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Best suburbs to live in Melbourne

Profile photo of Katy Holliday
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Katy has been writing and editing in the digital realm and in print for over ten years, and is based in Brisbane, Queensland.

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

If you’re hunting for a piece of this beautiful city to call home, the Place Score 2023 Australian Liveability Census collected data from residents to identify municipalities with the best suburbs in Melbourne, prioritising local amenities, connectivity and green spaces. The results, unsurprisingly, show that the city’s inner and middle-eastern suburbs rank the highest — given that they’re situated in transport-dense areas, with access to world-class facilities and all the cultural highlights that Melbourne offers.

The census found the most satisfied residents live in medium-to-high-density areas of the city, 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 Place Score liveability census found residents valued multiple factors when scoring the best places to live in Melbourne, including:  

  • Access to local amenities including shops, cafés and health services
  • Connectivity
  • Elements of the natural environment including trees, topography and views
  • Walkability

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

Best suburbs to live in Melbourne: Inner City suburbs

Some of the best suburbs to live in Melbourne are undisputedly in the inner city, with the City of Melbourne scoring highly in the Place Score census. Home to the iconic Carlton, Southbank and Docklands, the inner city is famed for its dining, shopping and arts scenes, attracting students, young professionals and families alike.     

In the higher price range, East Melbourne and Parkville are quiet residential suburbs known for their historic architecture, while Kensington, Carlton North, North Melbourne and Port Melbourne offer family homes close to the action for under $2 million.    

A slice of suburbia on the doorstep of the CBD, Flemington’s pockets of prestige, tree-lined streets lie beyond the hustle and bustle of its racecourse. Flemington has gentrified into a sought-after neighbourhood for young professionals, with its proximity to the city and large block sizes offering the best of both worlds. The median house price in Flemington is $1,017,000 and the median rent is $650 per week.

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. It’s here you’ll find one of Australia’s most liveable neighbourhoods, according to Place Score’s census. The municipality of Boroondara rated the nation’s fourth most desirable place to live, scored highly with residents for its lush greenery and lifestyle.

Balwyn, Canterbury, Camberwell and Glen Iris sit in the area, and with their combination of picturesque historic houses, new luxury homes and apartments, are amongst Melbourne’s most exclusive and expensive suburbs. Once considered the poorer neighbour, Ashburton has gentrified into a highly sought-after urban village. A house in Ashburton has a median price tag of $2.1 million, while rent is a median $525 per week.

Tiny Deepdene is a hidden gem, though its quiet, tree-lined streets come with a hefty price tag. Burwood, one of Boroondara’s more affordable areas, is a peaceful, family-friendly suburb with a bustling centre. The median house price is $1,475,000, and median rent is $650 per week.

For those seeking affordability, some of the best suburbs for families in Melbourne can be found further east, such as Ringwood and Croydon. Leafy Bayswater is also worth investigating, offering a mix of natural beauty, vibrant dining and child-friendly amenities. Houses in Bayswater sell for a median $885,000 and rent for a median $525 per week.

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

For liveability, the inner city municipality Hobsons Bay scored highest with western Melbourne residents in Place Score’s census. Home to beachside suburbs Altona, Seaholme and Williamston, you’ll also find quiet pockets with houses for sale for less than $1 million.

One is Laverton, a small, underrated suburb packed with amenities, green spaces and well-connected by public transport. For a suburb so close to the CBD, Laverton has a surprisingly quiet feel. Most homes in Laverton are detached houses, still on their original-sized blocks, and new townhouses. The median house price in Laverton is $582,500 with a median weekly rent of $390 per week.     

Unfortunately, the outer western suburbs still have a long way to go to improve on

liveability in Place Score’s census. Werribee, however, was named by Home Truth as its most liveable western Melbourne suburb, gaining full marks for local amenities, affordability and lifestyle. The median house price is $615,000 and median weekly rent is $430. 

Best suburbs to live in Melbourne: Northern suburbs

Packed with vibrant communities, eclectic culture and a buzzing bar and café scene, Melbourne’s inner north offers it all from a lifestyle perspective. Trendy Fitzroy, North Melbourne and Brunswick are lively and cosmopolitan, popular with students and young professionals seeking a range of housing options.

TimeOut’s coolest street in the world for 2024, High Street, weaves through Northcote, Thornbury and Preston. In the municipality of Darebin, these suburbs also rated highly for liveability in Place Score’s census, offering residents the best of urban buzz and laid-back suburbia.

Popular with young families, Fairfield is known for its leafy streets, diverse community and sprawling Yarra Bend Park. Residents love Fairfield for its walkability, with its Station Street shopping strip considered one of Melbourne’s best. A house here has a median price of $1,370,000 and a median rent of $760 per week.

Also in Darebin, Kingsbury is a relatively affordable option. This small, residential suburb is surrounded by parks and well-connected to the CBD by public transport. Houses in Kingsbury have a median price of $800,000 and a median weekly rent of $500.

A little further out, the sprawling suburb Bundoora sits within the cities of Darebin, Banyule and Whittlesea, and is famous as the home of La Trobe University. Families flock here for its peaceful streets and large new and older-style houses. The median house price in Bundoora is $845,000 and median weekly rent is $520.

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.

Three municipalities in Melbourne’s south – Port Phillip, Bayside and Stonnington – rated highly in Place Score’s census. In Port Phillip, the bayside Albert Park has a charming village atmosphere only 3 kilometres south of the CBD. Home to high-quality schools, world-class recreational facilities and some of the city’s most captivating architecture, Albert Park can be pricey, with houses selling for a median $2,197,500 and median weekly rent of $895.

While sought-after Bayside suburbs such as Beaumaris, Brighton, Hampton and Sandringham offer premium lifestyle and amenities for a median $2 million and above, there are pockets of value to be found in the inner south. Stonnington suburb Windsor is a vibrant, family-friendly community, with a mix of Victorian homes, terraces and new apartments. The median house price in Windsor is $1,450,000 and median weekly rent is $800.