Best Suburbs To Buy In Melbourne

5 January 2017
Having been designated as the world’s most liveable city for a stunning 6 years in a row, Melbourne is a city that a whole lot of people want to own a home in.

Like every other Australian major city, Melbourne’s not exactly a small place, and figuring out which suburbs are best for home ownership can be tricky to say the least. There’s a huge number of factors to consider when you’re trying to decide where to buy a home, and it’s hard to keep track of it all.

Canstar has put together this comprehensive guide to the best suburbs to buy in Melbourne for home buyers and property investors. We’ve mainly broken down the city’s best suburbs for homebuyers by location; however, we’ve also spotlighted a handful of suburbs based on potential rather than position.

If you’re unsure about where to buy in Melbourne – whether for your next home or as an investment property – welcome to your one-stop shop for all the information you need!

Data is sourced from

5 suburbs within 5km of the CBD

1. Richmond

Where: 3km out from the CBD and situated in Melbourne’s west, decades of gentrification has seen Richmond transform into a village full of trendy shops with a diverse housing mix to boot.

Public Transport: Richmond is served by:

  • Tive train stations (Richmond, Burnley, East Richmond, North Richmond, and West Richmond)
  • Six tram routes (12, 109, 78, 48, 75, and 70)
  • A bus route
  • A handful of bicycle trails

Schools: Richmond has a number of schools, including Melbourne Girl’s College, St Kevin’s College, Richmond Primary School, Richmond West Primary School, Yarra Primary School, and Trinity Catholic Primary School.

Shopping and Dining: Richmond is home to Victoria Gardens, a large shopping centre, but the suburb as a whole is a lively spot for retail, well-known for its Bridge Road and Victoria Street shopping districts. The suburb also boasts a strong dining presence, with no shortage of edible offerings from different countries and cultures, including Mexican, Italian, Indian, Greek, or even just a burger and chips!

Population: As of the 2011 ABS census, Richmond had a population of 26,121.

Median House Price: $1.19 million

Median Rent: $640/week

2. Collingwood

Where: One of the oldest suburbs in Melbourne, Collingwood sits just 3km northeast of Melbourne’s CBD.

Public Transport: Collingwood is served by a handful of tram routes (109 and 86), along with the numerous bus routes that run along the main roads on Collingwood’s borders. The suburb does not have a train station, because Collingwood station is actually located in Abbotsford.

Schools: The suburb has two educational institutions: Collingwood College, and one of the Northern Melbourne Institute of TAFE’s campuses.

Shopping and Dining: Collingwood’s main commercial area is located along Smith Street, the shared border between Collingwood and Fitzroy. Many of Collingwood’s restaurants are also located in the vicinity of Smith Street, including Thai, Japanese, African, Greek, and Vietnamese restaurants.

Population: As of the 2011 census, Collingwood had a population of 6,467.

Median House Price: $885,000

Median Rent: $590/week

3. Carlton

Where: Sitting just above Melbourne’s CBD, Carlton is well-known for a number of things including the Royal Exhibition Building, one of the few man-made buildings in the world to be awarded UNESCO World Heritage Status.

Public Transport: Carlton is well-served by many of Melbourne’s trams and a number of different bus routes, the majority of which run down Lygon Street, Elgin Street, and Rathdowne Street. Carlton has no train station.

Schools: Carlton has two primary schools, Carlton Gardens Primary School and Carlton Primary School. The suburb is best known for its tertiary education, containing the Melbourne Business School, Melbourne Law School, and part of RMIT University’s City Campus.

Shopping and Dining: Carlton’s shopping and dining are centred around Lygon Street, which runs through the heart of the suburb. This vicinity houses Melbourne’s Little Italy community, which boasts a huge number of restaurants, gelaterias, and continental cake cafes. Many notable retail stores can also be found on Lygon Street, making it a bit of a hub for Carlton Residents.

Population: As of the 2011 census, Carlton had a population of 13,509.

Median House Price: $1.09 million

Median Rent: $580/week

4. North Melbourne

Where: Carlton’s slightly more cosmopolitan neighbour to the west, North Melbourne is a melting pot, home to people of all ages and lifestyles with one common desire – the perfect mix of urban and suburban living, which North Melbourne has in spades.

Public Transport: North Melbourne has the Flemington Bridge station, and is also served by several trams including the 55, 57, and 59 routes. Buses also run through the suburb.

