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

Identifying the most affordable suburb in Melbourne is akin to finding a needle in a haystack, given the city’s vast and varied landscape. Couples in Australia are increasingly challenged by rising property prices and the cost of living, alongside the desire for a quality lifestyle that doesn’t break the bank. Through meticulous research and consideration of 10 critical affordability criteria, this article aims to guide Australian couples on where they should consider moving, backed by comprehensive data and insights to make an informed decision.

10. Sunshine – Total Score: 65/100

Sunshine presents a beacon of affordability within Melbourne’s expanding suburbs.

Scoring Criteria:

  • Housing Costs: 8/10
  • Cost of Living: 6/10
  • Employment Opportunities: 5/10
  • Transportation and Commute: 7/10
  • Education: 6/10
  • Healthcare Facilities: 6/10
  • Safety and Crime Rates: 5/10
  • Community and Recreational Facilities: 7/10
  • Future Growth and Development Plans: 7/10
  • Environmental Quality: 8/10

Sunshine boasts significant advantages for those seeking affordability without compromising on lifestyle. With housing costs significantly lower than Melbourne’s inner suburbs, Sunshine offers great value for both renters and buyers. The suburb is witnessing infrastructure development, including upgrades to public transport and healthcare facilities, enhancing its appeal. For example, the recent completion of the Sunshine Super Hub is set to improve transportation options significantly, making it easier for residents to commute. The area’s schools are diverse and increasingly well-regarded, reflecting ongoing community investment. Recreational spaces and environmental initiatives have also seen a boost, with new parks and green initiatives improving the suburb’s livability.

Median prices for Sunshine, VIC (3020), as of December 2023:

  • Houses – $802,500
  • Units – $505,000

House and unit data provided by, https://www.realestate.com.au/vic/sunshine-3020/

Sunshine is suited for young couples and families looking for an affordable entry point into the property market, with its mix of accessibility, growing amenities, and community-focused development making it a promising choice for those willing to invest in its future growth.

9. Frankston – Total Score: 68/100

Frankston shines as a coastal gem offering affordability and lifestyle in equal measure.

Scoring Criteria:

  • Housing Costs: 7/10
  • Cost of Living: 7/10
  • Employment Opportunities: 6/10
  • Transportation and Commute: 7/10
  • Education: 7/10
  • Healthcare Facilities: 7/10
  • Safety and Crime Rates: 6/10
  • Community and Recreational Facilities: 8/10
  • Future Growth and Development Plans: 6/10
  • Environmental Quality: 7/10

Frankston is often lauded for its balanced approach to suburban living, combining seaside appeal with urban amenities. The suburb’s housing market offers competitive prices, allowing for seaside living without the premium price tag often found in coastal areas. Its schools and healthcare facilities are robust, providing quality education and medical care. The area’s commitment to community and recreational facilities, including its famous beaches, parks, and arts scene, underscores its value proposition. Recent upgrades to the Frankston railway line and the continuous improvement of local infrastructure, like the redevelopment of the Frankston Hospital, highlight the suburb’s growth trajectory and commitment to enhancing resident quality of life.

Median prices for Frankston, VIC (3199), as of December 2023:

  • Houses – $730,000
  • Units – $470,000

House and unit data provided by, https://www.realestate.com.au/vic/frankston-3199/

Ideal for couples and families desiring a lifestyle that blends urban convenience with natural beauty, Frankston’s evolving landscape and affordable living conditions make it a standout choice for those seeking value and quality of life by the sea.

8. Coburg – Total Score: 71/100

Coburg, with its rich history and vibrant community, offers an affordable urban lifestyle.

Scoring Criteria:

  • Housing Costs: 6/10
  • Cost of Living: 7/10
  • Employment Opportunities: 7/10
  • Transportation and Commute: 8/10
  • Education: 7/10
  • Healthcare Facilities: 7/10
  • Safety and Crime Rates: 6/10
  • Community and Recreational Facilities: 8/10
  • Future Growth and Development Plans: 8/10
  • Environmental Quality: 7/10

Coburg stands out for its cultural diversity and community spirit, supported by a wide range of affordable housing options. The suburb’s connectivity, highlighted by excellent tram, train, and bus services, facilitates easy access to Melbourne’s CBD and surrounding areas. Education and healthcare services in Coburg are commendable, with numerous schools and medical facilities serving the community’s needs. The suburb is also known for its green spaces, markets, and local festivals, which foster a strong sense of community. Recent urban renewal projects and the development of new residential zones have further enhanced its appeal, providing modern amenities while preserving its unique character.

