and now we don't relate in many ways to Britain or the current British mentality here. We came back so that our son could spend some time with his grandparents, but now we realise we could never live here.

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3 hours ago, AdrianAdrian said:

I know the feeling. We had lived away from the UK for almost 10 years, and now we don't relate in many ways to Britain or the current British mentality here. We came back so that our son could spend some time with his grandparents, but now we realise we could never live here.

I read on another thread that you spent 10 years in Europe.  On that basis I think you'll like Melbourne.  It's hard to put my finger on why I couldn't settle in the UK, it was a subtle thing -- but the thing that struck me was that every time we went for a weekend in a European city, I felt more at home.  It made me realise that the influence of European migrants on Sydney and Melbourne was massive -- cafe culture instead of pub culture, the food, even some attitudes.  


Scot by birth, emigrated 1985 | Aussie husband granted UK spouse visa March 2015, moved to UK May 2015 | Returned to Oz June 2016

My new novel, A Dance With Danger, is due out August 2022

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