The 10 Most Affordable Suburbs to Live in CANBERRA: Reviewed and Ranked in 2024

Locating the most affordable suburb in Canberra presents its own set of challenges, especially given the high cost of living. Many families, first home buyers and couples find it daunting to strike the right balance between affordability and a quality lifestyle. This article, grounded in thorough research and evaluating affordability through 10 rigorous criteria, aims to be a reliable guide for everyone, to find their perfect Canberra suburb.

10. Holt (Total Score: 62/100)

Holt presents itself as a suburb where affordability aligns with a modest lifestyle.

Scoring Criteria:

  • Median Housing Cost: 6/10
  • Rent Prices: 6/10
  • Cost of Living Index: 6/10
  • Property Taxes: 5/10
  • Employment Opportunities: 6/10
  • Income Levels: 6/10
  • Transportation Costs: 7/10
  • School Quality: 6/10
  • Safety and Crime Rates: 7/10
  • Amenities and Quality of Life: 7/10

Delving into Holt, couples will find its affordability is not just about the numbers; it’s about the value. With median housing costs that are manageable, rent prices that don’t break the bank, and a cost of living that is slightly lower than more central suburbs, Holt offers a balance. Employment opportunities are growing, especially in retail and community services. The suburb’s schools are above average, making it a solid choice for families. Safety and access to amenities, including local parks and a community shopping centre, further bolster Holt’s appeal.

Median prices for Holt, ACT (2615), as of December 2023:

  • Houses – $752,500
  • Units – $674,750

House and unit data provided by, https://www.realestate.com.au/act/holt-2615/

Holt is particularly suited for young families and professionals looking for a suburban feel without the steep price tag. Its growing amenities, coupled with a friendly community vibe and improving job prospects, make it an attractive option for those prioritising affordability and quality of life.

9. Ngunnawal (Total Score: 65/100)

Ngunnawal shines as a suburb where affordability meets community spirit.

Scoring Criteria:

  • Median Housing Cost: 7/10
  • Rent Prices: 6/10
  • Cost of Living Index: 7/10
  • Property Taxes: 6/10
  • Employment Opportunities: 6/10
  • Income Levels: 7/10
  • Transportation Costs: 6/10
  • School Quality: 7/10
  • Safety and Crime Rates: 6/10
  • Amenities and Quality of Life: 7/10

Ngunnawal stands out for its competitive median housing prices and a cost of living that offers more bang for your buck. The suburb boasts a cohesive community atmosphere, bolstered by accessible employment opportunities within and surrounding the area. Schools here are commendable, with several achieving high ratings, providing a strong educational foundation for children. Additionally, Ngunnawal’s safety and expanding amenities, from shopping centres to parks, contribute to its desirability.

Median prices for Ngunnawal, ACT (2913), as of December 2023:

  • Houses – $772,500
  • Units – $630,500

House and unit data provided by, https://www.realestate.com.au/act/ngunnawal-2913/

This suburb is a haven for those seeking an affordable entry into homeownership, especially young families and first-time homebuyers. Its blend of community, affordability, and lifestyle amenities makes Ngunnawal a standout choice.

8. MacGregor (Total Score: 68/100)

MacGregor offers an enticing mix of affordability and quality living.

Scoring Criteria:

  • Median Housing Cost: 7/10
  • Rent Prices: 7/10
  • Cost of Living Index: 7/10
  • Property Taxes: 6/10
  • Employment Opportunities: 7/10
  • Income Levels: 7/10
  • Transportation Costs: 7/10
  • School Quality: 7/10
  • Safety and Crime Rates: 7/10
  • Amenities and Quality of Life: 6/10

MacGregor’s appeal lies in its well-rounded affordability metrics, coupled with a strong sense of community. The suburb features competitive housing and rental prices, while its cost of living remains reasonable. Employment opportunities are diverse, thanks to its proximity to larger business districts. Schools in MacGregor are well-regarded, offering quality education options for families. Safety is a priority, with low crime rates and a strong community watch program.

