We take a look at some of Melbourne’s most admired, and expensive streets.
1. Monomeath Avenue, Canterbury
No suburb epitomises Melbourne’s “leafy east” moreso than Canterbury.
In fact, agents joke, it’s difficult not to find a street in Canterbury that doesn’t exude charm. Most are wide, welcoming and dotted with hundred year old trees, and Federation homes built on large blocks with established gardens.
Canterbury’s “Golden Mile” as it has come to be known, stretches from Burke Road to Balwyn Road, off Mont Albert Road and, in order of exclusivity, includes Monomeath, Victoria, Alexandra and Wentworth avenues.
Like many Melburnians, Fletchers Real Estate Canterbury managing director Tim Fletcher believes Monomeath Avenue is the best street in the State.
He estimates it now costs at least $2 million to buy a Monomeath Avenue address. Most homes sit on large blocks of about 2000 square metres and include tennis courts, pools, and family homes of dramatic proportions.
One home on the market at present – that of advertising guru Anthony Podesta – has been loosely valued by local agents at about $8 million, which would set a new record for the suburb.
Other Melbourne identities to call Monomeath Avenue home include former opposition leader Andrew Peacock, former NAB managing director Frank Cicutto and the parents of pop princesses Kylie and Dannii Minogue.
It was reported in 2002, the Minogue girls forked out $2.43 million to buy their parents an unrenovated home in the street.
2. Alfred Crescent, North Fitzroy
Every Alfred Crescent resident shares the magnificent Edinburgh Gardens as a front yard.
The wide, semi-circle street in North Fitzroy accommodates some of the suburb’s oldest and most imposing Victorian and Edwardian homes, dotted between restored terraces, and almost all built around the turn of the century.
Most Alfred Crescent homes were built to take advantage of views over parkland, while those at the northern end of the street have expansive views over Fitzroy to the CBD – just four kilometres away.
Because of Edinburgh Gardens – which at 24 hectares is one of the biggest parks in the established inner-city residential area – land values in Alfred Crescent are amongst the highest of any inner-city street, according to Chambers Real Estate managing director Mario Costanzo.
“Values in Alfred Crescent are between 10 and 20 per cent higher than the next most expensive streets in North Fitzroy, which include Falconer, Rowe and McKean,” said Mr Costanzo. “Values are also affected by the fact there is also very little turnover in the street.”
“People who buy into the street don’t usually sell unless there are unforeseen circumstances.”
He said land values in Alfred Crescent now average about $4,000 per square metre and that an entry level two-level apartment, of which there are only a handful, would sell for about $400,000.
Mr Costanzo says several of the larger homes along Alfred Crescent would fetch more than $3 million if they came onto the market today.
3. St Vincent Place, Albert Park
Like the streets surrounding Edinburgh Gardens in North Fitzroy, the St Vincent Gardens precinct in Albert Park is also believed to have been designed by prominent 1850s surveyor and topographer Clement Hodgkinson.
The rectangle shaped street wrapping St Vincent Garden is given two names – St Vincent Place North and St Vincent Place South, divided by name only at the intersection of St Vincent Street. Homes in St Vincent Place command higher prices than homes in other parts of the suburb which may be closer to the beach, or Albert Park Lake nearby.
Homes around St Vincent Place are a mix of single and double storey terraces, and large detached houses. Heritage Victoria has protected the entire land, gardens, buildings and works in St Vincent Place North and South, describing the pocket as one of the best examples of “premier square” developments in Victoria.
Premier Square is a design style used in many parts of London. Outside of Albert Park, local examples include Lincoln, Argyle, Macarthur and Murchison Square gardens in Carlton, but these are all much smaller.
Hocking Stuart Albert Park director Michael Coen says interest for homes in St Vincent Place has always been strong, with buyers lining up no matter how black a time in the economy.
He said entry level one bedrooms apartment now command more than $400,000, while most of the double storey terrace homes currently fetch around $3 million. He said Beaconsfield Parade would rank second to St Vincent Place as the most expensive street in the suburb.
According to Real Estate Institute of Victoria archives, the last freestanding house sold in St Vincent Place was in 2005, when a 6-bedroom home at 32a sold for $5.2 million. Mr Coen expects detached homes on the wide tree-lined boulevard to fetch at least $6 million in todays market.
4. Seacombe Grove, Brighton
The majority of people who drive through Brighton could be forgiven for thinking the Esplanade, with its imposing homes overlooking Port Phillip Bay, could be the suburb’s best.
However local agents reiterate, Brighton’s best homes are hidden, in streets off the suburb’s “Golden Mile” – which starts at Head Street to the north and ends at the Royal Brighton Yacht Club to the south.
Kay & Burton Brighton director Stewart Lopez says Seacombe Grove – an odd T-shaped street between St Kilda Street and the Seacombe Grove Beach – would rank as Brighton’s best.
