17 Best And Worst Suburbs in Christchurch [2024 Guide]

Are you moving to Christchurch? If so, picking the right neighbourhood is critical not only for your quality of life but also for your safety, monthly expenses, children’s education, overall infrastructure, amenities and community. As anywhere else, Christchurch has its good, less good and bad areas.

Good suburbs in Christchurch:

  1. Cashmere
  2. CBD – City Center
  3. Sumner
  4. Halswell
  5. Lincoln
  6. St. Albans
  7. Merivale
  8. Fendalton
  9. Riccarton
  10. Wigram

Bad suburbs in Christchurch:

  1. Linwood
  2. New Brighton
  3. Aranui
  4. Opawa
  5. Addington
  6. Phillipstown
  7. CBD

As a new Christchurch local, I will give you an overview of the best and worst areas to live in this city. I personally have been to most of these suburbs or know people who lived there. Hope after reading this article you can choose a suitable area for you to move in.

Also read: Pros and cons of living in Christchurch.

Which areas of Christchurch are bad or dangerous?

Christchurch is the largest and whitest city on the South Island. Many tourists land in Christchurch to take on an adventurous trip, usually towards the mountains. Yet, many Internationals also relocate to the city due to the wide range of jobs and study options.

Christchurch is an ideal place for professionals, families, students, and retirees, thanks to its access to recreational activities and nature. So, you can expect a wide range of people in this city, some of which might cause trouble.

Folks in the lower social class live in less expensive neighbourhoods, which then, in return, makes them less prosperous and somewhat dangerous. People in these areas are just living their lives, and crime rates are still low in Christchurch; hence, you shouldn’t be overly worried. So, if we are speaking of bad and good areas to live in, it’s more about the reputation and people you are surrounded with.

Some areas are known to have a bad reputation, and locals will tell you not to move there. We will talk about them in this article.

Is Christchurch unsafe or dangerous for visitors and people living there? Generally, you don’t have to worry about your safety here, as it’s a very safe city. There aren’t areas or suburbs where your life will be threatened.

Also read: Pros and cons of living in Christchurch.

Best areas of Christchurch for living

1. Cashmere

If you are dreaming of living on the hills, Cashmere might be the best option out there. Cashmere is located in the south and overlooks the city. It’s one of the oldest suburbs, is known for its affluent residents, and is considered to be one of the wealthiest areas in Christchurch. Cashmere has always had a bohemian reputation, even in the 1890s.

If you can’t find a suitable place, several neighbouring suburbs are similar to Cashmere, including Westmorland, Huntsbury Hill and Hillsborough. Keep in mind that most houses in the area suffered some damage in the February 2011 earthquake.

The current population of Cashmere is approximately 3,202 people as of official estimates.

Market rent in Cashmere in the time range from 01 Apr 2023 – 30 Sep 2023 is $590 per week. The upper price is $750 per week, and the lower is $405 per week. The median house price in Cashmere is $954K as of November 2023.

Cashmere is very family-friendly, in fact, it’s one of the best places to raise a family. Rent and house prices are significantly higher than in other parts of the city, making it less accessible for a lower-paid social class.

2. CBD – City Center

If you are a young person and keen on going out regularly, CBD is a great option. It’s where most clubs, bars and restaurants are. You can walk from one place to another easily and perhaps can even save on a commute to work.

CBD is also great for newcomers and internationals coming to Christchurch for a short period of time. Rents in CBD are also often cheaper, and you can find a fully-furnished place, which is pretty rare in New Zealand.

Market rent in the City Center in the time range from 01 Apr 2023 – 30 Sep 2023 is $485 per week. The upper price is $550 per week, and the lower is $410 per week. The median house price in the City Center is $620K as of November 2023.

3. Sumner

Are you dreaming of a summer vacation? Sumner is a paradise on earth located just 15-20 minutes drive from CBD. Sumner is also the name of the beach in the area. The suburb has many natural attractions, so you can feel almost like you are on vacation while still in the city. In fact, Sumner has been a popular resort for city dwellers since 1888.

Sumner, also called a Sumner village, has everything from cafés, bars and restaurants to even a cinema. If you are missing some amenities, jump into the car or hop onto the bus to reach the neighbouring Ferrymead suburb.

The area that was highly affected by the earthquake, especially Clifton, suffered from landslips, perhaps something to keep in mind.