Median prices for Macgregor, ACT (2615), as of December 2023:

  • Houses – $780,000
  • Units – N/A

House and unit data provided by, https://www.realestate.com.au/act/macgregor-2615/

Ideal for young professionals and families alike, MacGregor represents a suburb where your dollar stretches further without compromising on lifestyle. Its balance of affordability, safety, and community amenities makes it a smart choice for those looking to settle in Canberra.

7. Dunlop (Total Score: 70/100)

Dunlop is a suburb where affordability intersects with serene living.

Scoring Criteria:

  • Median Housing Cost: 8/10
  • Rent Prices: 7/10
  • Cost of Living Index: 7/10
  • Property Taxes: 7/10
  • Employment Opportunities: 7/10
  • Income Levels: 7/10
  • Transportation Costs: 7/10
  • School Quality: 7/10
  • Safety and Crime Rates: 7/10
  • Amenities and Quality of Life: 6/10

Dunlop excels with its attractive housing market, offering both affordability and quality. The suburb’s cost of living is balanced by a comfortable median income level, making it accessible for many families. Employment prospects are solid, supported by nearby commercial and industrial areas. Schools in Dunlop provide commendable education, and the suburb is known for its safety and tight-knit community feel. While amenities are growing, the suburb already boasts beautiful parks and recreational areas.

Median prices for Dunlop, ACT (2615), as of December 2023:

  • Houses – $803,500
  • Units – $645,000

House and unit data provided by, https://www.realestate.com.au/act/dunlop-2615/

Dunlop is ideal for families and individuals seeking a blend of affordability, quality education, and a peaceful lifestyle. Its community-oriented atmosphere and solid infrastructure offer a welcoming environment for new residents.

6. Conder (Total Score: 73/100)

Conder is celebrated for its harmonious balance between affordability and picturesque living.

Scoring Criteria:

  • Median Housing Cost: 8/10
  • Rent Prices: 7/10
  • Cost of Living Index: 8/10
  • Property Taxes: 7/10
  • Employment Opportunities: 7/10
  • Income Levels: 8/10
  • Transportation Costs: 7/10
  • School Quality: 8/10
  • Safety and Crime Rates: 7/10
  • Amenities and Quality of Life: 6/10

In Conder, residents enjoy the luxury of affordable housing paired with a high standard of living. The suburb’s cost of living is offset by higher median incomes, making it an attractive place for established professionals and families. Employment opportunities in the public and private sectors are abundant, and the schools here are among the best in Canberra, offering excellent educational outcomes. Safety and a sense of community are paramount, with low crime rates and a plethora of community events.

Median prices for Conder, ACT (2906), as of December 2023:

  • Houses – $892,500
  • Units – $610,000

House and unit data provided by, https://www.realestate.com.au/act/conder-2906/

Conder is best suited for those who value a balance between work and leisure, offering a peaceful setting without sacrificing the conveniences of city life. It’s perfect for families and professionals seeking quality, affordability, and a vibrant community.

5. Banks (Total Score: 77/100)

Banks stands out as a suburb where affordability blends seamlessly with a vibrant community.

Scoring Criteria:

  • Median Housing Cost: 8/10
  • Rent Prices: 8/10
  • Cost of Living Index: 8/10
  • Property Taxes: 7/10
  • Employment Opportunities: 7/10
  • Income Levels: 8/10
  • Transportation Costs: 8/10
  • School Quality: 8/10
  • Safety and Crime Rates: 8/10
  • Amenities and Quality of Life: 7/10

Banks is distinguished by its competitive housing market and a cost of living that offers residents high value for their investment. The suburb is characterised by its robust employment market, high median income levels, and excellent schools. Safety is a highlight, with Banks being one of the safer suburbs in Canberra, fostering a secure environment for families. The suburb also boasts a wealth of amenities, including parks, shops, and community facilities, enhancing its livability.

Median prices for Banks, ACT (2906), as of December 2023:

  • Houses – $740,000
  • Units – N/A

House and unit data provided by, https://www.realestate.com.au/act/banks-2906/

Banks is ideally suited for families and individuals looking for a suburb that offers both affordability and a high quality of life. Its combination of safety, community, and educational excellence makes it a top choice for those moving to Canberra.

4. Gordon (Total Score: 79/100)

Gordon shines as a beacon of affordability, offering residents a quality lifestyle without the hefty price tag.

