Property head-to-head: Sydney versus Brisbane

Our series of city ‘head to heads’ continues, and we travel ‘down under’ to discover the relocation and rental markets in Sydney and Brisbane.


More than 5 million residents already enjoy the sun and surf in Sydney – one of the most vibrant and economically-stable cities in the Southern Hemisphere. Relocators will enjoy a warm welcome, a well-paid job scene, an awesome work-life balance and, of course, Bondi Beach.

  • Where? Despite being possibly the most popular city in Australia, it is not the country’s capital (that’s Canberra) but the state capital of New South Wales. Its position on the sandy south east coast is a major draw.
  • Premium addresses: There is no shortage of million-dollar neighbourhoods in Sydney, with Darling Point, Cremorne Point, Bellevue Hill and Vaucluse some of the most prestigious. With good schools and strong communities, Rooty Hill, Greater Parramatta, Frenchs Bay, Davidson, Lavender Bay, Coogee, Clovelly, Randwick, Waverley, Glebe, Rozelle, Leichhardt and Dulwich Hill are excellent family-friendly locations.
  • Average rental costs: SQM Research’s Weekly Rents Index from 28th October 2020 showed rents continued to fall in Sydney – a trend that’s been charted since 2017. The average three-bedroom house costs $655 per calendar month (pcm) to rent – down 1% in the last month, while the average two-bedroom apartment can be secured for $462 pcm – a fall of 1.1% over the last month.
  • Schools in Sydney: You’ll find some of Australia’s most prestigious schools, colleges and universities in Sydney. Of note are Randwick, Woollahra, Neutral Bay and St Mary’s, which all rank highly. Knox Grammar, Reddam House and Scots College are three private schools popular with relocators. Parents also have a choice of good international schools in Sydney, including the International Grammar School, The German International School and Lycee Condorcet.
  • The rental process: Speed is of the essence say our agents in Sydney as competition for rental properties is fierce. Viewings are often conducted as a group, with rental rivals touring a property side-by-side with your. It’s also quite usual for people to make an offer and put down a deposit (referred to as a bond and equivalent to around 4 weeks’ of rent) during the viewing, so be prepared. Lets of 12 months are the norm, although shorter tenancies can be negotiated. Tenants stand the best chance of receiving their bond refunded in full by handing the property back in the same condition as when they moved in, although renters are urged to check their tenancy agreement for any clause about steam cleaning carpets.


The promise of year-round sunshine, clear blue skies and cultural riches draws millions of residents and relocators to Brisbane. Much more than just a coastal city, the inland is brimming with parks, rainforests and lakes ready for residents to offset the working day.

  • Where? You’ll have to travel more than 900km up the coast from Sydney to find Brisbane, the capital city of Queensland. It enjoys a prime position between the Gold Coast and the Sunshine Coast.
  • Premium addresses: South Brisbane is hot property, especially among professionals. It is a suburb connected to the city’s central business district by three bridges – the Kurilpa, Victoria and Goodwill – delivering workers to their desks in less than 12 minutes. Dutton Park, Spring Hill and Kangaroo Point also offer quick city commutes from relatively lush locations. Victoria Point, Paddington, Holland Park, Wilston and Sandgate are neighbourhoods where kids can safely ride their bikes and make new friends.
  • Average rental costs: In contrast to Sydney, monthly rents are generally rising in Brisbane, although they remain markedly cheaper in value than down the coast, according to SQM Research’s Weekly Rents Index from 28th October 2020. Brisbane’s average three-bedroom house costs $445 pcm to rent – up 0.5% in the last month, while $367 pcm will secure an average two-bedroom apartment – a value that has risen 5.7% in the last three years but has fallen back by 0.7% in the last month.
  • Schools in Brisbane: If you’re looking for consistently well performing schools, Brisbane is a top choice. Fee paying schools with strong international communities include St Aidan’s Anglican Girls School, Ormiston College, Brisbane Boys College and St Peter’s Lutheran College. Brisbane Girls and Boys Grammar Schools, Brisbane State High School, Anglican Church Grammar School, Cannon Hill Anglican College, Townsville Grammar School and Indooroopilly State High School are highly regarded alternatives – many offering the internationally-recognised IB qualification.
  • The rental process: Our agents agree that December, January and February are the busiest month for rentals in Brisbane, with lots of properties to choose from. Although it’s not compulsory for a landlord to take a deposit or ‘bond’ in Brisbane, it is a widespread practice. The bond will be equal to four weeks worth of rent when the weekly rent is $700 or less, although the bond is uncapped if the weekly rent exceeds $700. Like in Sydney, a full bond refund demands the property is handed back in the same condition as when it was accepted, with a note to check the tenancy agreement for any carpet cleaning clause.

If you would like to know more about relocating to Sydney or Brisbane, please contact Klippa for our first-hand advice.

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