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Best suburbs to live in Melbourne

Profile photo of Katy Holliday

With eclectic neighbourhoods, an unbeatable foodie culture and coffee scene, and an abundance of natural attractions stomping on its doorstep, it’s easy to see why Melbourne consistently ranks as one of the most liveable cities in the world. In fact, for seven years in a row —  from 2010 to 2017 — it came in at number one!

If you’re hunting for your own piece of this beautiful and bustling city to call home, a recent CityPulse report has identified the best suburbs in Melbourne based on three categories - live, work and play. The results, unsurprisingly, show that the city’s inner suburbs rank the highest across the board — given that they’re situated in transport dense areas, with access to world-class amenities and all the cultural highlights that Melbourne offers. 

The report finds the most satisfied residents live in the inner ring, while those in the outer west are least satisfied. Read on to find out where the good suburbs in Melbourne are, and what makes them so!

What's the criteria for the best suburbs to live in Melbourne?

best places to live in Melbourne
Among many others, community safety is a big factor that will influence a suburb's liveability.

The CityPulse Melbourne report considered multiple factors when deciding where the best places to live in Melbourne are, including:

  • Housing affordability
  • Community safety
  • Access to educational institutions and childcare options
  • Hospitals and healthcare centres
  • Public transport connections
  • Job opportunities
  • Aged care facilities
  • Entertainment venues
  • Cultural and natural attractions
  • Access to parks, gardens, fitness centres
  • Traffic congestion, roads and parking

Keeping these in mind, let’s explore the best areas to live in Melbourne. 

Best suburbs to live in Melbourne: Inner City suburbs

The best suburbs to live in Melbourne are undisputedly in the inner city. Young professionals clamber into the multicultural suburb of Richmond, which is number one for liveability and ranks highly across work and play in the CityPulse findings. 

With some of the finest culinary experiences on offer, close proximity to the MCG, amazing boutique shopping and a rich taste of the arts portioned generously throughout the trendy suburb, it undoubtedly leads the pack. A house in Richmond has a median price of $1.2 million, while units are $590,000. The average weekly rent is $690 and $488 respectively.

"Melbourne CBD ranks highly on the work and play criteria, and other areas that perform well are Cremorne, Docklands and Southbank."

Close by, East Melbourne also offers exceptional liveability. Melbourne CBD ranks highly on the work and play criteria, and other areas that perform well are Cremorne, Docklands and Southbank.

Sophisticated living can be found in the affluent suburbs of Albert Park, Toorak, Prahran and South Yarra. South Yarra is truly in the thick of things with the Jam Factory at home there, a thriving market scene, incredible art deco and period architecture and access to some of the best schools. The median price for a house is $1.4 million, while units are $539,000. You won't find affordability in the inner-ring, but you will find liveability in spades! 

Best suburbs to live in Melbourne: Eastern suburbs

The beautiful, leafy streets of the east are iconic to Melbourne, along with well-groomed gardens and parks to be explored. Here, you’ll find some of the top suburbs in Melbourne that tick all the boxes. Hawthorn East ranks highly across all criteria in the study, along with Hawthorn and neighbour Camberwell

The east certainly does offer the best suburbs for families in Melbourne, and peaceful, quiet Kew is no exception. Picturesque Surrey Hills is worth investigating too. Impressively, it hosts two train stations and two tram lines, and features a beautiful mixture of old and new architecture.

A home in Hawthorn East or Surrey Hills both come with an average price tag of $1.7 million, while rent averages $765 and $780 per week respectively.

good suburbs in Melbourne
The streets of Camberwell, where shops, cafes and amenities are all at your front door | Source: Discover Your Own Backyard

Best suburbs to live in Melbourne: Western suburbs

Unfortunately, the outer western suburbs still have a long way to go to improve on liveability and reputation. Tarneit and Truganina, however, rate highly on the work criteria due to their transport connections and employment opportunities. 

The median house price in Tarneit is affordable for those entering the market at $550,000, while units are $396,000, and rent is lower at $395 per week for houses and $350 per week for units. 

Altona North and South Kingsville are also popular choices among families looking for affordability and a decent level of liveability. More affordable than its million dollar neighbours of Newport and Williamstown, Altona North has a median house price of $790,000, while weekly rent averages $450. 

Best suburbs to live in Melbourne: Northern suburbs

Popular with students and young professionals, areas like Northcote and Brunswick are hip and trendy. The north certainly offers some of the best suburbs in Melbourne for families, with Essendon and Moonee Ponds being great examples. 

Moonee Ponds is close to the city, while having its own vibrant hub and a strong sense of community. Ample green spaces like the popular Queen’s Park are well-visited, and there are excellent private and public schools nearby, not to mention the suburb’s charming heritage homes lining leafy streets. The median house price here is $1.2 million, and the average unit price is $472,000. The average rent for a house is $595 per week, and a unit is roughly $420 weekly. 

"The North offers some of the best suburbs in Melbourne for families, with Essendon and Moonee Ponds being great examples"

Further north, the safest suburbs in Melbourne can be found. Reservoir, Greensborough and Montmorency are underrated but overdeliver! With appealing country vibes abounding, they’re still close enough to the city amenities and well connected. 

Affectionately known as Monty, Montmorency is a hilly suburb with large blocks, a burgeoning cafe scene and a village vibe. A home in this friendly suburb has a median price of $838,000, and rent averages $463 per week. 

Best suburbs to live in Melbourne: Southern suburbs

When looking for the best areas to live in Melbourne, consider the southern suburbs that are close to exquisite beaches and direct access to the stunning Mornington Peninsula.

The bayside suburb of Elwood is characterised by its peaceful, tree-lined streets and village feel. It’s also just minutes from another highly rated area in Melbourne, St Kilda. The median house price in Elwood is $1.7 million, while rent averages $830 per week. The median unit price is $622,000, while rent is about $450 per week.

Other beachy ‘burbs to consider are Malvern and Elsternwick. In the middle-ring, but increasingly sought-after is Carnegie. Gentrifying quickly, it has access to schools, shopping, amazing cafes, and is well-connected with the nearby freeways, while still being close to the enticing beaches of Port Phillip Bay.  

Oakleigh is seeing loads of transformation in recent years. With the largest Greek population outside of Athens, you’ll find a growing cafe and restaurant scene. The median house price is $1.1 million, and units are approximately $538,000. You can expect to pay $500 per week in rent for a house, and $430 per week for a unit.