Some homes in the small street have direct access to the beach, with the biggest – that of Crazy John founder John Ilhan – measuring more than 100 square and occupying two street frontages.
Other streets ranked as Brighton’s best include St Ninians Road, Moule Avenue and Glyndon Avenue.
Mr Lopez says Brighton residents have enjoyed waterfront living for far longer than the rest of Melbourne, which seems to have really only discovered the water following redevelopments in Port Melbourne over the last ten years, and Docklands over the last five years.
He said property values in Brighton have been increasing at a far greater pace than metropolitan Melbourne – with Brighton’s Golden Mile precinct a clear star performer.
Earlier this year, it was reported two apartments in St Ninians Road, to be integrated into one monster apartment, sold to the Gianarelli family for a price speculated to be more than $11 million – prices one would normally consider for a sprawling estate.
The most expensive home sold in Brighton is that of former St Kilda Football Club president Rod Butterss. His gothic inspired mansion at #39 sold for about $11.2 million in 2006, and holds the record as the most expensive home sold in the suburb.
St Georges Road or Albany Road, Toorak?
The answer as to which is Toorak’s best streets depends on what side of the fence you sit. Or at least what side of Toorak Road.
Marshall White director John Bongiorno says while Albany Road houses some of Toorak’s highest profile residents, the street is not without its fair share of more understated “AAA-quality” contenders.
In particular he said, St Georges, Clendon, Lansell, Irving and Hopetoun Roads are also considered the best in the suburb and ones many residents in the eastern and south eastern suburbs aspire to live in.
Unlike all the others however, Albany Road rarely has a home languish on the market – with the most common buyer, it would seem, the neighbours!
The most recent sale in the street was the Coomaroo mansion, at 63A Albany Road, which sold to property developer, and neighbour Len Warson for $8.4 million last year.
Anti-development advocates warn Warson, who controversially demolished the Lisieux mansion at #63 Albany Road to build a new home in 1998, could demolish the 108-year old Coomaroo mansion, as well as his own, to build a new megamansion worth more than $30 million when complete.
The biggest sale to take place in St Georges Road was set in March 2007, when US Businessman Bob Edgell and his wife Fena, a member of the Indonesian royal, sold their 7-bedroom mansion at #49 for about $15 million.
Mr Edgell built the home in 2004 after paying neighbour, the wealthy Baillieu family, $5 million for a 3434 square metre slice of their land – which adjoined his own 2500 square metre block. Reminiscent of the home Tara from Gone With The Wind, the 2850 square home includes five entertaining rooms, a gold-class sized cinema, a 285 square metre master bedroom, pool, tennis court, putting green and croquet lawn.
Good Guys boss Andrew Muir holds the record for paying the most for a home in Toorak, forking out $17.75 million for the Orrong Road mansion of disgraced businessman Steve Vizard. Mr Muir topped the record held by Toll Holdings boss Paul Little, when he paid a reported $16 million for Coonac in Clendon Road.
However at about the same time Mr Muir bought in Orrong Road, Mr Little forked out about $3 million to buy an adjoining block to his own, and next door to former Collingwood footballer Nathan Buckley. It could be argued this raises his total spend to $19 million. The Coonac estate is still the largest privately owned landholding in the suburb.
Case Study: The Strand, Williamstown
Alan Becroft sees Melbourne a little differently to the rest of us.
He wakes every morning to a multi-million dollar view over the bay to the CBD.
He catches fireworks regularly at major city events, and watches ships coming and going through Port Melbourne. The bustling city, about eight kilometres away, can be seen from his formal living room window.
But when he goes outside, the streets are quiet. The waterfront areas surrounding their home are empty – and the plentiful cafes in the plentiful shopping strips all around the home, know his name and how he likes his morning coffee.
John Garnsworthy built the “White House”, at 5 The Strand in Williamstown in 1907. It is one of the earliest examples of the use of reinforced concrete for a private home, and was originally called Hotham Arms, and housed maritime relics.
Alan says it is with some sadness his family will downsize from the massive home they have lived in for over 20 years.
They are moving to a smaller house, on a smaller block nearby.
Williams Real Estate selling agent Katie Smith says The Strand in Williamstown is without question the most expensive street in Melbourne’s west. She said the design of the street allowed for the most amazing views over Hobsons Bay, the CBD, Port Melbourne and even further on clear days.
Residences on The Strand are a mix of Federation homes, in amongst new homes many which span more than 100 square and appear almost entirely constructed of glass.
The White House is the second home Ms Smith has sold on The Strand in the last two years. Another home at 14 The Strand sold for $3.91 million, setting a new record for the street. In March last year, a home at #47 sold for $4.9 million.
Ms Smith says she expects Alan Becroft’s White House to fetch more than $4 million as a private sale. The 4-bedroom home sits on a 1367 square metre block, and is one of the only a few in the street to have two street frontages.