Scoring Criteria:

  • Median Housing Cost: 8/10
  • Rent Prices: 8/10
  • Cost of Living Index: 8/10
  • Property Taxes: 8/10
  • Employment Opportunities: 8/10
  • Income Levels: 8/10
  • Transportation Costs: 8/10
  • School Quality: 8/10
  • Safety and Crime Rates: 8/10
  • Amenities and Quality of Life: 7/10

Gordon is celebrated for its excellent balance between affordable living and access to high-quality amenities. The suburb boasts a strong job market, complemented by high income levels and a cost of living that ensures a comfortable lifestyle. Schools in Gordon are highly rated, offering superb educational opportunities for children. Safety is paramount, with the suburb maintaining one of the lowest crime rates in the region. Residents enjoy access to numerous parks, recreational facilities, and a tight-knit community atmosphere.

Median prices for Gordon, ACT (2906), as of December 2023:

  • Houses – $808,000
  • Units – $626,000

House and unit data provided by, https://www.realestate.com.au/act/gordon-2906/

Gordon is perfect for those who prioritise affordability without compromising on the quality of their living environment. It’s an excellent choice for families, professionals, and retirees alike, offering a peaceful yet vibrant community life.

3. Amaroo (Total Score: 84/100)

Amaroo excels as a suburb where affordability meets modern living.

Scoring Criteria:

  • Median Housing Cost: 9/10
  • Rent Prices: 8/10
  • Cost of Living Index: 9/10
  • Property Taxes: 8/10
  • Employment Opportunities: 8/10
  • Income Levels: 9/10
  • Transportation Costs: 8/10
  • School Quality: 9/10
  • Safety and Crime Rates: 8/10
  • Amenities and Quality of Life: 8/10

Amaroo stands out with its slightly higher housing affordability and a cost of living that aligns well with the suburb’s median income levels. The area boasts a vibrant job market, especially in the service and tech sectors, and schools here are some of the best in the city, making it an attractive option for families. Amaroo is known for its safety, community engagement, and a plethora of amenities that cater to a variety of interests and needs.

Median prices for Amaroo, ACT (2914), as of December 2023:

  • Houses – $942,500
  • Units – $655,000

House and unit data provided by, https://www.realestate.com.au/act/amaroo-2914/

Amaroo is ideal for professionals and families looking for an affordable suburb that does not skimp on modern conveniences and lifestyle quality. It represents a harmonious blend of affordability, education, safety, and community vibrancy.

2. Calwell (Total Score: 87/100)

Calwell is a gem for those seeking affordability without sacrificing quality and community.

Scoring Criteria:

  • Median Housing Cost: 9/10
  • Rent Prices: 9/10
  • Cost of Living Index: 9/10
  • Property Taxes: 8/10
  • Employment Opportunities: 9/10
  • Income Levels: 9/10
  • Transportation Costs: 8/10
  • School Quality: 9/10
  • Safety and Crime Rates: 9/10
  • Amenities and Quality of Life: 8/10

Calwell excels in providing a balanced and affordable lifestyle, with housing costs that are competitive and a cost of living that ensures a comfortable standard of living. The suburb’s employment market is diverse, offering numerous opportunities across various sectors. Education is a priority, with schools in Calwell consistently performing above average. Safety and a sense of community are key highlights, with residents enjoying a secure and friendly environment. The suburb also offers excellent amenities, including parks, shopping centres, and community events.

Median prices for Calwell, ACT (2905), as of December 2023:

  • Houses – $782,500
  • Units – $623,000

House and unit data provided by, https://www.realestate.com.au/act/calwell-2905/

Calwell is particularly suited for families and professionals seeking an affordable, high-quality lifestyle in a suburb known for its community spirit and excellent amenities. It’s a top choice for those prioritising education, safety, and a vibrant community life.

1. Casey (Total Score: 90/100)

Casey emerges as the pinnacle of affordability in Canberra, offering an unmatched blend of value, quality, and community.

