The People’s Choice of Housing has – for the first time – analysed greater Melbourne’s housing market to uncover the city’s most affordable and liveable suburbs.
Burnside (west), Watsonia North (north), Noble Park North (south-east) and Mount Dandenong (east) head up the October rankings for each region, balancing their affordability against liveability – the factors that determine whether people would want to live in a suburb.
People’s Choice Chief Executive Officer Steve Laidlaw said the People’s Choice of Housing provides a unique way of looking at the market for people interesting in buying a home to live in.
“Buying a home is about more than money, it s about your life. With this new perspective, people can better weigh up what is right for them and perhaps also discover some suburbs that may tick the right boxes,” he said.
The index first assesses whether a couple on an average income is likely to be able to get finance for a median-priced home in each suburb, and then ranks those suburbs according to how much is left after paying the mortgage for that home.
But a home is about more than affordability; it is also about liveability. The People’s Choice of Housing ranks suburbs according to factors including crime rates, public transport coverage, proximity to high-employment areas, driveability and community stability.
Melbourne’s western suburbs
“Burnside, Burnside Heights and Delahey top the rankings for the west, and all three are in the Top 10 for the whole of Melbourne, making them highly desirable places to live,” Mr Laidlaw said. “Overall, 17 suburbs from the west made Melbourne’s Top 50 which was the largest contingent – but only just – with the north recording 16.
“As you might expect, suburbs in the west tended to be more affordable but eight western suburbs also scored in Melbourne’s Top 25 for liveability, ranking highly for being close to the CBD, with numerous schools and good access to public transport – things that can make all the difference after you have purchased.”
The western region refers to all suburbs and towns west of Melbourne’s CBD and the Tullamarine Freeway.
Melbourne’s northern suburbs
“Northern suburbs dominated this edition of the People’s Choice of Housing, driven largely by their liveability. Suburbs like Watsonia North, Yallambie, Gowanbrae and Wattle Glen definitely have higher price tags and so suffer on the affordability front, but all are very close to employment hubs, relatively close to the city, have low employment, low crime rates and are stable communities,” Mr Laidlaw said.
“The area also offers some affordable alternatives. For example, Dallas was ranked 14th overall with a median house price of $450,000 but its lifestyle factors put it ahead of Diamond Creek, which was 25th on the list at $735,000.
“Overall, there were 16 northern suburbs in the top 50 which goes to show it is a wonderful region for people who are looking for that great blend of affordability and liveability.”
The northern region includes all suburbs north of the CBD bounded by the Tullamarine Freeway in the west and the Yarra River to the east.
Melbourne’s eastern suburbs
“EastLink has opened many of Melbourne’s eastern suburbs to new homebuyers, and the area’s liveability factors are supporting that interest,” Mr Laidlaw said.
“The lower median prices in some of the east’s Hills suburbs – Mount Dandenong, Monbulk, Tecoma and Upwey – open up the region for those looking for a more affordable alternative. For those with more to spend, suburbs like Ringwood East boast impressive liveability including good public transport coverage, excellent proximity to employment hubs and good economic prospects.
“There are also some opportunities in the east like Kalorama. It was the cheapest of the eastern suburbs to make the list with a median house price of $570,000 – with repayments of about $670 a week – but it slid down the list somewhat due to the lack of a school and lower driveability, to finish at number 50.”
Melbourne’s east is bounded by the Monash Freeway in the south and the Yarra River to the north.
Melbourne’s south-eastern suburbs
“Melbourne’s south-east has been one of the greatest sources of growth across the country, and it’s no surprise to see people looking further and further out as demand drives up prices,” Mr Laidlaw said.
“Distance from the city and from employment hubs affects liveability, but there are some south-eastern suburbs that manage to find a balance between affordability and liveability.
“Noble Park North tops the list in this edition. Its median house price of $615,000 pushes it out in terms of affordability and it has a low ranking when it comes to public transport access, but it is relatively close to the city, it is safe and close to three employment hubs and has a relatively stable community. All in all, it offers a good mix of affordability and liveability.
“Overall, five south-eastern suburbs made the top 50 including Dingley Village (12th) and Chelsea Heights (15th), which had the highest median house prices of the entire list - $750,000 and $748,600, respectively. Clearly that’s nudging the top of the affordability scale for two people on average incomes, but these suburbs do enjoy the 5th and 6th highest liveability ratings with good access to the CBD, schools, and below-average crime rates.”