Median prices for Coburg, VIC (3058), as of December 2023:

  • Houses – $1,180,000
  • Units – $520,000

House and unit data provided by, https://www.realestate.com.au/vic/coburg-3058/

Coburg is best suited for individuals and families who value a close-knit community atmosphere, cultural diversity, and the convenience of city living without the central Melbourne price tag, making it an attractive option for those seeking an engaging urban experience.

7. Werribee – Total Score: 72/100

Werribee combines affordable living with rich cultural heritage and natural attractions.

Scoring Criteria:

  • Housing Costs: 8/10
  • Cost of Living: 7/10
  • Employment Opportunities: 6/10
  • Transportation and Commute: 7/10
  • Education: 7/10
  • Healthcare Facilities: 7/10
  • Safety and Crime Rates: 6/10
  • Community and Recreational Facilities: 8/10
  • Future Growth and Development Plans: 8/10
  • Environmental Quality: 8/10

In Werribee, the allure of affordable housing is matched by the suburb’s commitment to community and environmental stewardship. Its proximity to both Melbourne’s CBD and natural wonders, like the Werribee Open Range Zoo and the Werribee Mansion, offers a unique lifestyle. The suburb is experiencing growth in employment opportunities, particularly in the health and education sectors, with significant investments such as the expansion of the Werribee Mercy Hospital. The area’s schools are well-regarded, and there’s a strong focus on sustainable living and green spaces, enhancing its appeal for families and environmentally conscious residents.

Median prices for Werribee, VIC (3030), as of December 2023:

  • Houses – $615,000
  • Units – $420,000

House and unit data provided by, https://www.realestate.com.au/vic/werribee-3030/

Werribee is an excellent choice for those seeking a balance between urban amenities and natural beauty, offering a lifestyle that is both enriching and affordable, particularly for families and professionals working in the growing local industries.

6. Melton – Total Score: 74/100

Melton offers a serene and affordable lifestyle away from the city’s hustle and bustle.

Scoring Criteria:

  • Housing Costs: 9/10
  • Cost of Living: 8/10
  • Employment Opportunities: 6/10
  • Transportation and Commute: 6/10
  • Education: 7/10
  • Healthcare Facilities: 7/10
  • Safety and Crime Rates: 6/10
  • Community and Recreational Facilities: 8/10
  • Future Growth and Development Plans: 8/10
  • Environmental Quality: 9/10

Melton is characterised by its affordable housing market, making it an attractive option for first-time homebuyers and families looking for value. The suburb prides itself on a strong sense of community, bolstered by extensive recreational facilities and events that cater to a diverse population. Education and healthcare services are accessible and of good quality, supporting the needs of its growing population. Environmental initiatives and the development of green spaces have been a focus, aiming to improve the quality of life for residents. With plans for further infrastructure development, Melton is poised for continued growth, making it a smart choice for those looking to establish roots in a community-focused environment.

Median prices for Melton, VIC (3337), as of December 2023:

  • Houses – $475,000
  • Units – $370,500

House and unit data provided by, https://www.realestate.com.au/vic/melton-3337/

Melton is particularly suited to young families and individuals seeking an affordable entry into the housing market, with its combination of low living costs, community amenities, and future growth potential making it an appealing choice for a long-term home.

5. Cranbourne – Total Score: 76/100

Cranbourne, with its blend of urban convenience and natural beauty, offers an affordable lifestyle choice.

