Moving to Australia? Considering Melbourne? Here’s what you need to know about what it’ll cost you.
The second in our series of ‘affordable places to live in Australia’ is Melbourne. The trendy state capital of Victoria. Known for its’ coffee culture and vibrant nightlife Melbourne is a popular choice for young people and expats. Often voted the most liveable city in the world, it’s a serious contender for settlers deciding where to put down their roots. Australia’s second most expensive city comes with a price tag so in this article we will look at where, North and South of the bridge, you can still have an affordable life. Check out our previous article for a general overview of the costs of living Australia here.
What things cost in Melbourne
The average wage in Victoria is rising more than any other state but the rent prices vary greatly depending on location. Melbourne is known for its lifestyle but let’s explore exactly where in Melbourne your money will stretch the furthest, so you can have the extra cash for the fun stuff!
In Melbourne, the average price for that famous cappuccino is $4.42, and an inexpensive meal can cost around $18. However, those trendy places you’ve read about can cost a lot more! The good news is you and your mates can still find a beer after work for around $10 in most bars.
Thanks to its cultural diversity and historical influences there are a lot of free things to do in Melbourne to help your cash go further, see our previous article here for more info.
Living in Melbourne CBD
The centre of Melbourne is an exciting place to live. You will be able to walk along the Yarra River and get a coffee on its banks, chase street art home from work and meet up with friends in the trendiest bars. However, you will get less for your money, as with any inner city choice. The average unit rental cost in Melbourne CBD is $540pw and that price is only going up in the years to come.
On the south side of the city centre, Port Melbourne is a popular waterside choice. Many young couples gravitate here not wanting more than a walk or short tram ride away from the buzz. As you would expect, you will have to justify the higher average unit rental costs of $595pw for the premium location.
If that’s a bit high for you, you could look away from the coast to the north side of the city. Brunswick is less than 6km from the CBD and known as the ‘arty’ area. It’s popular with young people and boasts a nice cafe culture. Average unit rental here comes in at a more affordable $435pw. Many commute to the CBD via an easy bike route, so you could also save extra money on your transport costs and stay fit too!
For those who don’t fancy getting sweaty from cycling, Melbourne has an extensive and cheap public transport system. This means you can get that buzzing city centre lifestyle without actually having to live in the city centre. A lot of people can get away with living in and around Melbourne without owning a car!
Life in Melbourne suburbs
While you might know which side of the bridge you deem to be the ‘best’, you should be thinking about which neighbourhood has the vibe you want at the right price. While most suburbs are easily accessible some are more lively than others and some are more suited for families. Many expats want to be close to the beach and that can also heavily influence your suburb decisions.
The cheapest suburbs to rent in Melbourne
Suburbs with good nightlife
St Kilda is only 6km from the city with excellent transport links. It boasts the famous St Kilda beach and its own thriving nightlife, often a popular choice for younger expats. With a lot of different architectural influences, you have a wide choice of accommodation but average unit rental costs here are $425pw. Due to the younger cosmopolitan crowd in St Kilda, cheaper house sharing options are also popular.
Richmond sits to the east of the city centre near to the cricket ground. It has excellent rail links to the CBD or you could walk there through Melbourne park! If you can turn a blind eye to the chaotic traffic, then Richmond could be somewhere to settle. The average unit rental cost here is around $475pw but can vary greatly depending on size and style! What makes this place so liveable is that everything you need is walking distance away so you can save money and go out to all the nice restaurants.
Affordable suburbs on the coast
Williamstown is a 30 minute train journey southwest of the city, situated on the mouth of the Yarra river. It’s home to an amazing waterfront park and popular beach with an old town feel. Renting a house can be a bit more expensive here but the average unit price sits around $450pw.
Looking southeast you can find the peaceful and picturesque Elwood, nestled between the lively St Kilda and the boutique beach huts of Brighton. You can find rental properties here for around $420pw and be part of a friendly local community.
Up and coming areas to seriously consider
To the west of the city is Footscray. A trendy location with a great community vibe, it has been voted one of Melbourne’s most liveable suburbs with lots of cafes and galleries. The average unit cost is only $365pw and it is a short commute to the city, so this is a great area you shouldn’t overlook.
Preston is a lively multicultural suburb to the north of the city. It has regular markets and some really well reviewed shopping locations. Preston has its own train station meaning you can get to the city in 30 minutes. The average unit rental cost here is $410pw.
Always do your research
With over 300 suburbs there are so many more great places to consider. Despite its expensive exterior, Melbourne is definitely somewhere you can live your Aussie dream within your means!