Melbourne real estate is rapidly rebounding from a COVID-driven downturn, with buyers and sellers returning to the market in droves.
We asked experts and agents across the city for their tips for families on where to buy post-pandemic in the $750,000-$2m range.
Preston: Now was the time to buy into Preston, with a lack of available family homes to meet buyer demand already driving up the $1.013m median, Ray White’s John Catanzariti said. Realestate.com.au chief economist Nerida Conisbee said the train station and thriving retail precinct at Northland Shopping Centre were major drawcards.
Northcote/Thornbury: A combination of “community spirit” and quality schooling had put Northcote ($1.406m house median) on the radar of local and even interstate buyers, according to Mr Catanzariti. And an array of cool pubs, shops and cafes also made neighbouring Thornbury ($1.186m) a hot spot in the eyes of respected real estate guru John McGrath.
Moonee Ponds: With gorgeous period homes, popular eateries on Puckle Street and Mount Alexander Road, and access to the Maribyrnong River, Moonee Ponds offered “terrific value” for families, Nelson Alexander Fitzroy director Arch Staver said: “Just $2m could deliver you your perfect dream home.” A typical house costs even less, at $1.255m.
Parkdale: Nick Johnstone director Nick Johnstone said Parkdale “may not be affordable much longer” as more families pursued the lesser-known waterfront suburb. “It’s become really trendy, as most places along on the train line have,” he said. The median house price has risen 6.1 per cent annually already, to $1.21m.
Cheltenham: Lifestyle perks galore were up for grabs in Cheltenham, including access to the new Southland train station, Westfield Southland and the beach, Mr Johnstone said. The suburb had also been buoyed by the creation of the Beaumaris Secondary College zone three years ago. A typical house there costs $1.04m.
Hampton/Sandringham: Hampton ($1.9m house median) has been flung into the national spotlight by its selection as The Block’s next location. This is expected to boost its popularity among househunters, with Mr Johnstone noting it and fellow beachside ‘burb Sandringham ($1.776m) were already on young families’ hit lists.
Templestowe/Park Orchards: The pandemic has driven a desire for more space, making Templestowe ($1.4m house median) and Park Orchards ($1.77m) ideal for families, Barry Plant’s Mark Di Giulio said. Realestate.com.au recently identified the latter as Melbourne’s fourth most in-demand suburb for houses.
Warrandyte: Also sitting among Melbourne’s most in-demand suburbs, based on buyer activity on realestate.com.au, Warrandyte ($1.1m house median) offered both “luxury” living in the form of “beautiful big homes, as well as really nice homes on smaller blocks”, according to Ms Conisbee.
Eltham: This northeastern suburb ($986,000 median) had held up well throughout the pandemic to be on track to hit a $1m median within the next three months, Ms Conisbee said. “Homes have lots of room for families, but the area is getting more expensive,” she said.
Newport/Spotswood: Neighbouring “family-oriented” suburbs Newport ($1.055m house median) and Spotswood ($960,000) were often “second on (househunters’) shopping lists” to up-market postcodes like Williamstown and Yarraville — and they offered great buying as a result, Greg Hocking Footscray agent Tracey Dean said.
Altona/Altona North/Altona Meadows: Ms Dean said families were flocking to Altona ($920,000 house median), for its beach access, walking tracks and schools. House listings in Altona North ($820,000) are also attracting substantially more buyer activity on realestate.com.au than they were a year ago. But Altona Meadows remained a hidden gem with a much more affordable median ($630,000).
Seddon: Hocking Stuart Yarraville’s Leo Dardha said Seddon ($1.031m house median) was “already a firm favourite” among families, thanks to its wide streets and decent-sized blocks. And its appeal was “only going to broaden when the junior High School campus opens on Albert Street in 2021,” he said.
Kingsville: Kingsville ($976,000) was sometimes overlooked by people unfamiliar with the area, Mr Dardha said. But buyers who discovered it found it hard to resist the tree-lined streets stacked with “rows of pretty double-fronted Edwardian-era homes”, and the family-friendly vibe.
CHELTENHAM A CRACKER FOR FAMILIES
Cheltenham house prices have boomed since Greg and Danielle Clarke bought in seven years ago.
The southeastern suburb’s median has stacked on 35 per cent in the past five years alone to hit $1.04m, according to realestate.com.au.
But local agent Nick Johnstone, director of Nick Johnstone Real Estate, said the area still offered value for buyers, naming it one of his top post-pandemic picks for families.
The new Southland train station, three years inside Beaumaris Secondary College zone and the beach just a few suburbs away had attracted plenty of prospective purchasers — and would continue to do so, he said.
Mr Johnstone is about to list the Clarkes’ three-bedroom house with a pool at 49 Luxmoore Street in Cheltenham’s prized Pennydale pocket, with a $1.05-$1.15m price guide and a December 5 auction date.
The vendors said Pennydale — on the beach side of Nepean Highway — had notched big sales even throughout the coronavirus-driven downturn, giving them confidence to sell ahead of a move to Queensland to start a new business venture.
Mr Clarke said he had also watched “a lot of townhouses” and new homes spring up since they moved into the suburb, another sign of buyer demand.
“But around Pennydale, there’s still no high-density residential. It really is a very family-friendly area,” he said.
— with Christina Karras & Samantha Landy