Scoring Criteria:

  • Housing Costs: 8/10
  • Cost of Living: 7/10
  • Employment Opportunities: 7/10
  • Transportation and Commute: 7/10
  • Education: 8/10
  • Healthcare Facilities: 8/10
  • Safety and Crime Rates: 6/10
  • Community and Recreational Facilities: 8/10
  • Future Growth and Development Plans: 9/10
  • Environmental Quality: 8/10

Cranbourne stands out for its strategic location, offering both the peacefulness of nature and the convenience of urban living. Affordable housing options are plentiful, catering to a range of preferences and budgets. The suburb is well-served by public transport, making it accessible to Melbourne’s CBD and surrounding areas. It boasts excellent educational and healthcare facilities, contributing to its appeal for families. The presence of the Cranbourne Botanic Gardens and numerous parks underscores its commitment to environmental quality and outdoor living. With ongoing development projects aimed at enhancing community infrastructure, Cranbourne is becoming increasingly attractive to those seeking a balanced and affordable lifestyle.

Median prices for Cranbourne, VIC (3977), as of December 2023:

  • Houses – $652,000
  • Units – $370,500

House and unit data provided by, https://www.realestate.com.au/vic/cranbourne-3977/

Ideal for families and professionals alike, Cranbourne’s mix of affordability, accessibility, and quality amenities make it a compelling option for those looking for a suburban retreat that doesn’t sacrifice convenience or lifestyle quality.

4. Pakenham – Total Score: 78/100

Pakenham offers a fresh perspective on suburban living, blending affordability with a vibrant community spirit.

Scoring Criteria:

  • Housing Costs: 8/10
  • Cost of Living: 8/10
  • Employment Opportunities: 7/10
  • Transportation and Commute: 8/10
  • Education: 8/10
  • Healthcare Facilities: 8/10
  • Safety and Crime Rates: 7/10
  • Community and Recreational Facilities: 8/10
  • Future Growth and Development Plans: 8/10
  • Environmental Quality: 8/10

Pakenham’s allure lies in its combination of affordable housing and comprehensive community amenities. The suburb has become a favoured destination for families and young professionals, offering a variety of housing options that provide excellent value. Its schools and healthcare facilities are of high quality, ensuring that residents’ educational and medical needs are well met. The area is known for its community engagement and recreational opportunities, including parks, sports facilities, and cultural events, fostering a strong sense of belonging. The planned expansion of transport links and ongoing development projects are set to further enhance its attractiveness, making Pakenham an increasingly popular choice for those seeking an affordable, well-rounded suburban lifestyle.

Median prices for Pakenham, VIC (3810), as of December 2023:

  • Houses – $640,000
  • Units – $480,000

House and unit data provided by, https://www.realestate.com.au/vic/pakenham-3810/

Pakenham is ideally suited for those who prioritise community, affordability, and the opportunity to be part of a growing suburb with a bright future, making it an excellent choice for families and individuals looking to put down roots in a dynamic and welcoming environment.

3. Dandenong – Total Score: 81/100

Dandenong combines diversity and affordability, offering a rich, multicultural urban experience.

Scoring Criteria:

  • Housing Costs: 7/10
  • Cost of Living: 8/10
  • Employment Opportunities: 9/10
  • Transportation and Commute: 8/10
  • Education: 8/10
  • Healthcare Facilities: 9/10
  • Safety and Crime Rates: 7/10
  • Community and Recreational Facilities: 9/10
  • Future Growth and Development Plans: 8/10
  • Environmental Quality: 8/10

Dandenong is notable for its vibrant multicultural community, affordable living costs, and robust employment opportunities, particularly in the manufacturing and retail sectors. The suburb boasts excellent public transport connectivity, making it an accessible choice for commuters. Its educational and healthcare facilities are among the best in the region, catering to a diverse population. The Dandenong Market and cultural festivals celebrate the suburb’s rich cultural tapestry, enhancing its appeal as a dynamic place to live. Ongoing urban renewal initiatives and infrastructure improvements are set to boost its livability and economic prospects further.

Median prices for Dandenong, VIC (3175), as of December 2023:

  • Houses – $691,500
  • Units – $400,000

House and unit data provided by, https://www.realestate.com.au/vic/dandenong-3175/

Dandenong is a perfect match for individuals and families looking for a suburb that offers economic diversity, cultural richness, and affordable living, making it an attractive option for those who value community and connectivity.

2. Reservoir – Total Score: 83/100

Reservoir stands as a testament to affordable living, offering a balanced urban experience with a touch of suburban tranquillity.

