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Moving from Sydney to Melbourne: Suburb equivalents

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If you are plotting a move to Sydney from Melbourne or vice versa, you are going to want to know what suburb to move to.

It is a major decision as each area has its own character, community and atmosphere. There are also other considerations you will want to know about - with schools, shops, parks and local amenities top of most people's list.

Then there is the small detail of a place to live and how much this could cost, which will often define which suburbs you can realistically afford to live or invest in. 

But first, assuming you are a newbie to either location, let's give you a comparison of each city - which touches on some age old rivalries and blows some myths right out of the water.    

Sydney vs Melbourne

living in Sydney

Talk to any Sydneysider and they will tell you the weather is awful in Melbourne, but the raw meteorological data has Sydney wetter than its southern rival - though Melbourne has lower average temperatures and fewer cloud-free days. Melbourne is however a lot more liveable, and regularly tops the Global Liveability Index, which is based on criteria including, healthcare, culture, infrastructure, environment,  education and stability.

Sydney is no slouch though, and is in the top ten cities for 2019. In terms of scale and population, Sydney comes out tops, but this is not necessarily a positive, though Melbourne's population is growing faster and is set to overtake it in 2050. 

But what about property prices? People complain about Sydney being exxy, and for good reason. With a median dwelling value of $805,424 it puts the Victorian capital in the shade, where property has a median value of $634,913 (October, 2019). You could also argue that Sydney has better beaches, and Melbourne is the place to get a decent coffee, but why bother. Everywhere is different and special, right?

"Sydney median dwelling value: $805,424 vs Melbourne median dwelling value: $634,913 (October, 2019)"

With this in mind, here is a selection of Sydney suburbs equivalent to Melbourne, and Melbourne suburbs equivalent to Sydney - which hopefully gives you a good idea of where to start your suburb search.  

St. Kilda & Bondi or Manly: Holiday vibes 

For beachside or harbourside living you could do worse than iconic Bondi or Manly in Sydney, which are both a close-ish match for Melbourne's St. Kilda. 

Bondi has that sliver of sand and sun which draws people from across the globe, but it does mean you have to deal with beer-fuelled backpackers, crowds as well as a fair amount of Bondi attitude. You are guaranteed excellent eateries, a decent public school and a mix of old and new apartments, as well as houses to accomodate you. And did we mention the beach...?

The Bondi median house price is currently $2.1 million, with units at $1 million. 

If you are from Sydney and want to live near the beach then check out St Kilda, which is a slightly more bohemian Manly. It has the same array of Art Deco apartments, historic houses and more modern developments, though with less than its Sydney cousins. It is easy to get to the CBD from St. Kilda, via light rail, tram or bus, and you also have more than enough entertainment and eating options on your doorstep. 

The St. Kilda median house price is currently a relatively affordable $1.44 million, with units at $504,500.

Manly is very similar to St. Kilda in many ways, with a mix of families, older residents and city workers. And while it doesn't have a ferris wheel or pier, it can boast a beachfront, harbour frontage and the Corso. In terms of transport options a ferry gets you to Circular Quay in 30 mins, though expect a bus or car journey to take longer. Property prices are typical for Sydney: bordering on the exorbitant in comparison to St. Kilda.

The median house price in Manly is currently $2.65 million, with units at $1.27 million.

Move here: if you want to feel like you are holiday, everyday...

living in St Kilda

Mosman & Brighton: Beachside living

Melbourne's Brighton has a stunning beach with a relaxed vibe that attracts older crowds as well as families. Against a backdrop of Edwardian and Victorian houses though, there are also designer homes and newer, modern apartment developments. There are excellent private schools in the suburb and the CBD is easily accessible by public transport. Property prices are more affordable than its sister suburb, Mosman. 

The median house price in Brighton is currently $2.3 million, with units at $1 million. 

Mosman has a similar demographic with more of a village feel, but with the same mix of period Federation homes, newer luxury townhouses and low-level apartment developments. It also boasts stunning harbour views, the infamous Taronga Zoo, as well as Sydney Harbour National Park on their doorstep. Transport options are good, with buses or a short ferry ride to the city. There are also a good selection of schools in the suburb. 

"Mosman boasts stunning harbour views, the infamous Taronga Zoo, as well as Sydney Harbour National Park"

The median house price in Mosman is currently $3.6 million, with units at $983,000. 

Move here: if you like a relaxed vibe, close to the city

Fitzroy & Newtown: Inner-city boho 

If you like a touch of the bohemian and want to be close to the action in Melbourne, then head to Fitzroy. As one of the city's oldest burbs, you can expect to find a cool mix of Victorian cottages and terraces as well as newer apartments - all on wide, leafy streets. Head to Brunswick Street for all the action, including bars, shopping, eating and more. Oh, and the city is just a short stroll away.

The median house price in Fitzroy is currently $1.3 million, with units at $705,000. 

Newtown is practically a carbon copy of Fitzroy, though maybe slightly edgier when the sun sets. King Street is the centre of much that happens, which includes a lively Saturday market, as well as any number of cafes and restaurants. Settle here and you will join a diverse, vibrant community with easy access to the city via bus or train, as well as any number of global cuisines. Homes here are dominated by terraces, apartments and a scattering of houses. 

The median house price in Newtown is currently $1.23 million, with units at $650,000. 

Move here: if you like being close to the action.

living in Melbourne
Source: Twitter (@Melbourne)

Penrith & Werribee: Far from the hustle

Penrith, in Sydney's west is closer to the Blue Mountains than the CBD, but for some that is a plus. This suburb may have been maligned in the past but today is sought after for its laidback lifestyle, convenience and especially its affordability. Here a freestanding house with a double garage is yours for the price of an inner city apartment. There are also decent amenities, including a Westfield shopping complex, decent green space and a museum. 

The median house price in Penrith is currently $597,500 with units at $431,500.

"In Penrith, a freestanding house with a double garage is yours for the price of an inner city apartment."

Werribee, a western suburb halfway to Geelong, not only shares Penrith's geographical location but it is also affordable, though it does have access to a river and a beach. All this makes it very family-friendly with a mix of period homes and more modern apartment developments, especially around the Wyndham Harbour marina complex.

The median house price in Werribee is currently $496,500 with units at $377,500.

Move here: if you prefer a laid back lifestyle.

Good luck with the move!