How to find accommodation in Melbourne

accommodation in Melbourne
Updated 2023-05-14 12:06

Accommodation in Melbourne can be expensive, both for renters and buyers but with a bit of research, you can end up with something that works for you. Consistently ranked as one of the most livable cities in the world, prepare yourself for a bit of competition when looking for a place to live because lots of other people want to move to Melbourne, too!

Melbourne is the second largest city in Australia, located in the southeastern part of the country, and is the capital of Victoria. It is known for its great food, nightlife and art scene and is often described as being similar to European cities in terms of its cultural offerings and lively urban atmosphere.

Melbourne's neighborhoods

Ideally, you should visit your potential neighborhood in advance so that you can get a feel for what will suit you. Melbourne has lots of different neighborhoods, and they all offer something slightly different, so the best research you can do is to get out there and wander around. However, this isn't always possible, and some of us have to base these decisions on research. As an expat trying to decide where to live in Melbourne, it's important to consider factors such as proximity to work, public transportation, and amenities like restaurants, cafes, and shops. If you have a family, considering the nearby schools and greenspace will also be very important. Be prepared for some neighborhoods in Melbourne to be very high-end, but don't give up your search if you can't afford a place in South Yarra – there are lots of other areas that have much more affordable rents. Here are some of the most popular neighborhoods in Melbourne to help you narrow down your search:

  • The CBD is the heart of Melbourne, and it's a great option for those who want to be in the thick of things. If you're single and with a reasonable income, it's exciting to be in the central hub for business, shopping, dining, and entertainment.
  • South Yarra is an upscale neighborhood located just south of the CBD. It's known for its fashion boutiques, cafes, and nightlife, and it's a popular destination for young professionals and childless couples. However, housing in South Yarra can be very expensive.
  • St Kilda is a cool beachside suburb located about 6 kilometers south of the CBD. It's known for its vibrant nightlife, a buzzy mix of shops and cafes, and its iconic Luna Park amusement park. It's a popular destination for young creative types, and it's also home to a large LGBTQ community.
  • Fitzroy is a bohemian neighborhood located just north of the CBD. It's known for its street art, vintage shops, and lively music scene and is a popular destination for artists, musicians, and students. Housing in Fitzroy can be relatively affordable compared to some other inner-city neighborhoods.
  • Carlton is a diverse neighborhood located just north of the CBD. It's home to Melbourne University and RMIT, so it's popular with students and academics. It's also known for its Italian heritage and has a thriving food and wine scene. Housing in Carlton can be relatively affordable, and it's well-connected in terms of public transport.
  • Richmond is a popular suburb located about 3 kilometers southeast of the CBD. It's known for its thriving nightlife, yummy restaurants, and easy access to the MCG (Melbourne Cricket Ground). It's also well-connected to public transportation, making it a popular option for young professionals and families who work right in the city but can't afford to live there.
  • Prahran is a trendy neighborhood located about 5 kilometers southeast of the CBD. Think streets sprinkled with fashion boutiques and specialty stores. It's also home to Chapel Street shopping street, as well as a number of hip bars, clubs, and restaurants. As you might expect, housing in Prahran tends to be pretty expensive.

Flat sharing in Melbourne

A flatshare can be a great way to save money if you are a backpacker, student, or simply looking for a good way to meet people in Melbourne. Flat sharing allows you to share your apartment and the costs with another person or persons. The conditions of flat sharing in Melbourne can vary, meaning there are opportunities for both short and long-term stays and how many people you can share with. Flat sharing can also be easier when looking for a place to live as it is a less formal process and generally doesn't rely on references or queuing for an inspection. The decision is usually made by the occupants in the house and allows you to get a good idea of the expectations and people you will be sharing with. Good flatshare websites in Melbourne include Flatmates and Gumtree.

The Melbourne rental market

In 2023, rental prices in nearly all of Australia's major cities increased slightly, with Melbourne copping the biggest increase in apartment rents (4.2%). Online tools are usually all you need to find available listings –,,,, and will help you find available listings. Word of mouth is also a great way to find places to stay in Melbourne, so put the word out to your social network, in Facebook groups, or on notice boards and see if you find anything that way. This can be a great way to avoid the hassle of competitive viewings.