Scoring Criteria:

  • Housing Costs: 8/10
  • Cost of Living: 9/10
  • Employment Opportunities: 8/10
  • Transportation and Commute: 8/10
  • Education: 8/10
  • Healthcare Facilities: 8/10
  • Safety and Crime Rates: 8/10
  • Community and Recreational Facilities: 9/10
  • Future Growth and Development Plans: 9/10
  • Environmental Quality: 8/10

Reservoir appeals to those seeking affordability without compromising on the quality of urban life. Its diverse housing market caters to a wide range of preferences, from modern apartments to traditional homes, all at competitive prices. The suburb’s transport network is efficient, offering easy access to Melbourne’s CBD and surrounding areas. Educational and healthcare services in Reservoir are comprehensive, ensuring residents have access to excellent facilities. The area’s parks, lakes, and community centers provide ample recreational opportunities, contributing to its high livability score. With significant investments in local infrastructure and development projects, Reservoir is poised for further growth, enhancing its appeal as a desirable place to live.

Median prices for Reservoir, VIC (3073), as of December 2023:

  • Houses – $859,000
  • Units – $603,999

House and unit data provided by, https://www.realestate.com.au/vic/reservoir-3073/

Reservoir is ideally suited for couples and families who value a community-oriented lifestyle, offering a blend of affordability, accessibility, and quality amenities that make it a prime choice for those seeking the best of suburban living in Melbourne.

1. Thomastown – Total Score: 86/100

Thomastown emerges as the pinnacle of affordability in Melbourne, offering an unbeatable combination of value, amenities, and community spirit.

Scoring Criteria:

  • Housing Costs: 9/10
  • Cost of Living: 8/10
  • Employment Opportunities: 8/10
  • Transportation and Commute: 9/10
  • Education: 9/10
  • Healthcare Facilities: 8/10
  • Safety and Crime Rates: 8/10
  • Community and Recreational Facilities: 9/10
  • Future Growth and Development Plans: 9/10
  • Environmental Quality: 9/10

Thomastown is distinguished by its exceptional affordability, particularly in the housing market, making it an attractive option for first-time buyers and young families. The suburb offers excellent connectivity to Melbourne’s CBD and surrounding areas, courtesy of its comprehensive public transport system. Its educational institutions and healthcare services are of high quality, ensuring that residents’ needs are met without compromise. Thomastown’s community is tight-knit, with numerous parks, community centers, and local events fostering a strong sense of belonging. The suburb’s commitment to growth and development is evident in its ongoing infrastructure and residential projects, promising a bright future for its residents.

Median prices for Thomastown, VIC (3074), as of December 2023:

  • Houses – $685,000
  • Units – $470,000

House and unit data provided by, https://www.realestate.com.au/vic/thomastown-3074/

Thomastown is the ideal suburb for those seeking the ultimate in affordability, community, and connectivity, making it the top choice for couples and families wanting to establish a comfortable, fulfilling life in Melbourne’s vibrant landscape.

How I scored each suburb

In this section, you’ll discover the methodology behind how each suburb was evaluated and scored, providing insight into the criteria deemed essential for determining the most affordable suburbs in Melbourne.

Housing Costs

Housing Costs refer to the median prices for both buying and renting homes within a suburb. This criterion is crucial as it directly impacts the affordability of living in an area, particularly for first-time homebuyers or those looking for cost-effective rental options. To score a 1 on this criterion, a suburb would have to exhibit exceptionally high median housing prices, making it largely inaccessible to the average buyer or renter. An example of a suburb scoring 1 could be Toorak, known for its luxury housing and high property costs. Conversely, to score a 10, a suburb must offer significantly lower median housing prices, providing excellent value for buyers and renters alike. Melton can serve as an example of a suburb scoring 10, offering affordable housing options well below the city average.

Cost of Living

Cost of Living encompasses the expenses associated with daily life, excluding housing—such as groceries, utilities, transportation, and healthcare. This metric is fundamental because, even with affordable housing, high living costs can strain budgets. A suburb scoring 1 on this criterion would feature exorbitant living expenses, making it challenging for residents to maintain a comfortable lifestyle. For instance, Brighton might score a 1 due to its high-priced amenities and services. A suburb scoring 10 would have comparatively low living costs, allowing residents to enjoy a higher standard of living without excessive spending. Sunshine could be an example of a suburb scoring 10, known for its reasonable prices across essential services and goods.

