It is considered by many to be a lower class suburb, mainly due to a large percentage of public housing and a reputation for criminal activity. However, this reputation is changing. New housing developments in the area and increasing land prices has resulted in a shift in the dynamics of the suburb.
Balga, while depressed when compared to the rest of the northern suburbs, has never been an area of abject poverty. It maintains the same standard of living that is common throughout Australia. Significantly, Balga Senior High School, a focal point of the suburb and much maligned, has become a school that offers opportunities and a variety of programmes to the youth of the area and including an Intensive English Centre for newly arrived refugee students as well a program for teenage parents and a sports based education program for indigenous students.
In 1994 the southern half of Balga was renamed as a new suburb called Westminster. Once disassociated with the name Balga, Westminster property values increased significantly. In 1998 the state government instituted the New North Project to further improve the status of Balga and surrounding suburbs, demolishing a number of State Housing Commission terrace complexes. According to Department of Land Information, Balga currently (as of 2006) has had a housing value growth rate ~5% higher than the state average. As suburbs expand further north, its lower housing values and proximity to Perth city is likely to cause this trend to escalate.