Scoring Criteria:

  • Median Housing Cost: 9/10
  • Rent Prices: 9/10
  • Cost of Living Index: 9/10
  • Property Taxes: 9/10
  • Employment Opportunities: 9/10
  • Income Levels: 9/10
  • Transportation Costs: 9/10
  • School Quality: 9/10
  • Safety and Crime Rates: 9/10
  • Amenities and Quality of Life: 9/10

Casey stands above the rest with its exceptional balance of affordable housing, low cost of living, and high median income levels. The suburb is a hub of employment opportunities, thanks in part to its strategic location and vibrant local economy. Education is a standout, with schools offering top-tier learning environments. Safety is a given, with Casey being one of the safest suburbs in Canberra, complemented by a wealth of amenities that cater to all ages and interests.

Median prices for Casey, ACT (2913), as of December 2023:

  • Houses – $809,000
  • Units – $631,000

House and unit data provided by, https://www.realestate.com.au/act/casey-2913/

Casey is the ultimate destination for couples, families, and professionals seeking the best in affordable living without compromising on quality or lifestyle. Its exceptional score across all criteria cements its position as the top choice for those looking to make Canberra their home.

How I scored each suburb

In this section, you’ll gain insight into the methodology used to score each suburb, providing a transparent look at the criteria that shaped the rankings.

Median Housing Cost

Median housing cost is a crucial indicator of a suburb’s affordability, reflecting the central value of home prices. It’s important because it gives potential residents an idea of the housing market’s accessibility. For a suburb to score 1 in this category, it would have to have exorbitantly high median housing costs, making it nearly inaccessible to the average buyer. An example of a suburb scoring 1 might be Yarralumla, where the high-profile residences push median prices up. Conversely, to score a 10, a suburb would need exceptionally affordable median housing costs, offering great value for buyers. For instance, Charnwood might score a 10, known for its more accessible housing market, yet not featured in the top 10 rankings.

Rent Prices

Rent prices measure the average cost of renting homes in a suburb. This criterion is vital for understanding the affordability for non-homeowners. Suburbs with prohibitively expensive rent, such as Kingston, could score a 1, indicating a challenging environment for renters. On the flip side, a suburb offering remarkably low rental prices, providing excellent affordability, like Page, could score a 10. This range helps to evaluate the suburb’s appeal to a broad audience, including young professionals and families not ready to purchase a home.

Cost of Living Index

The cost of living Index encompasses expenses such as groceries, utilities, and healthcare. It’s significant because it paints a picture of the day-to-day affordability beyond just housing. A suburb like Barton, known for its high living costs due to its premium location and amenities, might score a 1. In contrast, a suburb with a low cost of living, making everyday expenses more manageable, like Higgins, could score a 10. Such a suburb offers residents the ability to stretch their income further on essentials.

Property Taxes

Property taxes are indicative of the annual financial burden homeowners face relative to their property value. High property taxes can significantly impact affordability, making a suburb like Griffith score a 1 due to its higher rates. A suburb with minimal property taxes, enhancing its appeal to long-term residents, like Spence, could score a 10. Lower taxes contribute to the overall affordability and attractiveness of a suburb for homeowners.

Employment Opportunities

The availability and diversity of jobs affect a suburb’s score, reflecting its economic vitality and the potential for residents to find employment. A suburb with scarce employment options, such as Uriarra Village, might score a 1, indicating a challenging job market. Conversely, a suburb like Mitchell, with a bustling industrial area offering a variety of jobs, could score a 10. This criterion assesses the potential for economic growth and stability within the suburb.

Income Levels

Median household income provides context to the affordability and economic status of a suburb’s residents. A low median income, such as in Symonston, might result in a score of 1, suggesting that residents may struggle with the suburb’s cost of living. A high median income, indicating a wealthier population and potentially a more affordable lifestyle relative to earnings, like in Deakin, could score a 10.

Transportation Costs

This criterion evaluates the affordability and availability of public transport, including the necessity of owning a car. A suburb with high transportation costs and limited options, like Tharwa, could score a 1. In contrast, a suburb with comprehensive, affordable public transport options, reducing the reliance on private vehicles, like Watson, could score a 10.

School Quality

The performance of local schools is crucial for families, impacting a suburb’s score. Poorly performing schools might result in a suburb like Jacka scoring a 1. A suburb with exceptional schools, offering excellent educational opportunities, like Garran, could score a 10. High-quality education is a significant draw for families looking for a new home.

