Where To Live in Melbourne: East, West or North?

Last updated on January 25th, 2024

When moving to Melbourne, Victoria, one of the biggest problems is to shortlist a suburb. Where to live? Luckily it’s a very big area to choose from and most of the suburbs are safe, clean and worth considering. 

But asking locals can sometimes send you down a rabbit hole of confusion because everybody loves where THEY live. The thing is that their lifestyle and budget may not be the same as yours.

As with everything, there are priorities.  Most of my clients list these three:

  • Schooling for the children
  • Safe neighbourhood
  • Easy access to the office

Those are fine, but there are other things to consider and even prioritise alongside this.

  • What do you and your family do outside of work/school?  
  • Practically, what can you afford? No more than 30% of your salary should be your guide.
  • What is a comfortable commute time and how will you commute?

Most importantly, I want to point out that you pay for lifestyle. Rental prices can be easily checked and gauged online, but that is looking at the brick and mortar house. It is not the lifestyle outside the door, the convenience of walking to a local café, butcher or baker.  The safety and close proxmitiy of children walking to school or to their tennis lesson. 

When looking at rentals online, we can become greedy and excited about a 5 bedroom home that is cheapest, “look how much more I can get here!”

If rental prices in an area are high, it is a reflection of local infrastructure and quality of life and vice versa. The closer you are to public transport, or to the beach trails or to the city access, the more expensive the rent.

Remember: you can only see the house, not the lifestyle. Be careful; get the right advice that suits you and your family now and in the future.

It is about compromise! 

If you prefer the lifestyle, then compromise on the size of the home. Find something smaller that is in an environment you prefer.

Which is better: East, West or North Melbourne?

When answering these questions about Melbourne, we come to the great debate of where to live: East, West or North?

So I have chosen four suburbs to represent these areas:

  • North: Craigieburn
  • South Southeast: Sandringham
  • West: Point Cook
  • East: Glen Waverley

I am by no means biased towards any of these suburbs; they’re included because they are each 30kms from the Melbourne CBD, which is, on average where the majority of our clients want to be. For ease, I have navigated from the suburb train station because public transport is major consideration, and I needed a similar central point for each suburb.

I am presenting facts so please don’t shoot the messenger. Again, I say it is about balancing your priorties and comprimises. It is also about what you are used to and how you want to continue forward. There is no judging here. I have settled many families across all of these areas.

For ease of comparison, I have chosen FAQ that I receive about people priorities, i.e

  • Schools
  • Transport options
  • Travel time into Melbourne CBD
  • Crime and safety
  • Gym
  • Medical infrastructure
  • Rent

Disclaimer: While we make sure all information found herein is true at the time of writing, there may be errors or omissions. Please do your own research to verify.

West

Point cook
  • 8 State School - Primary
  • 3 State School - Secondary
  • Station name: Williams Landing Train station
  • Bus: 5 Bus lines & 1 night bus
  • Travel time to Melbourne CBD: (Car) 40 minutes to 1hr20 mins on M1; (Train and tram): 1hr 17 min with bus (497) then train (46 min) and tram
  • Crime Incidences (2021): 12,706
  • Medical infrastructure: 14 (2 hospitals)
  • Gym: 7
  • Avg rental price (3-BR house): $395

East

Glen Waverley
  • 18 State School - Primary
  • 6 State School - Secondary
  • Station name: Glen Waverley Train station
  • Bus: 10 Bus lines, 1 night bus & 1 smart bus
  • Travel time to Melbourne CBD: (Car): M1 Typically 30- 1h05 (Train): 42 minutes in Melb Central station
  • Crime Incidences (2021): 9,572
  • Medical infrastructure: 20 (3 hospitals)
  • Gym: 12
  • Avg rental price (3-BR house): $500

SSE

Sandringham
  • 9 State School - Primary
  • 4 State School - Secondary
  • Station name: Sandringham Train station
  • Bus: 4 buses all going to the main bus interchange to link the rest of Melbourne
  • Travel time to Melbourne CBD: (Car): 28 min to 1h5 min (There are a number of routes on offer) (Train): 36 minutes
  • Crime Incidences (2021): 3,827
  • Medical infrastructure: 12 (2 hospitals)
  • Gym: 12
  • Avg rental price (3-BR house): $862

North

Craigieburn
  • 6 State School - Primary
  • 4 State School - Secondary
  • Station name: Craigieburn Train station
  • Bus: 8 buslines
  • Travel time to Melbourne CBD: (Car): 40 min to 1hr15 (Train): 41 minutes
  • Crime Incidences (2021): 15,479
  • Medical infrastructure: 6 (1 hospital)
  • Gym: 5
  • Avg rental price (3-BR house): $400

Additional notes of interest to help you

Primary schools around Point Cook

25% of the state primary schools have “above average” rankings. 37.5% are ranked “average”. The others are below average.

Seabrook Primary:

  • 981 Students, with 36% not speaking English at home.
  • 71 Teaching staff
  • Consistent Above and Well above average scores for the last 5 years
  • Average parent contribution for schooling is $452/student
  • Top Quarter ICSEA value; 47% Lowest quarter 9%

Altona Meadows Primary:

  • 337 Students, 49% do not speak English at home
  • 27 Teaching staff
  • Mostly average scores in the last 5 years, with some below average in 2018 
  • Top Quarter ICSEA value 25%; Lowest ICSEA quarter is 40%

Primary schools around Glen Waverley

33.33% of the state primary schools are ranked “above average” most others are “average”. I could only find 1 school with “below average” ranking.

Glen Waverley Primary:

  • 907 Students, 5% do not speak English at home
  • 64 Teaching staff
  • “Above and Well Above” averages for the last 5 years.
  • Top Quarter ICSEA value 62%; Lowest ICSEA  2%

Highvale Primary:

  • 334 Students, 23% do not speak English at home
  • 26 Teaching staff
  • School is consistently “Well above average” and “above Average” in results for the last 5 years.
  • Top Quarter ICSEA value 58%; Lowest Quarter ICSEA value 5%

Primary schools around Sandringham

Sandringham is on the coastline, so it has 50% LESS land around it to compare schools etc.

Sandringham Primary was a victim of arson attack, their results are “average” and “below average” as the students were spread out in make shift structures. The school has reopened this year.

44.44% of the state primary schools have “above average” raking. Most others are “average”, this gives you a wide rental market to choose from if you wish to be in a good school zone.

Sandringham Primary:

  • 449 Students, 12% do not speak English at home
  • 38 Teaching staff
  • Top Quarter ICSEA value 66%; Lowest ICSEA  2%

Sandringham East Primary:

  • 532 Students, 23% do not speak English at home
  • 38 Teaching staff
  • Top Quarter ICSEA value 58%; Lowest ICSEA  3%

Primary schools around Craigieburn

50% of the schools were ranked “average while others are “below average” or “well below average”.

Craigieburn Primary:

  • 836 Students, 38% do not speak English at home
  • 65 Teaching staff
  • Top Quarter ICSEA value 25%; Lowest ICSEA  33%

Schools can be a determining factor when deciding where to live.  This document is a very small snapshot of what is available to you.

Victoria has more than 1500 Government schools, almost 500 catholic schools and over 200 independent schools (private, non-denominational schools with religious associations).

If you need help deciding on an area then book a consultation with me to assess your needs and help you narrow down this important decision.

Personnel Relocations’ personal support and local insights will help you with the key information you need to make an informed decision.  Australia offers a very high level of education with many different pathways. This can be confusing. Talk to us about what is important to your family, and what school aligns with your values.

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