Perth boasts an idyllic climate, modern infrastructure and strong job market making it an attractive prospect for potential expats. In fact, this beautiful city regularly tops the list of the world’s most popular expat destinations. Deciding to move to Perth may be an easy decision, but working out where in Perth to live may be a little more difficult. Our guide on where to live in Perth will not only run through some of the more popular suburbs, but also help you find the area that is right for you and your family.
Knowing What to Look For
With so many fantastic suburbs to choose from, keeping your shortlist short may be tricky. Knowing what to look for is key to narrowing your search. Here are five crucial questions to help you identify exactly which suburbs are just right for you.
Why Are You Moving to Perth?
You may be moving to Perth to take up an exciting new job or simply to improve your family’s quality of life, it is important to consider why you moving when deciding where to live. If you are hoping to enjoy the better climate and spend more quality time with friends and family, the coastal suburbs surrounded by parks and beaches are ideal. If you are chasing an exciting new job opportunity in the city and want to enjoy the buzz of urban life, central Perth could be perfect for you.
Where Will You Be Working?
One of the most obvious factors influencing your decision regarding where to live in Perth is where you will be working. Of course, you do not have to move extremely close to your new place of work, but if you are not used to a long commute, you probably won’t want to travel for hours every day when you’ve got an exciting new destination to explore. The best way to determine which of the best suburbs are easily accessible is to talk to your soon-to-be colleagues and find out where they live, or where they would like to live. Some first-hand local knowledge is invaluable in helping make this important decision.
What is Your Budget?
While the most sought after suburbs are undeniably appealing, many of the most idyllic spots come with a hefty price tag. When deciding where to live in Perth, research house prices early on in your investigations to avoid setting your heart on an unaffordable suburb. Likewise, you may be pleasantly surprised by what you can you can afford in even the most beautiful, well-connected suburbs. Websites such as realestate.com.au are an excellent source of information and will soon have you clued up about what you can afford and where.
Who Else Will You Be Living With?
If, like thousands of expats, you are moving to Australia with a family, you must of course consider their needs when deciding where to live in Perth. The most immediate consideration is where your partner and children will work or study and how they will travel there. It is also important to consider what you and your family enjoy doing in your free time and what you want from your new neighbourhood. Would you rather be closer to parks and beaches or the best restaurants and shops? Is there a local group for your children’s favourite sport? Are there plenty of other couples and families of a similar age? These are all essential questions to ask to ensure your family are as happy as you in your new home.
What is Your Long Term Plan?
Whether or not you have a clear idea of how long you will be living in Australia, you need to consider the future when deciding which suburb to move to. It is possible, with permission from the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB), for almost any expat living and working and Australia to buy a house. Some short-term visa holders will, however, have to pay a higher deposit (up to 20%). If you don’t want the hassle and commitment of a mortgage, there are plenty of rental options that may be best for first-time new arrivals. This could affect which suburbs you look at as it may narrow down potential homes in a particular area.
Where to Live in Perth: Top Five Perth Suburbs
This riverside suburb boasts the idyllic combination of wide-open spaces and proximity to the city centre. There are stunning mansions with views over the Swan River and more affordable cottages to the south of the suburb. It’s ideal for families and has plenty of parkland to explore, including the Heathcote Reserve with spectacular city views and an enchanting pirate themed play area. There is a popular shopping village with a tempting selection of high-end shops and well-loved restaurants. Applecross is also just seven kilometres from central Perth, perfect for professional families looking to stay close to the urban buzz of the city.
If you are looking forward spending as much free time as possible on the beach, Cottesloe is the suburb for you. Its beach is widely regarded as the best in Perth and an unbeatable place to swim, surf or simply relax. Situated on the coast west of the city, Cottesloe is a laid back suburb with close-knit, friendly community. Despite its relaxed, beachside atmosphere, Cottesloe has plenty of fantastic shops and cafes to keep you busy on cooler days. There are good schools and a wide variety of housing options from period cottages to modern mansions. This desirable lifestyle of course comes at a cost and housing can be pricier than other Perth suburbs, however for many this beautiful beachside destination is worth every dollar.
If you think Perth is all new-build houses and modern shopping centres, Fremantle will confound all expectations. Seeped in colonial and maritime history, this suburb to the west of Perth has a unique character and atmosphere which attracts families, singles and creatives alike. The main high street is an eclectic mix of artisan coffee houses, independent shops and family run restaurants and pubs. There is still a working port receiving goods from across the Indian Ocean, many of which you can find in the bustling market every Friday, Saturday and Sunday. There are some beautiful Victorian townhouses and cottages but also many modern developments with family units and apartments that are a little more affordable. It is around 30 minutes from the city centre, but feels like a separate town in its own right.
Mount Helena is a fresh, clean, green suburb located in the hills around 35 km inland from Perth. There is a small shopping area and lots of parks, playgrounds and sports facilities to keep you and your family on your toes. It is ideal for families looking to raise their children in a quiet, friendly suburb away from the hustle and bustle of the city. House prices are also a little cheaper than some of the more central suburbs with plenty of family sized plots available.
Just north of the city centre, Mount Lawley is the alternative, hipster capital of Western Australia. There are weekly music gigs, great record shops and one of the hippest watering holes in Perth, the Flying Scotsman. Beaufort Street attracts shoppers from all over the city with its varied selection of unique, independent retailers. Just 10 minutes from downtown Perth, Mount Lawley is an understandably sought after suburb. The wide variety of housing, however, means you could just be able to find a home to suit your taste and budget. This district is also home to Perth College, one of the most prestigious girl’s schools in WA, perfect if you’re moving to Perth with a daughter.
For further advice on where to live in Perth, have a look at our destination guide for more information: Moving to Perth.