Leanne and Ashley Eksteen with kids Kayla, 1, Connor, 3s , Tristan, 10, and Keegan, 12, at their new home in North Lakes. Picture: Annette Dew
Leanne and Ashley Eksteen with kids Kayla, 1, Connor, 3s , Tristan, 10, and Keegan, 12, at their new home in North Lakes. Picture: Annette Dew

How your suburb rates for liveability

A GOLDEN circle of inner-Brisbane suburbs is leaving most of the rest of southeast Queensland trailing in its wake when it comes to liveability, a major new study shows.

The CityPulse SEQ index compiled by professional services firm PwC is the most detailed suburb-by-suburb analysis ever undertaken, rating every area in the region against dozens of "live", "work" and "play" measurements.

The list of most liveable suburbs - based on factors like good access to essential services such as transport, health facilities, education, childcare and aged care and affordability - is dominated by a string of localities within a 3km to 10km ring of the centre of the capital.


"The disparity between those areas with proximity to Brisbane's CBD and others is stark," PwC Brisbane managing director Debbie Smith said.

"SEQ consists of a series of diverse subregions that each have their own unique lifestyles, cultures and economic strengths - Inner Brisbane, Outer Brisbane, Ipswich, Logan, the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast.

"However the inefficient urban sprawl that characterises the region has resulted in poor 'live', 'work' and 'play' scores for a significant portion of the population."

The CityPulse tool is being launched today by PwC as part of News Queensland's Future SEQ series, exploring ideas to help ensure the region continues to thrive as the population grows by about two million over the next 25 years.

It will culminate in an action plan, and a major event on October 23.

The most-liveable list is topped by Toowong, Coorparoo and Tarragindi.

Ms Smith said they all scored highly for accessibility to higher education, schools, public transport and affordability, economic performance and employment, sports, entertainment and dining.

"Controversially, and perhaps counterintuitively, CityPulse shows that many part of SEQ that are synonymous with offering a high quality of life such as the Gold Coast and the Sunshine Coast don't score as highly," the report says.


"This is because, despite having immediate access to beaches and other natural attractions, these areas have poorer access to jobs, health care, educational facilities and other desirable amenities within 30 minutes."

That was due to both geographical separation and less effective transport.

"What you need in everyday life is different to what you look for in a holiday destination," Ms Smith said.

The big surprise in the analysis was the emergence of some of the region's new master-planned communities such as Yarrabilba in Logan City, Springfield in Ipswich and North Lakes in Moreton Bay.

They scored highly on both the 'live' and 'work' metrics and are forecast to perform even more strongly in future, replacing some of the inner-city suburbs over the next 25 years.

"While a reasonable portion of these master-planned precincts' performance on 'work' scores is a result of the residential construction activity involved in building the cities, a large amount is down to new small businesses locating to the areas," the CityPulse SEQ report says.

Those new areas offer the key to raising the scores of suburbs right across the southeast corner, according to PwC.

"The future we envision for SEQ is a series of smart, well-connected and active precincts," Ms Smith said.



Some would be based on the master-planned communities, while others would be developed around key transport corridors such as Cross River Rail. Brisbane Metro and Gold Coast light rail.

By 2043, the PwC modelling forecasts Fairfield-Dutton Park and the adjacent Annerley areas of Brisbane's south-side will claim top spots as the region's most liveable suburbs.

Ms Smith said access to Cross River Rail and Brisbane Metro transport and proximity to knowledge and employment hubs such as the Boggo Road Eco-sciences Precinct, would lift the neighbourhoods' ratings.

"Areas surrounding Fairfield have the highest scores for accessibility to tertiary education as UQ, QUT and Griffith University are all within a 30-minute commute by either car or public transit."

Other inner-city precincts including Newstead-Bowen Hills Albion and Kelvin Grove-Herston will grow in status too.

But they will be pushed by the growing North Lakes-Mango Hill and Murrumba Downs communities 30km north of Brisbane.

Currently, Brisbane city centre is the undisputed ''economic powerhouse" of the region, significantly outscoring anywhere else.



However North Lakes-Mango Hill is tipped to head the list of "work" suburbs within 25 years, with Springfield Lakes and the adjacent Bellbird Park-Brookwater, Murrumba Downs-Griffin and the Ormeau-Yatala area on the northern Gold Coast also making the top 20.

"The further from Brisbane's CBD a suburb is, the lower its 'work' score," the report says. "We see this changing as advances in technology and connectivity and the shift towards flexible working lead to our white-collar workforce decentralising from the CBD into urban co-working spaces and home-based offices."

CityPulse SEQ says a number of suburbs between Brisbane and the Gold Coast ''significantly underperform'' on 'work' scores and suffer the lowest median household incomes in the region.

"Development of a knowledge and innovation precinct in these regions would provide economic stimulus."

One thing not expected to change, though, is the inner-city as the playground of southeast Queensland.

"Suncorp Stadium is the heart of an iconic district that provides a diverse range of entertainment and leisure amenities to city residents and visitors alike," the report says.

"Caxton Street precinct is close to the CBD, with excellent public transport access and a fantastic range of restaurants and bars, not to mention the premier rectangular stadium in Australia, if not the southern hemisphere. Brisbane's inner-west 'play' scores are bolstered enormously by access to this district.

"The proposed redevelopment of The Gabba, Queen's Wharf and the Brisbane Live precinct will provide fantastic sports, entertainment and dining offerings with excellent transport access provided by Cross River Rail.

"Inner-city urban renewal projects at the likes of Teneriffe, Newstead, Bowen Hills and, in particular, Howard Smith Wharves are drawing on the distinct character of the area to provide top quality cultural, dining and entertainment. Parts of outer Brisbane need to be revitalised and reutilised using a similar approach," it says.

"Residents of outer Brisbane suburbs can access national parks and beaches more easily than inner city residents. However, these amenities make up a relatively small proportion of the overall 'play' score."

Leanne and Ashley Eksteen with kids Kayla, 1, Connor, 3s , Tristan, 10, and Keegan, 12, at their new home in North Lakes. Picture: Annette Dew
Leanne and Ashley Eksteen with kids Kayla, 1, Connor, 3s , Tristan, 10, and Keegan, 12, at their new home in North Lakes. Picture: Annette Dew

Family-friendly and affordable

THE Eksteen family only yesterday moved into their new North Lakes home, seeking a more cost-effective, family-friendly lifestyle.

Ashley Eksteen said the decision to move from Sydney was based on cost of living pressures for the family-of-six.

"Brisbane seemed to be more family-friendly and cost of living and house prices were much better up here," he said.

"We did a fair bit of research and were drawn to North Lakes because of how close it was to schools and shops.

"It was a no-brainer really."

Mr Eksteen said he planned to stay in the suburb, which research by professional services firm PwC forecasts will become one of the best areas to live in southeast Queensland over the next quarter of a century.

"We will definitely be staying here in 25 years' time," he said.

"We've bought a pretty big family home we're hoping to raise the kids in."