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Moving to Perth – A Comprehensive Guide

Perth City Skyline at Night


Perth is the biggest - and arguably the best - city in all of Western Australia. And because it’s so far from the rest of the country - most of which is right over on the other side of the continent - it has to provide for itself. Perth, therefore, is an excellent place to live, with practically every amenity that you could want as a resident. Famous for its beautiful beaches, Perth offers several world-class parks, musical events, local wine producers, the Fremantle Prison World Heritage site, and, of course, the stunning wildlife. The city represents the best Austalia has to offer for people who are already residents of the country and those wanting to move here from overseas. 

In this guide, we’re going to take an in-depth look at what you need to know if you're planning a move to Perth. With a city that has it all, it’s difficult to know where to get started. Here we cover the types of employment available, the cost of living, different neighbourhoods, and much more. Check it out below. 

Finding A Home in Perth

If you’re planning on moving to Perth, then finding a home in a suitable area to live should be right at the top of your list of priorities. As with any city, the quality of accommodation and neighbourhoods varies. 

Cost Of Buying A Home In Perth

Perth is Australia’s fourth-largest city and a real modern-day boomtown. For this reason, prices are going up, but they’re not unaffordable yet, especially if you can find lucrative work in the area. 

The median price of a property in the City of Perth is $396,000 for a unit and $704,500 for a house, according to the latest data (February 2020). With that said, the actual amount you’ll spend depends on which suburb you choose. Homes in City Beach, for instance, tend to be a lot more expensive than those in Bayswater. 

Neighbourhoods And Suburbs In Perth

Compared to the rest of Western Australia, Perth is little more than a speck on the landscape. That said, the metro area is surprisingly large for a mid-size city, extending for around 140 km along the west coast and about 50 km inland until you hit the Two Rock to Mandurah. For this reason, you need to be picky about which neighbourhood you choose, depending on where precisely in the city you need to be. You don’t want to move here, only to find that your job is dozens of kilometres away from your accommodation, forcing you to commute every day. 

Here are some of the areas you might want to consider: 

The City Of Perth. The City of Perth is still technically counted as a “suburb” under the original English meaning of the word as any built-up area of a conurbation. As you might imagine, though, residential housing is limited. With that said, this part of town just north of the Swan River does offer some units for sale, providing quick access to the stock exchange, pedestrianised retail concourse and office buildings. It is, therefore, ideal for professionals, but rents can be high. 

Fremantle. Following the Swan River inland, you’ll soon come to Fremantle, the traditional heartland of the city. Fremantle - sometimes called Freo - features many historical buildings, constructed more than a century ago by settlers. Here you’ll find the city’s tourist hub, art galleries, concert venues, and fine dining. Those who settle here benefit from excellent transport connections and close links to nearby nature reserves. Prices can be high, though, just as they are in the CBD.  

City Beach. City Beach is a suburb of Perth, famous for its stunning coastal views. As you might imagine, properties in this area come with a hefty price tag. It is a favourite haunt for the wealthy and successful and features some of the city’s most luxurious and expensive real estate. Nearby you can find some of the city's most exclusive shops and restaurants. 

Applecross and Bicton. Applecross and Bicton are also exclusive areas, offering quality accommodation and easy access to city-centre amenities. Both suburbs lie along the banks of the Swan River as it snakes its way out of town. Jacaranda Trees line the streets of Applecross and the area provides excellent access to nearby parks, a yacht club and golfing facilities. Bicton is another area for upper-middle and upper-class individuals, offering a wide variety of accommodation types, from cottages to mansions to apartments with views over the city. 

Willetton. People coming to the area from overseas are much more likely to choose a suburb like Willetton. This part of town is set up perfectly for middle-class living, located in the City of Canning, just 15 km south of Perth’s central business district. It features an ethnically diverse community and is popular among Asian immigrants as well as people coming from the old world. 

The City of Swan. The authorities define the suburbs outside of the centre of Perth as part of the “outer metropolitan area.” One of these is the City of Swan, a community located about 20 minutes up the Swan River from downtown Perth. The area features a variety of neighbourhoods, including five-star settlements like Ellenbrook. Many people who live in the area commute to downtown Perth for work, but because of the growing population, the City of Swan is fast becoming its regional hub in its own right. It offers a host of amenities for residents, including shopping, medical facilities, and sports clubs.  

Joondalup. If you’re looking for somewhere with an established community on the outskirts of the Perth metro area, then Joondalup might be just what you’re looking for. Here you’ll find shopping centres, hospitals, schools and direct railway connections to the Perth CBD. There’s also plenty of bars, restaurants and thriving nightlife to enjoy. 

Shire of Kalamunda. The Shire of Kalamunda is an area outside of the city centre, tailored for people who want to enjoy a quieter lifestyle. It offers beautiful surrounding countryside, orchards, fields full of roses and vineyards run by local wine-makers. 

