The next-best-thing to the Inner West that can save you a couple of hundred thousand dollars along the way.

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Summary: The winds of change are slowly blowing on Canterbury, an older suburb now seeing multiple helpings of newer, modernised elements creep in. If you’re put off by the prices of the Inner West, yet not wanting to sacrifice much in the way of distance or location from the Sydney CBD, Canterbury is a solid fall-back option that doesn’t differ too much in the way of quality of life.

Its mix of location, connectivity and quantity of green spaces is exceptional for the price, while it’s also largely safe and peaceful outside of its main road-adjacent spots. At surface level, it could do with a fair bit of extra polish and maintenance and makes the suburb look “cheaper” in many spots than it actually is; that and its issues with traffic are its two main black marks. All of this otherwise makes for a good quality “sleeper” suburb that’s a decent spot to both live and invest, particularly with upcoming infrastructure projects on the horizon.

Suburb Ratings:

Public Transport

Affordability (Rental)

Affordability (Buying)

Things to See/Do


Pet Friendliness

Key stats

Region: Western Suburbs

Population: 7,250

Postcode: 2193

Ethnic Breakdown: Chinese 13.3%, English 10.6%, Australian 10.5%, Greek 7.7%, Irish 4.7%

Time to CBD (Public Transport): 25 minutes

Time to CBD (Driving): 20 minutes

Nearest Train Station: Canterbury

Highlights/attractions: Multiple parklands, Canterbury Park Racecourse

Ideal for: Families, small families, retirees, professionals

Median property prices: House – $1,300,000; Apartment – $640,000

Median rental prices (per week): House – $600; Apartment – $500

Prices of the Inner West in Sydney got you depressed? Fear not, as there are an increasing quantity of secondary “ring” suburbs that have become far more viable in recent years, with Canterbury being a prime example of one of these.

Canterbury NSW

Perception-wise, Canterbury has always suffered in name recognition from its “Bankstown association” by virtue of being in the same local government area as one of the city’s renowned crime hotspots. This has stuck even though they’re really hardly alike, and physically located around 10km away from one another.

Canterbury itself is safer, quieter and quite a lot greener – if less amenity-rich and slightly less well connected – compared to Bankstown, while offering a generally more comfortable and less-hectic quality of life overall.

Canterbury houses

Geographically, Canterbury sits on what is basically the “fringe” of Sydney’s Inner West and Western Suburbs and – as we said with Campsie – combines some elements of both. It’s more balanced and less Eastern demographically than Campsie however, and while many of its original Greek inhabitants have since moved elsewhere, lingering remnants of their influence still remain.

This halfway-point aspect gives it a location which is reasonably central, and quite convenient overall. Its train station doesn’t see the greatest quantity of services, yet they still arrive every 15 minutes or so and provide connectivity into the Sydney CBD with a travel time of around 20 minutes.

For reference, this is comparable to the likes of Croydon in the Inner West and eminently doable as a commute for those who work in the city.

Canterbury homes

In terms of layout, the suburb is largely clusters of older, low-lying, freestanding residential homes dissected and fringed by two main arterial roads and split down the middle by the waters of the Cooks River.

On top of this, it’s then had a new, ultra-modern hub of accommodation and small-scale retail “plonked in” alongside its train station.

Canterbury apartments

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It’s a bit of a harsh juxtaposition design and atmosphere-wise, with the new blocks of high-density mid-rise apartments looking a bit out of place, but has brought with it some extra additional services and amenities that the suburb was in need of along the way.

This includes a Woolworths, chemist, bottle shops and medical centre along with a number of new little modern restaurants and cafes which is a bit of a breath of fresh air for a part of the suburb that still feels a little rundown in places.

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Canterbury shops

Most of this is centered around its main thoroughfare of Canterbury Road – a massively busy through-road that provides east-west access on through to the city and elsewhere.

It’s noisy and packed with traffic, and Canterbury’s slice of it is fringed by multiple rundown old or closed storefronts with the odd fair chunk of graffiti or peeling paint.

Canterbury graffiti

It’s not the most visually appealing thing in the world, although there are a couple of little local restaurants for dining and takeaway purposes while the occasional cafe has popped up as well.

An ALDI can also be found here which is quite a boon for a suburb of this size, and the rest of the strip along here is mostly mixed industrial services such as auto repair and services and other warehouse-style businesses.

Canterbury ALDI

On the western edge of Canterbury Road, its highway strip is home to some more mid-size apartment blocks and a mix of car dealers, fast food and the odd local kebab joint or burger store. As a whole it’s a decent if unspectacular suburb amenity-wise with most needs catered for.

Canterbury Road

It’s not a nightlife or entertainment hotspot, but the mix of sporting facilities combined with the presence of the likes of the Canterbury Hotel, its Leisure Centre and ice skating rink, and the occasional back-street cafe keeps things interesting enough.

Canterbury Leisure Centre

Campsie is just one stop away for greater Asian dining options, and both Ashfield‘s and Burwood’s large shopping centres are only a relatively short distance by car.