How much does it cost to live in Sumner? Market rent in Sumner in the time range from 01 Apr 2023 – 30 Sep 2023 is $560 per week. The upper price is $715 per week, and the lower is $490 per week. The median house price in Sumner is $1.02M as of November 2023.

4. Halswell

Image credit: Stuff.co.nz

Halswell is a residential suburb in the southwest of Christchurch. It’s located in a flat area and is one of the fastest-growing suburbs. In the past, Halswell was a separate village on the highway to Akaroa on Banks Peninsula. Today, Halswell is one of the best suburbs to own a subdivision and a house. Many homes have a disproportionately larger land compared to other districts. It feels a bit like a farmland.

Market rent in Halswell in the time range from 01 Apr 2023 – 30 Sep 2023 is $580 per week. The average house value in Halswell is $827,000K as of November 2023.

5. Lincoln

Lincoln isn’t a suburb but another city in itself, located on the south of Christchurch in Selwyn District. It’s known for a Lincoln University, however many students reside within Christchurch. With a population of 10,250, it’s the second largest town in the Selwyn District after nearby Rolleston.

The big pro for Lincoln is that most homes were constructed between 2010 – 2019. So, the chance of renting or buying a property unaffected by the earthquake is high. Besides, out of all houses, 17% are lifestyle properties. Indeed, Lincoln offers a great lifestyle surrounded by a safe environment, land fields, an affluent community and families.

Lastly, Lincoln and Selwyn District is known to be the whitest areas in New Zealand, populated mainly by Kiwi Europeans. If ethnicity is an important factor for you, then I would highly recommend this area for living.

Market rent in Lincoln in the time range from 01 Apr 2023 – 30 Sep 2023 is $620 per week. The upper price is $675 per week, and the lower is $528 per week. The median house price in Lincoln is $810K as of November 2023.

6. St. Albans

With a population of 13,620, St Albans is the second-largest suburb in Christchurch and one of the most diverse, vibrant neighbourhoods. Originally a working-class settlement, it lies between Merivale and Richmond – two well-off suburbs of the city. Overall, it’s a good area for most people, e.g. families, young professionals, and students. Hence, you will see a mixed bag of residents living there.

The suburb itself is also pretty colourful, with a mix of modern, old and heritage homes, townhouses and apartments. There is an excellent choice of nature parks and sports facilities, shops, cafes, and other local businesses.

St Albans is bordered by Merivale to the west, Strowan to the northwest, Papanui to the north, Mairehau to the northeast, Edgeware to the east, and the Christchurch City Centre to the south. It’s a very beneficial location if you are working in the city center.

The suburb was badly hit in the February 2011 earthquake, with much liquefaction and building damage, resulting in the demolition of houses and shops.

Market rent in St Albans in the time range from 01 Apr 2023 – 30 Sep 2023 is $500 per week. The upper price is $600 per week, and the lower is $420 per week. The median house price in St Albans is $730k as of November 2023.

7. Merivale

Merivale is known to be one of Christchurch’s fanciest and most affluent suburbs. The population of this central neighbourhood is 5,210 as of June 2022. Merivale is located close to the above-mentioned St Albans suburb.

It’s a quiet residential area with relatively old but stylish houses. Overall, Merivale is very similar to St Albans and suitable for all, e.g. families, professionals or students. You might even be able to walk to CBD.

Because of high house prices and the history of the suburb, it has the following ethnicities among its residents: 86.8% are European, 4.7% are Māori, 1.3% Pasifika, 10.3% Asian, and 2.6% are other ethnicities.

Market rent in Merivale in the time range from 01 Apr 2023 – 30 Sep 2023 is $550 per week. The upper price is $620 per week, and the lower is $469 per week. The median house price in Merivale is $902.5K as of November 2023.

8. Fendalton

Fendalton is hands down the most expensive and one of the oldest Christchurch suburbs. It has the most fanciest homes in the whole city. They were built through the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Most of them have some historical significance or are fancy villas. Located just 3 km from the CBD, it has all the perks of other central suburbs in addition to a relaxed and safe environment.

Moreover, Fendalton falls into the school zone for renowned schools, including Christchurch Boys’ High School and Christchurch Girls’ High School, which, as you might guess, attracts many families with children.