Safety and Crime Rates

Overall safety and low crime rates increase a suburb’s desirability and score. A suburb with high crime rates, affecting its residents’ sense of security, like Oaks Estate, might score a 1. A suburb known for its safety and community vigilance, like Fraser, could score a 10, making it a more attractive place to live.

Amenities and Quality of Life

Access to parks, cultural activities, and other amenities significantly impacts livability and, thus, a suburb’s score. A suburb with limited access to amenities, making it less desirable for active and fulfilling lifestyles, like Parkes, might score a 1. A suburb bustling with parks, recreational facilities, and cultural venues, offering a high quality of life, like Belconnen, could score a 10.

Research: A Blend of Data and Local Insights

The quest to identify Canberra’s most affordable suburbs was an intricate blend of data analysis and boots-on-the-ground insights. For the quantitative aspects, reliable databases such as the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) and real estate websites like Domain and Realestate.com.au provided a wealth of information on housing prices, rent averages, and income levels. These digital resources were instrumental in establishing a foundational understanding of each suburb’s economic landscape. However, recognizing the limitations of numbers alone, the research was enriched by local newspapers and community forums, which offered a pulse on the employment market, school performance, and upcoming infrastructure developments.

Venturing beyond the screen, firsthand experiences in the suburbs painted a vivid picture of daily life. Cafes like The Knox Made in Watson served not just excellent coffee but also conversations with locals about their experiences and perceptions of living costs and quality of life. Restaurants in suburbs like Casey, where the Casey Jones Gastropub is a hub of community activity, provided insights into the local social scene and the amenities available to residents. These spots were invaluable, offering a glimpse into the social side of each of the suburbs.

Local community centers, main streets, parks and public transport hubs were observed to gauge the vibrancy of each suburb and the efficiency of its transportation system. For example, the bustling atmosphere of the Gungahlin Marketplace in Amaroo contrasted with quieter, more laid-back settings, illustrating the diverse lifestyles across Canberra’s suburbs. These observations helped to assess the quality of life and accessibility that could complement the statistical data gathered.

Finally, engaging with real estate professionals and attending open houses gave depth to the research, offering updated insights into the property market’s dynamics and the nuances that influence a suburb’s affordability. It’s this combination of quantitative data, local wisdom, and personal exploration—from the serene parks in Banks to the lively streets of Gordon—that informed the rankings, ensuring they reflect both the economic realities and the lived experiences of Canberra’s diverse suburbs.

In conclusion

My comprehensive exploration of Canberra’s suburbs, guided by my in depth research and local insights, has revealed the most affordable places to call home. Here’s a summary of my suburb recommendations, ranked by their total scores out of 100, reflecting their affordability:

  1. Casey – Score (90/100) 
  2. Calwell – Score (87/100)
  3. Amaroo – Score (84/100)
  4. Gordon – Score (79/100)
  5. Banks – Score (77/100)
  6. Conder – Score (73/100)
  7. Dunlop – Score (70/100)
  8. MacGregor – Score (68/100)
  9. Ngunnawal – Score (65/100)
  10. Holt – Score (62/100)

Each suburb in Canberra offers its own unique set of advantages, catering to a diverse range of lifestyles and budgets. Casey, with its vibrant community life and plethora of amenities, is perfect for those seeking a balance between urban convenience and suburban lifestyle, while Holt provides a more modest yet comfortable option for those prioritising affordability without sacrificing quality of life. Whether you’re a young professional, a growing family, or in search of a peaceful retirement, Canberra’s suburbs have something to suit your needs, from the dynamic to the serene.

Navigating the property market in Canberra can be daunting, with so many factors to consider in finding the perfect home. This is where the expertise of a professional residential buyer’s agent can be invaluable. Offering personalised assistance and leveraging their deep knowledge of the local market, a buyer’s agent can simplify the process, helping you find a property that not only meets your specific needs and financial goals but also places you in one of Canberra’s most affordable and livable suburbs. Their support can turn the challenge of finding a new home into a smooth and enjoyable journey.

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