Cost of living study reveals ups and downs of life in the South West

The price of petrol, movie tickets and a takeaway coffee are all more expensive in the South West than in Perth according to a new study from Curtin University, but renting or owning a home is more affordable.

Economists who have been studying the cost of living in WA have found the South West region is 1.6 per cent more expensive than Perth.

But the region is still more affordable than parts of the the North West where the Kimberley is 12.9 per cent more expensive than Perth and living in the Pilbara costs locals 10.7 per cent more than their metropolitan cousins.

Food, transport, clothing and health care all cost more in the South West than in Perth.

But the economists said the difference between the median house price in Bunbury and the median income was smaller than in Perth, making owning a home more affordable. 

How much is your cup of coffee compared to other regions around the state?

How much is your cup of coffee compared to other regions around the state?

The median income in Bunbury is $84,300 and the median house price is $340,000, whereas the median job in Perth pays $87,300 with a median house price of $528,300.

In the South West, the average weekly rent was $337 (compared to $365 in Perth), but the average price of a takeaway coffee was $5 (compared to $4.31 in Perth) and the average movie ticket would set you back $23 (compared to $20 in Perth).

Curtin University professor Alan Duncan said cost of living pressures had eased since the end of the state’s resources boom, but remain persistent and problematic for vulnerable West Australians.

“We’re seeing that the cost of living is rising faster than inflation for low income households, although greater competition at the checkout may help to ease these cost of living pressures,” he said.

However, while cost of living pressures may have eased for many West Australians, Professor Duncan said living cost pressures continued to pose significant financial stress for those on lower incomes, including in the regions.

According to the report, nearly 70 per cent of the spending of households in financial hardship is devoted to the basic necessities of life – housing, fuel and power, and food.

This figure has risen by about 17 percentage points over the last six years.

Perth compared with regional WA

  • Perth households spend an extra 7 percentage points of their budget on housing than the rest of WA.
  • This higher housing budget share occurs at the expense of a range of other items including basic expenditures such as food, domestic fuel and power, transport and health.
  • Households in regional WA appear to divert greater shares of their expenditure to transport, food, domestic fuel and power. However, they also spend more on discretionary items such as tobacco, alcohol and recreation.
This story Study reveals costs of living in the South West first appeared on Bunbury Mail.


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