As of 2022, Fendalton had a population of 4,550 residents. It’s lower than average compared to other suburbs. That speaks for the exclusivity of the community. Besides, the median age of Fendalton’s residents is 44 years, higher than the Christchurch city average of 38 years. You will also see more retirees – the number of people aged over 65 years is also higher.

About 34,9% of people living in Fendalton are retired, and 44,2% are employed full-time.

If we look further, 40% of Fendalton’s residents have a bachelor’s degree and 60% are employed either full-time or part-time. You will barely see any students or singles living in Fendalton – this place is ideal for retirees and families.

Market rent in Fendalton in the time range from 01 Apr 2023 – 30 Sep 2023 is $700 per week. The upper price is $958 per week, and the lower is $565 per week. The median house price in Fendalton is $1.43M as of November 2023.

9. Riccarton

Riccarton is the best suburb for students of the University of Canterbury. Riccarton is known as one of the most vibrant and multicultural suburbs in Christchurch. Riccarton House and Bush is one of the most beautiful landmarks in the city and is in the heart of the Riccarton. This neighbourhood is known for its rich history and culture.

Suburb by western Hagley Park. It extends to Church Corner (Upper Riccarton), where the main roads south and west of Christchurch diverge. Lower Riccarton is a shopping centre along Riccarton Road. The city’s first major shopping mall (now Westfield Mall) was built there in 1965. With the closure of the central city following the February 2011 earthquake, Westfield Mall became a major shopping centre for the city, and traffic on Riccarton Road became very heavy.

Riccarton Bush (also known as Deans Bush) is the only surviving swamp forest on the Canterbury Plains. In 1843, the Deans brothers established a farm on the edge of the area, now a public reserve. The Deans’s cottage (1843) and house are publicly owned.

It is also one of the youngest suburbs in the city where the majority of current residents aged below 30 years old, namely 43.2%, are between 15 to 29 years old, 37.3% are aged 30 to 64 years old, 11.9% are below 15, and 4.6% are above 65. Besides, Riccarton is one of the bigger suburbs with approximately 10,350 residents.

In contrast to other Christchurch suburbs, you will see all types of ethnicities. Riccarton’s population comprises of 53% European, 39% Asian, 7.5% Maori, 3.5% Pacific people, and 4.5% other ethnicities. Moreover, almost half of all residents are born overseas (48%) versus 27% New Zealand-wide.

Overall, Riccarton is best for younger folks or someone wanting to have many things at their doorstep. For example, Westfield Riccarton is the oldest shopping mall in Christchurch and one of the largest in New Zealand. Although this area is pretty popular within the city, house prices are still considerably low.

Market rent in Riccarton in the time range from 01 Apr 2023 – 30 Sep 2023 is $480 per week. The upper price is $570 per week, and the lower is $300 per week. The median house price in Riccarton is $630k as of November 2023.

10. Wigram

Last but not least, Wigram is a wonderful, quiet and somewhat prosperous new suburb of Christchurch. Located on the southwest of the city close to mentioned Halswell, it has a population of 11,140.

Wigram has grown significantly over the last years and is just seven kilometres away or a 10-15 min drive from the city centre. Therefore, you can find a house there more easily and have space to yourself while still being close to the CBD.

That said, Wigram has all the facilities you need, including shops, cafes, schools, gyms and more. You don’t need to drive to the city centre unless you work there or want to. Overall, Wigram would be great for most people, especially families who want to buy or rent a freshly built house.

Market rent in Wigram in the time range from 01 Apr 2023 – 30 Sep 2023 is $580 per week. The upper price is $668 per week, and the lower is $260 per week. The median house price in Wigram is $790K as of November 2023.

Worst suburbs in Christchurch

Although these suburbs are considered to be worse or less optimal so to say, it doesn’t mean that they are dangerous and you will need to worry about your safety. The communities in less affluent neighbourhoods are typically a lower working class, including less educated people.

This often can lead to higher crime rates and other social issues, yet it’s still on an adequate level. You don’t need to avoid these areas like a plague. However, if you have a family and want to live in a more prosperous place, there is plenty of choice.

1. Linwood

If you will ask locals, they would say stay away from Linwood. Should you? Not necessarily, but you will notice the difference between less prosperous areas like Linwood and the suburbs I have mentioned before.

Linwood is traditionally seen as a working-class and lower middle-class eastern suburb.

