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Where are Australia’s greenest suburbs?

By Kyrenia Blanshard
By Nerida Conisbee, Chief Economist

Brisbane now has the most Greens in federal parliament and to match this, it also has the most green foliage. A fascinating study by aerial imagery company Nearmap has recently looked from above to see which capital cities have the greenest populated suburbs. Brisbane tops the list with almost 80 per cent of residents living in suburbs with more than 20 per cent tree coverage, while Hobart comes in second with 71 per cent.

Living in suburbs with a lot of trees is good for your health and these benefits have been quantified. A study by researchers from the University of Chicago found that by adding 10 more trees to a block, health perception is improved in a way that’s comparable to being seven years younger. While I can’t promise you that moving to Brisbane or Hobart will give you eternal youth, living with trees is not only good for your health but is also environmentally more sustainable. Greater tree coverage reduces urban heat and improves air quality.

Olinda in Melbourne’s outer east has more than 70 per cent tree coverage making it the leafiest suburb in an Australian capital city. It’s also a suburb that wasn’t that expensive 10 years ago (with a median less than $500,000) but has become so now (median at $1.16 million). While price growth is driven in part by Olinda’s leafiness, the pandemic also helped it along. The suburb is 52kms east of Melbourne so is quite a commute if you work in the city. Changes to the way people work has likely made Olinda even more popular.

Sheldon is 25kms south-east of Brisbane and is mainly bushland but also includes some acreage residential properties. With 66 per cent tree coverage, it isn’t just a place that humans like living in but also koalas. There’s significant koala habitat across four major reserves in the suburb. With so many trees, koalas and big blocks, Sheldon isn’t a cheap place to live with a median of $1.45 million, more than double the median for the surrounding area. It’s also become much more expensive over the past six years, with the median doubling during this time.

With more than 60 per cent tree coverage, Crafers West in the Adelaide Hills is Adelaide’s most leafy suburb. The suburb contains not only a lot of trees but a fair few luxury homes on acreages, as well as more standard suburban sized blocks. It’s also relatively affordable with a median of just under $790,000. It may be one of the more undiscovered capital city leafy suburbs having experienced relatively moderate price growth compared to that experienced by inner Adelaide suburbs over the past 12 months.

No surprises that Sydney’s leafiest suburb is located in the leafy Blue Mountains. Topping the list for tree coverage in our biggest city is the suburb of Warimoo, 68kms west of Sydney CBD.  ome to not only lots of trees, Warimoo also has a number of creeks, rare animals and contains a popular bushwalking track, the Florabella Pass. By Sydney standards, Warimoo is affordable with a median of $830,000 however it’s had a 20 per cent increase over the past 12 months.

Perth may score low overall for leafiness however the town of Mundaring in the Perth Hills is an exception. Mundaring has 50 per cent tree coverage and is not only enjoyed by residents and tourists to the area but is also listed as an Important Bird Area because of the large number of long billed black cockatoos that live there. Although leafy, Mundaring is quite far from Perth and as a result is relatively affordable with a median of $655,000.

Sandford is located on the edge of Hobart on the South Arm Peninsula. It consists mainly of bushland and acreage properties. It has the highest tree coverage of any Hobart suburb and also contains a lot of beaches. Sandford is an expensive suburb with a median close to $1 million and has seen very strong price growth over the past five years. The suburb has become particularly popular through the pandemic as it’s provided what people have wanted over this time – large properties, beaches, bushland, lots of space and is within commuting distance to a capital city.

Aranda was the first suburb to be settled in Belconnen and the developers had the foresight to maintain a large proportion of the native eucalyptus trees. It’s also bounded on two sides by nature parks with lots of walking tracks and mountain biking possible through the Aranda Bushland Nature Reserve. As a result, this suburb has the highest tree coverage in the capital. Aranda isn’t a cheap suburb with a median close to $1.3 million and has seen significant growth in value through the pandemic. Leafiness is part of the explanation for this but it’s also because the suburb is highly liveable with lots of community amenities.

Ludmilla is an inner northern suburb of Darwin. Not only is it the leafiest suburb in Darwin, but it’s also well supplied with cafes, near beaches and the CBD. It’s therefore not surprisingly a highly desirable place to live, rated in the top 10 best Darwin suburbs by real estate portal, Homely. The suburb has a median of $750,000 but has seen very strong price growth over the past 12 months, with the median jumping by 50 per cent.

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