Perth Home buyers
Couple looking at home offers in Perth


Should You Rent Or Buy A Home In Perth? 

Recently, researchers from REIWA and Curtin University launched the buy-rent index for Perth - a measure that takes into account a variety of factors to asses whether people should rent or buy in the city, based on prices. According to the data, renting is currently more financially viable than buying, but that could all change, depending on house price growth. If homes keep increasing in value at the rate that they have, then buying is the preferred option - at least according to the index. If they don't, then renting might be better value for money. 

The average price of buying a home in Perth has risen by 5.9 per cent per year over the last fifteen years. The index suggests that prices only need to increase by 3.1 per cent per year over the next couple of years for buying to be the better option - something that will undoubtedly force rents lower. 

Finding Work In Perth

Just like the rest of Australia, Perth has a well-diversified labour market. While mining is a popular activity in Western Australia, it is not the only thing that people do here, meaning that there are plenty of other opportunities for employment. 

The biggest employer in the region is Wesfarmers with more than 25,000 people, followed by Woolworths, Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton with between ten and fifteen thousand each. Ramsay Health and Crown Perth employ approximately 6,100 and 5,600 people, respectively. 

The education sector is also a significant employer in Perth. Curtin University hires over 3,700 people, and the University of Western Australia employs more than 3,200, as of the last count. 

Other than this, finding work in Western Australia is similar to pretty much anywhere else in the western world. Just like in London, New York or Tokyo, you have to sell yourself. Here are some ideas to get you started: 

  • Set up your LinkedIn profile so that employers can quickly scan the skills you offer

  • Search for suitable roles on

  • Write down your past successes and accomplishments in roles

  • Update your resume

  • Brainstorm the kind of company you’d like to work for and see if Perth offers employment opportunities

  • Gather your references

  • Start networking with people in Perth and the surrounding area

Perth Living Costs

Even though Perth is one of the most geographically isolated cities on the planet, the cost of living is surprisingly low - at least compared to other Australian urban centres.

Data from Numbeo suggest the following: 

Local purchasing power is 11.91 per cent higher in Perth than it is in Sydney (meaning that you get more for your money)

Grocery prices are around 10.93 per cent lower than in Sydney

Rent prices are 46.33 per cent lower than in Sydney, on average

Consumer prices, excluding rent, are 8.84 per cent lower in Perth. 

Thus if you currently live in Sydney and earn 7,700 AUD per month, you’d only need 5,917 to achieve the same standard of living in Perth. 

Sydney, of course, is an expensive city. What about Melbourne? There too, Perth appears to be cheaper. If you currently earn 6,500 AUD in Melbourne, you’d only need 5,961 AUD to maintain the same quality of life in Perth. Rental and grocery prices - two of your highest costs - are also lower in Perth than they are in Melbourne. 

Perth is also much less expensive than major international cities such as London. Consumer prices in Perth are 12.08 per cent lower, and rent prices are a staggering 59.89 per cent lower than the British capital. A similar pattern emerges when you compare the cost of living in Perth with that of Japan. Data from Numbeo suggest that consumer prices in Perth are 16.476 lower than in Tokyo, and rent prices are an impressive 27.48 per cent lower. 

Education In Perth

If you’re moving to Perth with family, you’ll also want to find excellent schools for your kids. Here, again, Perth excels. 

Kindergarten. The City of Perth doesn’t force residents to send their children to kindergarten, but it does advise that they do. Enrolling in a kindergarten makes it more likely that your child will be able to go to a public school of their choice. 

Primary school. Children must enrol in a primary school before their sixth birthday in Perth. They then stay here until the end of year six, at which point they go to secondary school. 

Secondary school. These schools cater to children from year seven and up. If you’re looking for good schools, be sure to check out the list of available educational establishments on the Department of Education’s website

Universities. Perth is home to a large number of Universities. The main campuses are Curtin University located in Bentley, Edith Cowan University in Joondalup, Murdoch Univesity in Murdoch, University of Notre Dame Australia in Fremantle, and the University of Western Australia in Crawley. Because Perth is home to so many higher education institutions, it has the largest student population of any city in Western Australia, many of whom travel from overseas. 

Perth Bridge
Illuminated Bridge - Perth City


Transport In Perth

When moving to a new city, you also need to assess the transport situation. Interestingly, Perth is known as the “20-minute city” because you can get from and to practically any part of it on public transport in about 20 minutes. 

Do You Need A Car In Perth? 

Strictly speaking, you don’t need a car to enjoy everything that Perth has to offer. Using public transport, you can access South Perth, Cottesloe Beach, Fremantle, Kings Park, the entertainment district around Northbridge and Perth CBD. Access to inner-city suburbs such as Mt Lawley, Leederville and Subiaco is also a breeze when buses are operational. The problem comes if you want to travel further afield, say from Perth to the Marget River Region. Getting out of the city and into the wilderness is a challenge. 

