Monday, September 19, 2011

How to choose a Suburb to live in ..

In an earlier post, I wrote about the various stages of the real estate journey and the different types of accomodation. 

But how do you go about choosing a location to live in that is suitable for you?

Being a city spanning a very large land area, Melbourne consists of many suburbs of differing traits and character. Comparing all the various areas can be mind-boggling for anyone, let alone a newcomer to Melbourne.

(Note: I use the term “suburb” loosely to cover all areas of Melbourne including the CBD!)

Here are some areas of considerations that might make your choice a little easier ..

  • Distance
    • A good starting strategy would be to draw a 10 km radius around either the Melbourne CBD or your place of work, and see which suburbs fit into your budget
    • Since you're only just moving to Melbourne, I would recommend you start off renting first so as not to commit to a big mortgage on a house until you are more familiar with the lay of the land and eventually find the suburb of your dreams. :) 
  •  Education 
    • If you have children, a key driving factor might be the location of a specific school
    • Many public schools (especially the popular ones) are “zoned”. What this means is that you must live within the defined neighbourhood boundary in order for your child to be eligible to study there 
  •  Lifestyle 
    • If you like a specific lifestyle then that may influence your decision 
    • If you like beaches, places like Sandringham and Altona might appeal to you 
    • If you like rivers, you can’t go past the scenic locations around the Yarra or Maribyrnong rivers 
    • If you enjoy shopping and a poshier lifestyle, South Yarra or Prahran might appeal to you 
    • If you like the artsy and hippie crowd, then Fitzroy would be your pick 
    • And many more!

Intersect the 3 factors above, and I reckon your list will be narrowed to just a few areas making your choice a lot easier!

Whichever suburb you shortlist, have a leisurely walk around the town centre, sit down for a coffee and soak up the area's ambience. Also do drive around the neighbourhood, visit the schools, chat with the locals, pay a visit both day and night, etc .. then decide.

As usual, local knowledge can help a lot so feel free to post questions on specific suburbs here and I will give you all the help you need.

Last but not least, don't forget to check out my brand NEW website - - dedicated to all things about moving to Melbourne and life in general in the world's most liveable city !


  1. Hi..i need some guidance and hope that you would be able to help me out. I recently got admitted as a PhD student to the university of Melbourne. I am looking for places to live as the residential colleges of the university are too expensive and would be hard for me to afford. Therefore, I am looking for a good place to live that is safe, offers decent amenities and is close to the University (parkville in particular), transport facilities and shopping areas. I know that it's a lot to ask but I am hoping to find some place decent to live in a shared apartment/house. I don't want to compromise on safety and also proximity to the uni and i can't seem to understand the layout of the neighbouring suburbs on maps so that I can do an effective search. Can you please help me out as to which areas should i target for my search and which to avoid?? Also on many websites, they mention areas like inner city, northern and eastern suburbs etc instead of naming them which again is hard for a non native to understand..My budget for accommodation is around a $1000 per month.. any help in this regard would be highly appreciated..

  2. Hi Lylah, congrats on getting admittance to Melbourne Uni ! And a PHD course no less ! $1000 per month - assuming you get at least one other person to share with - is more than enough to get good accomodation in the area. Inner city typically means not more than a few kms either side of the CBD area. Nothern suburbs then to be a bit rougher so I would avoid it if you are concious about safety. Brunswick would be the furthest I would go. You can always decide for yourself when you get here but I wouldn't recommend it for a first timer. Eastern suburbs are the most affluent areas so you will get less for your rental. Its also further away from your Uni. For you, I would actually recommend Inner City Melbourne. A lot of students stay in the CBD area and surrounds as there are lots of modern new apartments being built in the past 5 years or so. Also, Southbank would be another convenient option for you. Go to my facebook page and post a map or a specific street that you want me to comment on. More than happy to help.


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