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  • Writer's pictureJanneke

Is the Gold Coast expensive to live?

Whether you're a student, a retiree, a family or a young professional looking to make your move to the Gold Coast, understanding the ins and outs of the Gold Coast's expenses is crucial. So, in this post, we'll dive into the nitty-gritty of what it really costs to call this stunning city home.

Here's a guide to what to expect and budget for life on the Gold Coast.

Cost of Housing on the Gold Coast


Housing is the biggest expense for most people, and the Gold Coast is no exception. While prices have gone up significantly over the past couple of years for both renters and property owners, the price of real estate on the Gold Coast compared to Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne is still much lower.


The cost of renting a one-bedroom apartment on the Gold Coast ranges from $300 to $500 per week, while a two-bedroom apartment can cost anywhere from $500 to $900 per week. A 4-bedroom house will set you back anywhere between $600 and $3,000 per week, prices vary greatly between the different regions and suburbs of the Gold Coast, generally the further north you go the cheaper it gets and the closer you get to the ocean the more expensive it is.


According to National Institute of Economic and Industry Research, on average Gold Coasters spend 20-25% of their income on housing, which is slightly higher than the Australian average of 16%-21%. High-income households often spend more of their income on housing than low-income earners, as much as 40%-50%. Figures from the 2021 census reveal that nearly half (41%) of renters on the Gold Coast spend 30% or more of their income on rent.


The cost of buying a house on the Gold Coast also varies greatly depending on the location, size, and condition of the property. The median house price on the Gold Coast is around $820,000, but some suburbs like Broadbeach, Surfers Paradise, and Mermaid Beach have much higher median house prices. The cheapest suburb is Pimpama with a median house price of around $675k, while the most expensive suburb to buy a home is Main Beach with a median price tag of $3.3million.


Cost of Transportation on the Gold Coast


The Gold Coast has a public transportation system that includes buses, the G-link light rail (only one line from Helensvale to Broadbeach), and trains (only one line from Varsity Lakes to Brisbane). A single adult ticket on the bus or light rail costs approx. $4.70, and a day pass costs $10.40 and a single train ticket to Brisbane costs around $26.


The issue with the public transport network is that it is limited and doesn't connect all of the regions or suburbs, meaning, unless you live and work along the one train or light rail route, lots of changeovers from bus to bus, train or tram, to get from A to B. According to the most recent Census only 2.6% of people took public transport to work, while 66.8% of people travelled to work in a private car and 2.7% rode a bike or walked. 13.8% worked at home.


So unsurprisingly, most Gold Coasters own one but often multiple vehicles per household.

The cost of owning and operating a car on the Gold Coast can be expensive due to high petrol prices, insurance, registration fees etc. The average weekly cost of owning a car is between $200 for a small car and $320 for a large SUV, this includes the cost of fuel, registration, insurance, maintenance and loan repayments.


On average a Gold Coast household will spend 6% of its income on transport which includes any type of personal transport via air, road, rail and sea and the cost of ownership and maintenance of a vehicle, but excludes any insurance premiums.


Cost of Food on the Gold Coast


The cost of food on the Gold Coast is similar to other parts of Australia. A meal at an inexpensive restaurant costs around $20-25, while a meal for two at a mid-range restaurant costs around $80.


The cost of groceries varies depending on where you shop, Woolworths and Coles are the two major supermarket chains, Aldi is the largest budget supermarket, and prices are on average 17% cheaper than those at the two major chains. The average cost of a weekly grocery shop for a family of four is around $250-$350.


On average Gold Coasters spend 8% of their income on food, 3% on alcohol and tobacco purchases and 4% on eating-out and going-out at cafes, restaurants, clubs and bars.


Cost of Entertainment on the Gold Coast


The Gold Coast is known for its entertainment options, and there is always something to do, whether it be visiting a theme park or enjoying the beach. The cost will vary depending on the activity; a day at the beach is free, while a day spent at one of the theme parks is around $90 (although you can buy cheap locals' annual passes).


There are many free or inexpensive things to do, like bushwalks, hiking, going to the markets, visiting one of the 700 playgrounds, or participating in community events. Check out the huge list of free/low-cost events, workshops, experiences and activities made available by the City of Gold Coast.


On average Gold Coasters spend 8% of their household income on entertainment including culture, sport and recreational activities.


Cost of Utilities on the Gold Coast


Utilities such as electricity, gas, and water are necessary expenses and can add up quickly. The cost of utilities on the Gold Coast will vary depending on the size of your home, number of occupants and your usage. On average, electricity costs and water bills are around $300 per quarter each. And the average household pays $72 per month for their NBN internet plan.


Gold Coaster spend an average of 2% of their household income on the cost of utilities.


Prices on the Gold Coast


To get an idea of what things cost and to compare, here's a list of common items and their prices:

​1 Litre Dairy Farmers Full Cream Milk

$2.70

​Loaf of bread at the supermarket 700g

​$3.90

​Small takeaway cappuccino

​$4.00

Dozen (12) free-range x-large eggs, 700g

$5.20

24-pack toilet paper

$13

Pint of beer ordered in a bar

$7.50 - $9.50

Glass of wine ordered in a bar

$9 - $15

Cocktail ordered in a bar

$17 - $22

6-pack of Coronas from the bottle shop

$24

Pizza Hut large pizza delivered

$15 - $20

​Meal at an inexpensive restaurant

$20-$25

Meal at mid-range restaurant

$35-$40


Sources & disclaimer: Gold Coast household expenditure percentages are extracted from National Institute of Economic and Industry Research (NIEIR) as presented by economy.id. The data is based on 2016-17 figures and inflation adjusted for 2020/21. The average disposable household income for these calculations for the GC is $136k. We have in preparing this information used our best endeavours to ensure that the information contained herein is true and accurate but accept no responsibility and disclaim all liability in respect of any errors, omissions, inaccuracies or misstatements that may occur