Schools: North Melbourne is home to a number of educational institutes, including St. Aloysius College, St. Michael’s Primary School, and North Melbourne Primary School.

Shopping and Dining: North Melbourne has a strong cafe culture, which is mainly centred around Errol Street, as are many of the suburb’s numerous and varied restaurants. Due to its direct proximity to the CBD, North Melbourne doesn’t contain a huge number of retail stores – it doesn’t need to.

Population: As of the 2011 census, North Melbourne had a population of 11,755.

Median House Price: $1.00 million

Median Rent: $593/week

5. Southbank

Where: Southbank sits on the other side of the Yarra River across from Melbourne’s CBD, and lies about a kilometre south (who would’ve guessed it) of the city centre.

Public Transport: Southbank is a heavily urbanised area with a large number of major roads criss-crossing through it, meaning that driving in the area can be a pain. However, many tram routes operate in the area, including the 1, 55, 96, 109, and 112 services.

Schools: Southbank isn’t home to any primary schools, but it does have a wide range of secondary and tertiary institutions including the Photography Studies College, the Victorian College of the Arts, and the Victorian College of the Arts Secondary School.

Shopping and Dining: A vast majority of Southbank’s numerous restaurants are located in its scenic riverbank district; the area boasts Japanese, Chinese, and Italian restaurants, along with fancy seafood restaurants and one of Heston Blumenthal’s restaurants. The suburb has a large number of retail stores, including furniture, homewares, organic grocers, motor vehicles, and upmarket clothing stores.

Population: As of the 2011 census, Southbank had a population of 11,235.

Median Unit Price: $583,000

Median Rent (for a unit): $560/week

5 suburbs on the north side

1. Thornbury

Where: Tucked cosily in between Northcote and Preston in Melbourne’s north, Thornbury sits roughly 7km out from the city centre.

Public Transport: Thornbury is well-served by public transport, having its own railway station, and with two tram lines (the 86 and 11 services) running through the suburb.

Schools: Thornbury has a handful of schools, including Thornbury Primary School, St Mary’s Primary School, Holy Spirit Primary School, Pender’s Grove Primary, and Thornbury High School.

Shopping and Dining: A vast majority of Thornbury’s many and varied restaurants can be found on High Street, which more or less runs through the middle of the suburb. The same can be said for its shops, but that being said, the suburb does have a handful of stores spread throughout the rest of the area. Shops that can be found on High Street include a record store, clothing boutiques, and specialty food stores.

Population: As of the 2011 census, Southbank had a population of 17,434.

Median House Price: $976,000

Median Rent: $530/week

2. Northcote

Where: Just below Thornbury, Northcote lies roughly 6km away from Melbourne’s CBD in the city’s northeast.

Public Transport: Northcote has a whopping five train stations: Merri, Northcote, Croxton, Westgarth, and Dennis stations. The former three are on the South Morang line and the latter two are on the Hurstbridge line. The suburb is served by two tram services, routes 86 and 11, which run along High Street and St Georges Road respectively. Buses run along Separation Street, Westgarth Street, and Victoria Road.

Schools: Northcote is home to the following schools: Wales Street Primary School, Westgarth Primary School, Northcote Primary School, Northcote High School, Santa Maria College, and St Joseph’s Primary School. The latter two are Catholic schools and the former four are public.

Shopping and Dining: Almost all of Northcote’s shops are located on High Street. These include Northcote Plaza Shopping Centre, clothing stores, and sporting stores; however, a majority of the suburb’s retail stores are clothing or clothing-related. Northcote’s restaurants are similarly positioned, sitting at various points along High Street. Northcote’s range of restaurants include Thai, Japanese, vegan, Tibetan, Mexican, Sri Lankan, Mediterranean, and Italian.

Population: As of 2011, Northcote had a population of 22,920.

Median House Price: $1.11 million

Median Rent: $580/week

3. Essendon

Where: Leaning a little to the west in Melbourne’s north side, Essendon is about 10km out from the city centre of Melbourne.

Public Transport: Essendon is served by the 59 tram route, and by its three railway stations, Essendon, Glenbervie, and Strathmore stations. A small number of bus routes also operate in the suburb.

