Where is the best suburb for families in Melbourne?
There are great suburbs right across the city, but not all of them are right for families. If you are in this demographic you are less concerned with nightlife and more focused on being close to schools, shops, green space and and decent public transport. It also depends what your family prioritises. For some it is being in the catchment area of a top performing school - and there is evidence that schools can affect local property prices. You may be looking for a community-centric atmosphere where green space and cafe culture dominates - or simply want the best bang for your buck.
Whatever your family's priorities, it is crucial that you research any area thoroughly before you buy and make a shortlist based on your criteria. Then get in the car and go check them out. It’s the best way of getting under the skin of a suburb, and see if all the amenities are what you want. You can start your research by reading this article - which covers the city by region - and can help you find the best Melbourne suburb for your family.
Related: Cheapest suburbs to buy in Melbourne
Best areas for families to live in eastern Melbourne suburbs
What is it about the east? Our two biggest cities both host some of the greatest family-friendly real estate - though they are often accompanied by eye-watering house prices. Having said that, Melbourne house prices are more affordable than Sydney’s.
Read more: Best family suburbs in Sydney
Melbourne’s eastern suburbs consistently rank high on liveability indexes - which identifies what suburbs have the best access to services, transport and jobs. The good news is that there are affordable pockets that meet the needs of a family.
Doncaster East is a beautiful, leafy suburb boasting a happy and relaxed lifestyle with plenty of shops, green space, lively restaurants and public transport links right on your doorstep. The area is home to a close-knit community, with the general vibe being that the area is safe, quiet and perfect for young families and retirees. There is also a well regarded and ranked public school in the area - East Doncaster Secondary College.
Historic Kew is just 5 km from the city and bang on the Yarra River. It also has great access to excellent local schools such as Xavier College, Trinity Grammar School and Methodist Ladies College - regarded as some of the best schools in the entire state. The streets are tree-lined, the houses are beautiful - from sprawling Art Deco mansions through to Victorian terraces and modern apartments - almost every dwelling is quite beautiful to look at.
While being close to the city, the suburb is also quiet, peaceful and full of natural beauty. The popular Studley Park is a popular spot for families, dog walkers and joggers with plenty of space to relax and sprawl out. It doesn't come cheap though... But like anywhere, you pay for the privilege of accessing quality amenities, being close to the city, safety and having great schools on your doorstep.
For an idea of property prices Melbourne’s east, the median house price in Doncaster East is $1,331,000, while units sit at $742,500. Take a deep breath and start saving for a property in Kew, where the median price is $2,191,250, though units are more affordable at a median of $711,500.
Best areas for families to live in western Melbourne suburbs
Like Sydney’s western suburbs, Melbourne’s west is also the place to find good value housing.
Start your search in Kingsville, just 8 km from the CBD, and classed as an inner city suburb with a mix of older Edwardian homes and new developments. Kingsville exists in an area known to Melbournians as the 'golden triangle' - an area to the west of the CBD that's becoming increasingly popular with buyers as families and young professionals all try to get a piece of prime real estate.
It's a hip and aesthetically pleasing little enclave wedged between the other popular suburbs of Yarraville, Footscray and Seddon. Besides having the city on your doorstep - for excursions with your children - there are plenty of schools in the neighbourhood, great cafes, as well as excellent access to train and bus services. And if you work in Docklands, you can join the other commuters who pile onto bikes in their lycra for the 10 minute ride down the road.
For somewhere more affordable, Roxburgh Park, where more than three quarters of households are families, should be on your shortlist. In fact, in the beginning of 2018, the suburb was ranked by Aussie Home Loans as one of Melbourne's most popular family suburbs. Even though it is not close to the CBD, you are likely to spend less than $600k on a house, and have a backyard.
For an idea of property prices in western Melbourne suburbs, the median house price in Kingsville is $1,017,000, while units are great value at a median of $406,000 - remembering you are buying into an inner city suburb. The median house price in Roxburgh Park is currently $543,000, while units are at a very affordable $374,000.
Best areas for families to live in northern Melbourne suburbs
There are a number of suburbs that appeal to families in the northern Melbourne suburbs.
This includes Macleod, which has lots of family-friendly houses, as well as access to many local schools and a good dose of positive neighbourhood spirit. From cladded cottages through to solid 70s red brick homes and new estates, Macleod has plenty of housing options for families on offer. Transport is also covered thanks to good rail and roads into the CBD, which is only 14 km away. Macleod
If you are looking for somewhere closer to the CBD, then village-like Coburg, just north of the city centre, should be on your radar. Move here if you're after a Victorian or Edwardian house. There are also tons of parks, as well as access to excellent public and private schools nearby, including Lowther Hall, a well ranked independent Anglican day school for girls.
For an idea of property prices in Melbourne’s north, the median house price in Macleod is $875,000, while units are currently sitting at $671,000. Coburg’s media house price is $920,000, while units sit at $512,875.
Best areas for families to live in southern Melbourne suburbs
Melbourne’s south may not be as sought-after as the east, but there sure is plenty there for families.
This includes the suburb of Altona, which is only 13 km from the city and boasts great rail links as well as a beach. In actual fact, the suburb has pretty much everything - the seaside; great schools; pleasant CBD views; running, walking and cycling paths; great cafes; a lively Tuesday produce market; a variety of housing stock that appeals to all types of families. If you live in Altona, there's a good possibility that you wouldn't really need to leave.
You should also research Bentleigh, where the family-friendly lifestyle includes access to parks, good local schools, shopping, beaches and most importantly - houses on decent blocks. McKinnon Secondary College is also one of the top ranked state schools in Victoria.
For an idea of property prices here, the median house price in Altona is $940,000 while the unit median is currently $660,000. In Bentleigh the median price for a house is $1,491,500, while units are in the $662,500 range.
Things to keep in mind when looking for a family home
When it comes to shopping for a family home, practicality is the name of the game. Family-friendly features to look for in a property include:
- A convenient location with access to schools, parks, public transport and the local shops
- Quiet streets that are not close to a major road or under a flight path
- Room to grow, especially if you are planning on expanding your brood
- Ample storage in key areas like the kitchen, living areas and children’s bedrooms
- A backyard
- A layout that makes it easy to socialise with privacy for bedrooms
- Convenient parking, preferably close to the house and preferably secure
With all this in mind you can now start your search for a family home, and find a suburb in the Melbourne area that suits your family's lifestyle.