What Public Transport Options Are There In Perth? 

Perth features a host of public transport options, including trains, buses and ferries. Perth has a total of six train lines. Two of these comprise the Perth Underground and connect stations in Mandurah and Joondalup. Four overland lines connect central Perth station with Thornlie, Armdale, Midland and Fremantle. 

For shorter trips around the metro area, buses are the best option. These tend to leave the city centre every fifteen minutes, zigzagging through city streets and out of town. Just be warned - they can get busy during tourist season and peak hours, especially around 5 pm. 

The city runs a range of ferry services too which connect the Perth CBD on the north bank of Swan River to the rest of the town to the south. 

If you decide to use Perth’s public transport network, be sure to check out timetables and availability on the Transperth website

Do Ridesharing Services Operate In Perth? 

A variety of ridesharing companies operate in Perth, with most of them running services between the airport and the city centre. Didi, Ola and Uber are all available city-wide. 

Perth Climate And Weather

Perth experiences the southern hemisphere version of the traditional Meditteranean climate: hot, dry summers and mild, wet winters. The Western Australian capital is the sunniest city in the country. Clear blue skies dominate more than 70 per cent of days throughout the year. For this reason, Perth is popular among people who enjoy outdoor pursuits, such as camping, hiking, biking, sailing and surfing. 


Entertainment options in Perth are almost endless. 

The main shopping centres in Perth are Phoenix shopping Centre, Forrest Chase, and Carillon City. For those new to the city, Forrest Chase is an excellent place to start as it is just outside the central train station. Carillion City is close to Cathedral Square and offers plenty of places to chow down on delicious food. Here you’ll find classic venues like Fenians Pub, as well as modern bars like Helvetica and Hula Bula Bar. 

Sitting on the Western Australian coast, Perth is also home to a wide variety of beaches including the world-famous City Beach we discussed earlier. City Beach is one of the most popular and also offers a large number of amenities. If you’re looking for something a little more “hipster,” then be sure to check out Port Beach in Fremantle. It offers a more laid-back feel for people who want to unwind with a cocktail. If it is surfing you’re after, check out Trigg Beach but be warned - it gets busy in the summer! Plus, the waves can be enormous. 

The primary culture in Perth originates from Britain, but because only around a third of the population was born in the city, it is an eclectic place. There are cultural influences from Oceanian people, Torres Strait Islanders and Aborigines. 


The city of Perth and the surrounding area, therefore, is a great place to live and work. It offers a wide variety of amenities, low prices compared to other major cities in Australia and the rest of the world, and an excellent climate. There are plenty of job opportunities here too, not just in the mining sector, but in numerous other industries operating across the city. 

If you’re considering moving to Perth, then Chess Moving can help. We have more than 100 years of experience assisting people in setting up their new lives in the capital of Western Australia, providing a comprehensive service whether you’re an Australian resident right now or moving from overseas. Call a member of our friendly removal team today at our Perth office (or any other capital around the country) to find out how we can make your dreams of living in Perth come true. 

Frequently Asked Questions About Moving To Perth

Take a look at these common FAQs about Perth asked by people considering moving to the area. 

Are there water shortages in Perth? 

Perth can run low on freshwater supplies in the summer, but the city has come to expect it. The local government will sometimes hike the price of water, discouraging use, and has sprinkler systems in place to stop people from wasting water on their lawns. 

Where’s the best place to meet people in Perth?

Like most major cities, you can meet new people in Perth in bars and clubs. People who live in Perth, though, like to conduct the majority of their social lives outside, either at the park or the beach. You can also get to know people who share a common interest with you by joining one of the city’s many sports clubs. 

Is Perth a friendly place?

Perth is the most isolated city in Australia - something that residents believe is also the reason it one of the friendliest cities in the country. On top of that, the large student population and the outgoing nature of the people who live here give the city a different vibe from most places in the western world. 

Essential Facts You Need To Know Before Moving To Perth

  1. Perth is a mid-sized and manageable city with a population of just over two million

  2. Perth is not a 24/7 city - Mondays to Fridays are regular working days. Most of the fun happens on the weekend. 

  3. Perth is a long way from anywhere. Flights from Indonesia to the city are shorter than flights from Brisbane on the east coast

  4. Residents of Perth practice “beach safety” which means only swimming along patrolled sections of shoreline between the red flags

  5. Sunshine in the city during the summer months of December, January and February can be intense. Be sure to slap on plenty of sunscreen. 

  6. Perth operates an integrated public transport system. Services are not as frequent as they are in other major cities, like London, but they are relaible. 

  7. Be sure to pick up a SmartRider card if you’re planning on using the city’s transport - a charge card you top up with credit which you can then use on all of the city’s transport services. 



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