Schools: Essendon has a large number of schools, five public and five private. The public schools are Aberfeldie Primary School, Essendon Primary School, Essendon North Primary School, Buckley Park College, Essendon Keilor College. The private schools are St Therese’s Primary School, St Columba’s College, St Bernard’s College, Penleigh and Essendon Grammar School, and Lowther Hall Anglican Grammar School.

Shopping and Dining: Essendon has a handful of retail stores, most of which sit on Mt Alexander Road, one of the suburb’s main thoroughfares. These include several clothing stores, a golfing store, a boutique or two, a specialty wine store, a florist, and a skate shop. The same can be said for the suburb’s restaurants location-wise, most of which form two clusters at either end of Mt Alexander road. Essendon’s dining scene includes Thai, Italian, modern Australian, Chinese, Indian, and Spanish restaurants.

Population: As of the 2011 census, Essendon had a population of 18,852.

Median House Price: $1.21 million

Median Rent: $450/week

4. Brunswick East

Where: Located directly to the east of the slightly larger suburb of Brunswick (shocker, we know), this suburb sits about 6km north of Melbourne’s CBD.

Public Transport: Brunswick East’s public transport is a mix of buses and trams. This suburb is also served by three different tram lines, the 1, 8, and 96 routes. It’s also served by several bus routes, including the 503, 506, 508, and 510 services.

Schools: The suburb has three primary schools: Brunswick East Primary School, Brunswick South Primary School, and Our Lady Help of Christians. The nearest high school is located in Northcote.

Shopping and Dining: Brunswick East has a rapidly developing dining scene, with Italian, Greek, Lebanese, Vietnamese, Japanese, Indian, Thai, and Malaysian restaurants being found at the southern end of Lygon Street. Along the same stretch of Lygon Street can be found many of Brunswick East’s retail stores, including several clothing stores, specialty food stores, a natural foods store, a wine store, and a bicycle store among others.

Population: As of the 2011 census, Brunswick East had a population of 8,476.

Median House Price: $945,000

Median Rent: $590/week

5. Preston

Where: Roughly 9km north of Melbourne’s CBD, Preston is just far out enough to feel cozy and suburban without getting too rural or isolated; its residents are a mix of families and singles, who all enjoy Preston’s balance of urban and suburban living.

Public Transport: Preston is served by trams, trains, and a wide range of bus services. The suburb has two railway stations, Bell and Preston stations. Tram routes 11, 86, and 112 operate in the area, as do a large number of bus routes.

Schools: Preston is home to a huge number of schools, including Preston West Primary, Preston Primary, Preston South Primary, Preston North East Primary, Sacred Heart Primary, Bell Primary, St Raphael’s Primary, Preston Girl’s Secondary College, and Parade College Preston Campus.

Shopping and Dining: High Street is the suburb’s dining hub as of late, with a large number of new, trendy cafes and restaurants opening in the street’s vicinity as of late. These include Indian, Chinese, Italian, Vietnamese, seafood, and Japanese restaurants. Almost all of Preston’s retail stores are clustered on the suburb’s east side; these include a number of clothing stores, a camping store, a pet store, a baby store, and furniture/homeware stores among others.

Population: As of the 2011 census, Preston had a population of 29,925.

Median House Price: $843,000

Median Rent: $420/week

5 suburbs on the south side

1. Bentleigh

Where: Only a suburb or two removed from the coast, Bentleigh lies roughly 13km away from Melbourne’s CBD.

Public Transport: The suburb has two train stations, Bentleigh and Patteron stations. The 701 and 703 bus routes also serve the area.

Schools: Bentleigh has three schools: St. Paul’s Primary School, Our Lady of Sacred Heart College, and Bentleigh West Primary School.

Shopping and Dining: A majority of the suburb’s dining and retail is located on Centre Road, which runs through the entire suburb. Bentleigh’s restaurants include Mexican, Italian, Indian, Middle Eastern, Japanese, and several cafes. The suburb’s retail stores include clothing boutiques, costume stores, and specialty food stores.

Population: As of the 2011 census, Bentleigh had a population of 14,920.

Median House Price: $1.34 million

Median Rent: $540/week

2. Carnegie

Where: Carnegie sits about 12km away from Melbourne’s CBD, in the core of the city’s southeast.

Public Transport: The suburb has Carnegie train station, along with being served by the 623, 624, 626, 900, and 980 bus routes. The southern part of Carnegie is also served by the Carnegie tram route.