However, most people do end up using public viewings to find a place. If possible, try to view rental properties within office hours, e.g., between 9 am and 5 pm. These are usually quieter times and allow you to build a rapport with the agent. Attach a cover letter to your application. This doesn't need to be long and extensive – a simple introduction of who you are and what you do is fine, but this will allow you to stand out amongst the other applicants.

Rent in Australia is generally paid once a month by bank transfer or third party, which can easily be set up as a direct deposit. Usually, when you sign a lease to rent a property in Melbourne, you will need to pay one month's rent and a security deposit (bond) upfront, which you will get back when you leave. Leases generally run for six months to a year, but you can sometimes negotiate longer or shorter durations.

Flats in Melbourne can be found both furnished or unfurnished and may or may not include appliances such as a washing machine, dryer, or refrigerator, so it is always good to double-check this before signing a contract. It is also good to check if pets are allowed, as many landlords in Australia do not allow cats and dogs.

Landlords don't usually include the water costs as part of your rent (if you are in an apartment), but tenants are responsible for electricity, gas, and internet/cable costs. If any damages are done to the property, the tenant may be responsible and lose their bond, so it is important to let your rental agency or landlord know if anything goes wrong.

Bond lodgement is done through the RBTA, an independent body that protects both landlords and renters. If there is anything suspicious or confusing about your rental situation, you can always contact Consumer Affairs – their website offers excellent guidance on rental protocols and renters' rights.

Short-term rental options in Melbourne

Short-term rental options in Melbourne are plentiful (if you know where to look!) and can be a great solution for those who are waiting for their ideal long-term housing to become available. One option is to consider Airbnb hosts who offer month-long stays, which can be more flexible than traditional short-term rentals. You can even approach Airbnb hosts who do not advertise this option on their listing with the proposal of a longer stay.

Another feasible option to consider is house swapping, which involves exchanging homes with someone else for a predetermined duration. This can be a cost-effective means to experience a different area while enjoying the comforts of a home away from home. Websites like HomeExchange and Love Home Swap provide a platform that facilitates house swaps and can assist in connecting you with other homeowners in Melbourne interested in exchanging homes.

Subletting is another option. Websites like Gumtree and Craigslist are popular platforms for subletting, as are Facebook groups.

Student accommodation in Melbourne

Melbourne is home to many international students, and there are plenty of options when it comes to student accommodation. One popular choice for international students is on-campus accommodation. Most universities in Melbourne offer student dormitories or residential colleges that provide students with a safe and supportive environment to live in while studying. These accommodations are usually within walking distance of campus facilities, making them a convenient choice for students who want to be close to their classes and activities. However, they may lack the excitement and cultural experience of flatting with locals.

Off-campus options for student accommodation in Melbourne include shared houses and apartments, homestays, and purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA). Shared houses and apartments are a great option for students who want to live with others and share the cost of rent and bills. Homestays offer students the opportunity to live with a local family and experience the culture of Melbourne firsthand.

When it comes to budgeting for student accommodation in Melbourne, it is important to factor in other expenses like groceries, utilities, and transportation. Some accommodation options may include these expenses in the rental price, while others may require students to pay for them separately. Do your research and seek advice from your university's international student advisor before deciding.

Buying property in Melbourne

Property data analysts have declared that the housing price downturn in Melbourne is over, with the market now at its bottom. It's predicted that the return of overseas migrants to the city will help bolster prices and get the market cranking up again as the year proceeds. Based on current data, it's expected that in 2023, the median house price in Melbourne will be AUD 836,809, and the median unit price will be AUD 719,400. This may be a great time to buy; while there is a dip in the prices, growth is on the horizon. However, the property market can be changeable, so we encourage prospective buyers to do their research, hire an excellent real estate agent, and take their time understanding the market.

If you want to buy a house or an apartment in Melbourne, some restrictions may apply if you are not a permanent resident in Australia. Temporary residents can purchase one property for their sole residential use but are not allowed to purchase an investment property. However, this may depend on your visa type. After permanent residency is obtained, you will have way more possibilities in terms of investment properties. To know more about the regulations regarding the purchase of real estate, please visit the Foreign Investment Review Board website.

We do our best to provide accurate and up to date information. However, if you have noticed any inaccuracies in this article, please let us know in the comments section below.