It has a population of 10,270 and is located near the city centre just a few kilometres east. So, it’s a very convenient place to live if you also consider low house prices. Keep in mind that while some houses in Linwood, like townhouses, are newly built, others are pretty old and have suffered the consequences of the earthquake.

Linwood is also quite multicultural, with the following ethnicities among the residents: 74.5% European, 17% Māori, 8% Pasifika and 12% Asian. This area could be considered lower than the average income in NZ, where only 8% earn over $70,000 compared to 16% in Christchurch altogether. About 45% of all Linwood’s residents are renting.

Image source: Govt.nz

Compared to other suburbs, the majority of people in Linwood live in the Deprivation area, because this area of the city is the most deprived. The Deprivation rates are calculated based on the index of socioeconomic deprivation, which is extracted from the census information. 1 represents the least deprived areas, and 10 represents the most deprived areas. 

There is some light at the end of the tunnel, the more recently built residential south of Linwood Ave, east of St Johns St and east of Smith St the only areas that are the least deprived.

Unfortunately, with lower income come other social problems, like high alcohol consumption or drugs. Less affluent neighbourhoods mainly are suffering from this problem. Crime and just some strange events can happen more often. Such areas are less suitable for families but are okay for people looking for cheap housing. Overall, Linwood is not the best place to live in Christchurch.

Market rent in Linwood in the time range from 01 Apr 2023 – 30 Sep 2023 is $430 per week. The upper price is $500 per week, and the lower is $330 per week. The median house price in Linwood is $508.5K as of November 2023.

2. New Brighton

“Pier in New Brighton”

New Brighton is located on the coast of Christchurch, about 8 km from the city center. In June 2023, New Brighton is home to 6,200 people, which is an average lower than in other suburbs.

While living by the sea is a romantic idea, this part of the city has a bad reputation, especially when it comes to drugs and other grey areas. Besides, eastern Christchurch has been significantly damaged by earthquakes, just something to keep in mind.

New Brighton population includes mainly Europeans (88.7%), 14.2% Māori, 4.0% Pasifika and only 3.4% Asian. Compared to other suburbs, it’s less international. Moreover, a significant part of New Brighton is located in the less deprived areas, with North New Brighton and South New Brighton being the most deprived (deciles 7, 8 and 9).

The southern part of the South New Brighton is less socioeconomically deprived and is considered the best place to live within this area. Overall, about 9,8% of the residents live in the significantly deprived areas (decile 9-10).

With all this in mind, New Brighton isn’t an ideal location, especially for families and people requiring a high level of safety.

Market rent in New Brighton in the time range from 01 Apr 2023 – 30 Sep 2023 is $500 per week. The upper price is $558 per week, and the lower is $440 per week. The median house price in New Brighton is $501K as of November 2023.

3. Aranui

Aranui is a suburb on the east of Christchurch next to New Brighton. Generally, most bad neighbourhoods of the city are located on the east side. Aranui is known as a lower socioeconomic area with about 4,370 residents (June 2022). Most people living in this suburb are relatively young (30.0 years old vs 37.4 years average).

Aranui also has a substantially higher number of Māori among its residents, about 29.9%, while other suburbs have less than 10%. Only 66.1% of its population belongs to European ethnicity. Besides, 35.4% of people had no formal qualifications. 

Aranui residents also earn less than people in other suburbs and even cities. The median income in Aranui is $21,300, compared with $31,800 nationally. 25% of all workers in Aranui earn only $10,000 to $20,000 annually. The unemployment rate in Aranui is also higher than in Christchurch overall.

Overall, it’s not a good place for families as the crime rates are significantly higher in this area, together with Wainoni – a suburb next to Aranui. Yet, house prices in this part of the city are the cheapest, well, probably for a reason. Nonetheless, only 45% of all Aranui residents own their home.

Market rent in Aranui in the time range from 01 Apr 2023 – 30 Sep 2023 is $500 per week. The upper price is $550 per week, and the lower is $444 per week. The median house price in Aranui is $455K as of November 2023.

4. Opawa

The suburb of Ōpawa is located in the southeast, about 5 kilometres away from the city centre, and is a convenient place to live. Rents are lower than average, but house prices are relatively high.

The population of this area mainly belongs to the middle-income area, with about 30% being not in the labour force. That said, Ōpawa doesn’t have a great reputation and could be considered a less safe place to live in Christchurch.