Employment Opportunities

Employment Opportunities gauge the availability and variety of jobs within or near a suburb, influencing residents’ ability to find work that matches their skills and aspirations. This criterion is vital for ensuring that residents can secure employment without long commutes. A suburb scoring 1 would have limited job opportunities, requiring residents to travel significant distances for work, such as Doreen. On the other hand, a suburb scoring 10 would boast a thriving job market or proximity to employment hubs, offering abundant opportunities. Dandenong, with its diverse industrial and commercial sectors, could exemplify a suburb scoring 10.

Transportation and Commute

Transportation and Commute assess the efficiency and accessibility of public transport options, as well as the ease of commuting to major employment centers. This criterion is important for determining the practicality of living in a suburb, especially for those working in or frequently visiting the city center. A suburb scoring 1 would suffer from poor public transport links and long commute times, such as Pakenham. Conversely, a suburb scoring 10 would offer excellent public transport services and short commutes, enhancing residents’ quality of life. Coburg could serve as an example here, with its robust transport network providing easy access to Melbourne’s CBD.

Education

Education looks at the quality and accessibility of educational institutions within the suburb, from pre-K through high school. This criterion is essential for families, impacting their decision on where to live based on the schooling options available. A suburb scoring 1 would have limited educational facilities or schools with poor performance metrics, like Broadmeadows. In contrast, a suburb scoring 10 would feature a range of high-quality educational institutions, offering excellent opportunities for student development. For instance, Berwick, with its well-regarded schools, could exemplify a suburb scoring 10.

Healthcare Facilities

Healthcare Facilities evaluate the availability and quality of medical services within the suburb, including hospitals, clinics, and specialist services. This criterion is crucial for all residents, particularly families and the elderly, ensuring access to necessary medical care. A suburb scoring 1 would have scarce healthcare resources, forcing residents to seek medical services elsewhere, such as in Baxter. A suburb scoring 10 would boast comprehensive medical facilities, minimising the need for residents to travel for healthcare. For example, Frankston, with its large hospital and range of specialist services, could represent a suburb scoring 10.

Safety and Crime Rates

Safety and Crime Rates consider the suburb’s overall safety, factoring in crime statistics and residents’ perceptions of security. This criterion significantly affects the desirability of living in a suburb, especially for families. A suburb scoring 1 would have high crime rates, affecting residents’ sense of safety, such as in Braybrook. Alternatively, a suburb scoring 10 would be characterised by low crime rates and a strong sense of community safety, like in Eltham, known for its safe, family-friendly environment.

Community and Recreational Facilities

Community and Recreational Facilities assess the availability and quality of parks, sports facilities, community centers, and entertainment options. This criterion enhances the livability and attractiveness of a suburb, promoting a healthy and active lifestyle. A suburb scoring 1 would offer few to no recreational options, limiting residents’ opportunities for leisure and community engagement, such as in Dallas. A suburb scoring 10 would provide a wide range of high-quality recreational and community facilities, like in Point Cook, renowned for its parks, community centers, and recreational offerings.

Future Growth and Development Plans

Future Growth and Development Plans gauge the suburb’s potential for future improvement and development, influencing its long-term desirability and property values. A suburb scoring 1 would have little to no planned developments, potentially stagnating in growth, such as in Coolaroo. In contrast, a suburb scoring 10 would have ambitious and well-structured development plans, promising significant enhancements to the quality of life and infrastructure, like in Epping, where ongoing development projects indicate a bright future.

Environmental Quality

Environmental Quality measures the suburb’s commitment to sustainability and green living, including air quality, green spaces, and environmental initiatives. This criterion is increasingly important for residents who value a healthy and sustainable lifestyle. A suburb scoring 1 would have poor environmental quality, perhaps due to industrial pollution or lack of green spaces, such as in Laverton. A suburb scoring 10 would be a leader in environmental sustainability, with ample green spaces and clean air, like in Warrandyte, celebrated for its natural beauty and commitment to environmental preservation.

