Where you choose to live in Melbourne will depend on your lifestyle, work and budget. Those who find themselves working in the city and enjoy being surrounded by cultural amenities (wide variety of restaurants, bars, theatres and art galleries) may chose to live in the CBD or inner suburbs. Those who don’t mind longer commutes and enjoy having more space may be better suited to the outer suburbs.
While the outer suburbs are cheaper, depending on where you are moving from, you may find that inner suburban living is much more affordable in Melbourne than in other major cities around the world. Depending on what type of work you are doing, you may be paid a “cost of living” bonus by your employer to offset the cost of urban living.
Inner Northern Suburbs
The inner suburbs heading north from the CBD tend to be slightly bohemian. They have a history of being less affluent than others, but have recently experienced growth in value and demographic shift due to owner-renovators who have transformed the older homes over the last four to five years. While the vibe in these areas is decidedly ‘alternative’, the rise in prices over the last decade has pushed most counter-cultural inhabitants westward.
Inner Western Suburbs
Traditionally working class neighbourhoods, the inner western suburbs are changing rapidly. While some of these suburbs sit across the bay from the city (and require access by train or by crossing the massive harbour spanning West Gate Bridge) there is much value to be found among the older homes. With a recent influx of immigrants to these neighbourhoods, the western suburbs of Melbourne are considered to be the most multi-cultural in Australia and provide a unique variety of restaurants and shops. Schools in the west are mostly public, but held in high regard as places where students will no doubt learn much about other cultures.
Inner Eastern Suburbs
The eastern suburbs are Melbourne’s most established. A great many of the homes here were built by successful business owners when Melbourne was first founded and there are plenty of stately manor-style homes here. Apartments in East Melbourne are very stylish, traditionally being created from large, older homes that have been converted into two to six smaller dwellings. The east also has Melbourne’s highest number of private schools in one area, which makes it popular for professional families who can afford to live there.
Some of the most desirable areas in Melbourne are near the water. Areas such as St. Kilda and Elwood have an interesting mix of affluence (beach front homes) and bohemia (share houses). The proximity to the beach attracts many who enjoy a leisurely lifestyle, and the mix of beach-bum, artistic entrepreneurs and well coifed café enthusiasts seem natural in these neighbourhoods.
Far Outer Suburbs
The further away from the CBD you live, the lower your accommodation costs are likely to be. You may have a longer, more costly commute every day, but most of the outer suburbs are well connected to the city by public transport. While living in the outer suburbs can offer you and your family a more relaxed lifestyle, keep in mind that Melbourne winters can be pretty bleak, and long, inconvenient commutes can quickly grow depressing when you are leaving and arriving home in the dark.