Some parts of Ōpawa lie in the deprivation area, including deciles 6 and 5. Housing quality is generally slightly lower than in neighbouring areas Beckenham and Cashmere.

As of June 2023, it has only 1,320 residents, with 90.8% being European and only 6.6% being Māori. The median income in Ōpawa is higher than average New Zealand-wide ($33,300 vs $31,800). Thus, this suburb isn’t the worst on the list, yet it’s surrounded by less affluent areas like Woolston, which is considered a lower-class residential suburb with a deprivation score of 9.

Market rent in Opawa in the time range from 01 Apr 2023 – 30 Sep 2023 is $503 per week. The upper price is $572 per week, and the lower is $415 per week. The median house price in Opawa is $905K as of November 2023.

5. Addington

Addington is an inner industrial suburb next to Sydenham. As of June 2023, Addington is home to 6,080 residents. In the past, it was known to be a low-working-class area, but over the last few years, the number of new townhouses and businesses has grown, making this place more attractive to a wide range of people.

Addington represents a mix of different cultures mainly, immigrants can easily afford a townhouse or a unit in this area mainly because of the cheap rents. So, about 76% of its residents are European, 11% are Māori, 4.5% Pasifika and 14% Asian. 52% of all residents in Addington don’t own their home, probably mainly due to the low rent prices.

The number of Asians is substantially higher than average in Christchurch. Moreover, 41% of people are born overseas compared to 27.1% nationally. If you are a foreigner and want to be surrounded by other foreigners, that could be a good area to live in. Otherwise, we won’t recommend it.

Some parts of Addington lie in deprivation areas, where 19.5% of all residents live in 9-10 deciles, and 21.2% reside in 7-8 deciles.

Despite the quick development, Addington is still a less safe and comfortable place to live, especially for families. It will take 5 or 10 more years for the suburb to get the required level of socioeconomic comfort for us to call it a good place to live in.

Market rent in Addington in the time range from 01 Apr 2023 – 30 Sep 2023 is $495 per week. The upper price is $524 per week, and the lower is $371 per week. The median house price in Addington is $540K as of November 2023.

6. Phillipstown

Phillipstown is a neighbourhood just southeast of the city centre. It has about 4,290 residents with a mix of ethnicities, where 61.8% are Europeans, 16.0% are Māori, 8.2% are Pasifika, and 23.2% are Asian.

Phillipstown is one of the cheapest places when it comes to rents and house prices. Yet, low housing prices are never unreasonable, and this area has its issues.

As I mentioned, the majority of bad suburbs are located in the east of Christchurch, and Phillipstown is one of them. Unfortunately, this neighbourhood belongs to lower socioeconomic areas with a higher than average percentage of single-parent families.

The homeownership rate in Phillipstown is also below average, with 65% of residents renting their homes. Moreover, Phillipstown has a higher unemployment rate than the rest of the city (6.3% vs 4%).

The largest part of the Phillipstown suburb is located in the highly socioeconomically deprived areas. This includes deciles 9 and 10.

For all the above reasons, Phillipstown shouldn’t be on your list of places to live if you are moving to Christchurch.

Market rent in Phillipstown in the time range from 01 Apr 2023 – 30 Sep 2023 is just $460 per week. The upper price is $500 per week, and the lower is $398 per week. The median house price in Phillipstown is $432.5K as of November 2023.

7. CBD

CBD has its pros and cons. Generally, most companies and businesses are centred around CBD, so it’s a beneficial location if you don’t like the commute. In fact, there are over 450 retail businesses and over 130 cafes, restaurants, bars and clubs. CBD is the best place to go out. Around 7,760 people are currently residing in Christchurch Central.

Unfortunately, central Christchurch was significantly damaged during the earthquakes, with some buildings still being rebuilt and reconstructed. Today, the majority of people residing in CBD are professionals, typically foreigners. Most apartments are located in this area, so it makes sense for singles since they can rent their own place without breaking the bank. Besides, rental prices in CBD are lower than average.

Regarding deprivation, most of CBD is situated in the average socio-deprived areas, and only some eastern parts of it belong to decile 9 – a very deprived area.

Market rent in the City Center in the time range from 01 Apr 2023 – 30 Sep 2023 is $485 per week. The upper price is $550 per week, and the lower is $410 per week. The median house price in the City Center is $620K as of November 2023.

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