My Research: Merging Data with Community Insights

The journey to compile a list of Melbourne’s most affordable suburbs was not merely a dive into spreadsheets and housing data; it was a comprehensive exploration that combined the richness of numerical data with the vibrancy of local insights. Utilising a variety of sources, from real estate websites like Domain and Realestate.com.au, which provided invaluable housing cost statistics and trends, to government and local council websites offering detailed information on development plans and community facilities, the research was exhaustive. These platforms laid the groundwork for understanding the quantitative aspects of each suburb’s affordability and potential for growth. This approach ensures that the recommendations are not only grounded in data but enriched with the flavours, sounds, and stories of the communities that define each suburb, offering readers a guide that resonates with the real essence of living in Melbourne.

But the heart of this research lay in the qualitative, the personal experiences gathered from visiting these suburbs, engaging with their communities, and observing the daily rhythms of life. Cafes like The Jolly Miller in Sunshine, with its warm, inviting atmosphere and bustling morning crowd, offered glimpses into the suburb’s community spirit. In Dandenong, the multicultural tapestry was vividly on display at the bustling Dandenong Market, where the array of languages spoken and the diversity of goods sold painted a picture of a vibrant, inclusive community. 

Local newspapers and community bulletins were also instrumental, offering insights into the suburbs’ safety, upcoming local projects, and community events that statistics alone could not provide. Articles in the ‘Star News‘ for areas like Pakenham and Cranbourne highlighted local achievements and concerns, enriching the research with a layer of community engagement and sentiment that was indispensable. Websites and forums dedicated to local discussions, such as Reddit, Instagram and Facebook threads specific to Melbourne suburbs, offered unfiltered, resident-driven perspectives on the nuances of living in each area, from complaints about traffic congestion to rave reviews of local schools.

Finally, delving into the insights about Melbourne’s suburbs unveils a vibrant mosaic of community life, from the tranquil afternoons in Thomastown’s serene parks to the lively, family-friendly festivals in Reservoir, illustrating the dynamic nature of these areas. The multicultural vibrancy of Coburg’s ‘Sydney Road’, with its bustling markets and creative energy, alongside Frankston’s tranquil beachfront and annual cultural exhibitions, highlights the diverse lifestyles within reach. Cranbourne’s expansive green spaces, particularly the Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria, offers a haven for nature enthusiasts. These insights shaped my feedback into each of the suburbs, listed in my recommendation list.

In conclusion

My exploration into Melbourne’s most affordable suburbs has uncovered a diverse range of options that cater to a variety of lifestyles, preferences, and needs, all while prioritising affordability. Here’s a summary of the suburb recommendations I’ve discovered, along with their total scores:

  1. Thomastown – Total Score (86/100)
  2. Reservoir – Total Score (83/100)
  3. Dandenong – Total Score (81/100)
  4. Pakenham – Total Score (78/100)
  5. Cranbourne – Total Score (76/100)
  6. Melton – Total Score (74/100)
  7. Werribee – Total Score (72/100)
  8. Coburg – Total Score (71/100)
  9. Frankston – Total Score (68/100)
  10. Sunshine – Total Score (65/100)

Each suburb offers its unique blend of affordability, amenities, community spirit, and growth potential, making Melbourne a city of opportunities for those seeking a balance between cost and quality of life. Whether it’s the cultural diversity of Dandenong, the coastal charm of Frankston, or the tight-knit community of Thomastown, there’s a suburb to meet the expectations and dreams of every couple looking to call Melbourne home.

The market demand in Melbourne’s suburbs significantly influences property prices and rental rates. Suburbs like Thomastown and Reservoir, with their improving infrastructure and community amenities, showcase how growing demand can signal potential for future value appreciation, providing a strategic buying opportunity for those prioritising affordability.

For those embarking on this significant journey to find a new home in one of these suburbs, remember, navigating the property market can be complex and overwhelming. Utilising the expertise of a buyer’s agent can significantly ease this process. A professional residential buyer’s agent can provide invaluable assistance in finding a property that fits your criteria, negotiating the best price, and navigating the legalities of purchasing a home. They act as your advocate, ensuring that your path to homeownership in Melbourne is as smooth and successful as possible.

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