The Best Places To Live In And Around Christchurch

Moving to Christchurch? Our detailed guide will help you choose the best neighborhood that suits your needs and budget.

Home to stunning wildlife, soothing thermal pools, and innovative design, Christchurch is an explorer’s paradise. And for those planning to settle and build a life here, Christchurch offers many options to satisfy everyone’s needs.

At the heart of it, Christchurch is a town of promise – it is sure to impress you with its unexpected combination of a refreshing city center and glorious natural life.

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Here’s a quick glance at Christchurch’s best suburbs and what they offer. 

1. Merivale – a luxurious suburban lifestyle 

A place oozing with character, Merivale is a residential area located north of the city center.

With a sprawling mall that houses boutique shops, cafes, and bars, as well as stunning neighborhood parks, Merivale has plenty to offer its residents. It is safe, clean, and great for enjoying city life from time to time.

It boasts of some terrific pre-schools and primary schools, making it an ideal location for a family.

The area smells of affluence, with its median rent price for a two-bedroom house standing at $487 and median house value at 1.4 million NZD. 

2. St. Albans – an old-world charm 

Situated west of Merivale, St. Albans is one of the largest suburbs of Christchurch. This suburb was significantly hit after the 2011 Christchurch earthquakes. However, it is surely and strongly getting back on its feet.

St. Albans is a popular suburb with renters (median rent around $480).

As for home buyers, St. Albans is among the more reasonably priced suburbs in Christchurch, with a median house value of around 800,000 NZD.

It’s ideal for young couples looking for a budget-friendly place to stay while enjoying a more eventful lifestyle in the nearby city on the weekends.

It also has a number of parks, including the English Park, a famous soccer stadium for those who enjoy a good ol’ game of footy. 

3. Sumner – a big splash of coastal living

Believed to be one of the oldest European settlements in Christchurch, Sumner is the suburb to settle in if you relish the feeling of salt in your hair, sand on your feet, and a beautiful blue horizon in your eyes.

If you enjoy a laid-back lifestyle in a charming coastal town that comes alive in the summer, Sumner is the place to be.

By the way, the beach isn’t the only thing on offer at Sumner. You can make every day an adventure by hiking in its many reserves and taking advantage of its sporting facilities like horse riding and, of course, surfing.

It’s perfect for a family or retirees looking to spend quiet time with nature.

For those looking to buy property, its median house value stands at 1 million NZD; it was recently ranked as one of the top 10 suburbs in Christchurch, which had the fastest-growing house price in the last 22 years. 

4. Riccarton – something for everyone

Offering character homes, affordable units as well as tasteful townhouses, Riccarton is the perfect melting pot of people on all types of budgets.

Superb for young professionals, with its cafes, bars, and inner-city convenience, it’s also appealing to families, who are attracted by the presence of good schools for their young ones.

Additionally, Riccarton is home to the famous Hagley Oval, where all the cricketing action happens, as well as to the University of Canterbury, an institute offering world-class courses to its students.

Truly, Riccarton has something for everyone. With so much to offer, its house prices are reasonably placed, with the median house value around NZD 700,000. 

5. Ilam – for the young and the young at heart

Ilam should be on top of your mind if you aspire to be one of the many ambitious people who wish to breathe life into the University of Canterbury.

Riccarton’s neighbor, Ilam is brimming with student banter, pizzas, and lots of partying. It’s a fitting place to live if you are in Christchurch to take your academic or professional life to the next level.

However, few people realize that Ilam is much more than a student center.

Located close to the city, it also has a number of attractions like cafes and restaurants that would appeal to young professionals as well as retirees.

With students forming the majority, affordability is the motto of Ilam. It has plenty of options for student accommodation: median rent for boarding is $198, a single room at $212, and a two-bedroom flat at $450. 

6. Fendalton – affluence abound

Lush and vibrant, Fendalton is an extremely desirable suburb in Christchurch. Located close to Riccarton, the area hosts grand heritage houses, perfect for people looking to invest substantially in their forever homes.

It’s ideal for couples or retirees looking to spend their time in the presence of majestic streets and swanky homes.

The median house price for Fendalton currently is at 1.6 million NZD, whereas rent for a two-bedroom house is $490.

If Fendalton sounds like the area for you, be sure to make Mona Vale your second home – with historic buildings, vibrant gardens, and luscious lawns, visiting Mona Vale would surely become a highlight of your time during your princely life in Fendalton. 

7. Cashmere – a hotspot of action & affordability

Dubbed the most-searched suburb for prospective home-buyers in April 2022, Cashmere is an idyllic hilly area located at the southern end of the city center.

Cashmere has the best of both worlds – from historic buildings to quality retail shops. It’s the place to live for people who wish to enjoy moments of quiet without being too far away from the sparkling city life.

With breathtaking properties priced at around 1 million NZD and the median rent for a two-bedroom house at $480, what’s not to love about this charming suburb? 

8. Woolston – revitalized & energetic 

Seeped in the history of the wool trade in the South Island, Woolston today is a bustling trade center, with the Heathcote River connecting the industrial past with a community-centric, residential present.

What was once a gritty trade-heavy area, Woolston has reinvented itself into an attractive place for people in search of a personality in their choice of a suburb.

Places like The Tannery, which opened during the rehabilitation efforts post the devastating 2011 earthquake, have shocked new life into Woolston with plenty of bars, restaurants, and retail complexes on offer.

The suburb is one of the more affordable ones in Christchurch, with the median rent for a two-bedroom house at $440 and the median house price sitting at under $600,000 NZD. 

The best places to live in Christchurch – summary

Christchurch’s affordable living, the balance of the bustle with natural beauty, plenty of recreational activities, and, above all, its people make it an extraordinary place to live. Being the third largest city in New Zealand doesn’t stop it from being the one with the biggest heart.

So, what are you waiting for? Move to New Zealand and be a part of Garden City. 

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Sanskriti Bhardwaj
Sanskriti Bhardwaj

Sanskriti is a part-time writer and full-time appreciator of the written word. An Indian expat living in New Zealand, she guides primary school students to develop literacy, empathy and critical thinking as an educator. She loves dancing, reading fiction and pursuing all types of DIY projects.
You can reach her at and connect with her on LinkedIn. 

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