Elsewhere, Canterbury punches well above its weight in terms of public green spaces. Proportional to its amount of residents, there’s a huge array of parkland throughout ranging from decent little corner reserves through to full-blown parks and ovals.

Canterbury Park

Sporting amenities in particular are great, with ovals offering athletic tracks, parks with full-sized basketball courts in good condition, and its Canterbury Park Racecourse a signature event space as well.

Canterbury Race course

Add in more purely-scenic spots like the cute St. Mary Mckillop Reserve along the water, and it boasts one of the best ratios of pure green-area-to-geographic-size of any suburb in inner Sydney in terms of pure nature.

Canterbury Reserve

It’s the maintenance of that nature that is the sticking point, however, and reflective of Canterbury’s main issue as a whole.

Many of these spaces are a bit neglected, with a bunch of litter throughout, graffiti in multiple locations, broken signposts sitting on the ground, or unkempt lawns and bushes.

It carries through to elsewhere in the suburb in terms of a lack of presentation overall – and this is purely on the back of local authorities, and not its residents.

Canterbury other park

The suburb in general just needs more love and TLC; most of the houses here and their lawns are well kept and maintained by their owners, for example, yet the streets and amenities surrounding them are not.

It’s surprising Canterbury’s residents aren’t in more of an uproar against local council to keep things up to a higher standard, as it’s likely dragging down property values as a result.

Canterbury’s streetscape is otherwise quite good. Its residential streets are quite wide and green, home to not only the standard older brown-brick and fibro single-story homes but many with some historic dashes of Greek flair as well.

Canterbury house

There’s the occasional newer build popping up, but most of them are Federation style on large blocks and with spacious gardens; there’s quite a good amount of living space on offer here.

Some of these are especially large, particularly as you head over towards the Clemton Park side to the south.

Canterbury mansions

The historic element of the suburb also adds a bit of extra charm to what would be otherwise pretty standard mid-tier residential streets.

Some historic heritage sandstone buildings and churches, and even the Canterbury Public School grounds give it more character than most blander, newer suburbs.

Canterbury Heritage

Combined with a handful of cheaper, older low-rise unit blocks, and there’s pretty solid housing diversity to cater to a wide range of income levels and life stages for those living here – especially when factoring the new “modern” mini-district near Canterbury Station.

While long-term residents may not like it, it’s provided another layer of housing options for those content with high-density living and looking for somewhere with all the new fittings and design.

Canterbury units

For families, Canterbury is likewise very solid. It’s home to two standard public schools as well as both boys and girls-specific options, with childcare and younger education services available in neighbouring suburbs not too far away.

Its aforementioned green spaces are a major plus for playing outside with the kids, as well.

Canterbury schools

In terms of safety, Canterbury ranks around mid-tier statistically and is mostly not much to worry about.

There are still some issues, but on a per-capita basis it’s safer than “brand” name suburbs such as Balmain, Paddington, and Drummoyne for comparison, and doesn’t deserve a “dodgy” reputation it may have from elsewhere in its LGA.

“Canterbury should definitely be on your “suburbs you should consider” list; don’t let past misconceptions or the Court of Public Opinion tell you otherwise.”

Price-wise for property, Canterbury sits right around the average for greater Sydney.

Freestanding homes hover around the $1.3 million Sydney median, although you’re typically getting a lot more house for that type than you would just a couple of suburbs over to the north-east.

Canterbury older units

Its new glut of apartments has opened up more affordable options; buy prices of between $600k-$650k for 2 bedrooms are doable, while dropping $500 per week on rent gives you a pretty well-priced place to call home while enjoying an easy and stress-free commute into the city.

Combine both of these, and you end up with one of the better-value suburbs of its ilk relative to its location in Sydney. It’s not a “bargain”, but very solid for the price overall for buyers and renters alike.

The Verdict

It’s a shame that some of the shallower, surface-level image problems of Canterbury continue to linger and go unaddressed, as fundamentally there’s nothing wrong with the suburb – in fact, it’s got a ton of strong points.

It scores a huge win in terms of green spaces, it’s got good schooling options, it’s safe enough, and it’s receiving new little additions all the time in terms of dining and shopping. If it were better maintained as a whole, it would likely be seen as much more desirable and simply “feel” better as a whole.

This is where people who are turned off by prices just slightly closer to the city could instead look to be putting their money; all the indicators are that this is a great spot to buy a freestanding house due to a position that also looks prime for upcoming gentrification. This includes its being earmarked as part of the upcoming Metro project that will see a bunch of further construction take place – which will bring some unfortunate short-term pain in the name of long-term gain.

Roomy homes for the price and solid public transport connectivity are also obvious benefits, while drivers may – as with many suburbs close-ish to the city – be frustrated with the traffic and driving situation in return. It’s not going to be appealing for the younger crowd in search of night-time entertainment, with families and more established couples a better-suited demographic for life here.

For city workers and families of reasonable but not ridiculous means, Canterbury should definitely be on your “suburbs you should consider” list; don’t let past misconceptions or the Court of Public Opinion tell you otherwise.

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