Melbourne at a Glance
Living in MelbourneiStockphoto
The quality of life in Melbourne is very high, and the city by the Yarra River attracts plenty of foreign residents.
As we have already mentioned in our article on moving to Melbourne, living in Melbourne and its metropolitan area offers the advantages of a multi-cultural population and a high quality of life. Expats can enjoy the city’s many green spaces, as well as plenty of leisure opportunities and a busy event calendar.
History enthusiasts can explore the local heritage and various aspects of Melbourne’s past at the Melbourne Museum or on a walk dedicated to Victoria’s indigenous culture. Expatriates with kids, on the other hand, will be glad to hear that most children living in Melbourne are fans of the city’s aquarium and zoo. A visit to the Polly Woodside, a 19th-century tall ship, is also a highlight for lots of families.
Moreover, the city’s event schedule caters to both various demographic groups and a wide range of interests. To cite but a few: the Chinese and Vietnamese residents living in Melbourne celebrate their New Year at Yarra’s Victoria Street Lunar Festival, while the Hispanic inhabitants of the area organize the Johnson Street Fiesta. And the LGBT pride march in Port Phillip is definitely a fixture of queer life in Melbourne.
If you are planning on living in Melbourne, you might want to mark a few dates in your diary. Sports fans are able to watch a tennis match at the Australian Open. Movie buffs could attend a screening at the Melbourne International Film Festival – and hope that native stars such as Cate Blanchett pay their hometown a visit. Music lovers have several opportunities to go to free open-air concerts in the park during the summer months, and the Spring Fashion Week is of interest to every expatriate fashionista living in Melbourne.
Obviously, in order to enjoy the advantages of living in Melbourne, foreign residents need to go house hunting first. Expats usually opt for two common strategies for finding a new home in Melbourne.
If your schedule and financial resources allow it, you can go on a fact-finding trip and secure a house or apartment then. Alternatively, you can stay in temporary accommodation upon your arrival and look for a home during the first few weeks of your expat life. In both cases, you will be confronted with a fast-moving property market, a veritable housing boom, and fairly high rents. Unfortunately, living in Melbourne does come at a price!
If you prefer temporary accommodation, you should, however, book it in advance. Prices for a serviced apartment in Melbourne cost at least AUS 125-140 per night. Expats on a budget sometimes choose a tourist option: living in Melbourne’s caravan parks starts at AUS 95 a night. These types of accommodation can be booked via Visit Victoria. Temporary flatshares are advertised in local papers, like The Age or The Herald Sun.
Finding a New Home
Melbourne’s newspapers – as cited above – are also a good starting point for finding regular housing in the metropolitan area. Other ways and means include online portals (e.g. realestate.com.au, realestateview.com.au or domain.com.au) and asking a real estate agent for help. If your new employer or friends can’t recommend an agent, try searching the database of the Real Estate Institute of Victoria.
The most common type of housing in Melbourne is a terraced-style building. You can rent an entire house, or it may be subdivided into several apartments. The rent depends on the neighborhood (“suburb”) where you live. In June 2012, the median rent in metropolitan Melbourne was AUS 350 per week, with a weekly AUS 380 for three-bedroom housing and an average AUS 300 for one-bedroom flats. The rent index does not apply to fully furnished rooms, though.
Once you have found your ideal accommodation for living in Melbourne, do not hesitate to make your interest clear. Competition is fierce, and real estate agents do not only expect potential tenants to make personal appointments. In some cases, you may also need to hand in written applications or references.