Top Melbourne Suburbs to Invest, For Budgets of Less Than $500,000

Flemington Post OfficeMELBOURNE’s once booming real-estate market has finally decelerated – and for the first time in a long time, buyers are calling the shots.

If you have a secure job, low debt and a will to own real estate – banks, developers and the Government want to talk.

But a word of advice: if you do take the plunge, spend what you can afford, rather than the maximum amount you can borrow.

Saturday Domain talks to some experts on which suburbs you should look at, no matter what your budget:

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Steve Price Buys South Yarra Terrace Mansion

PROMINENT radio broadcaster Steve Price and his partner, Wendy Black are understood to have purchased a luxurious historic terrace in South Yarra’s most exclusive pocket near the Royal Botanic Gardens.

The program director and breakfast presenter at new Melbourne talkback radio station MTR is believed to have paid more than $2.5 million for the double-storey four-bedroom terrace.

The home is walking distance to the MCG, where Price’s AFL team the Tigers play. It’s also near the Swan Street Richmond studio from where MTR broadcasts.

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Performance of Melbourne’s Southern Suburbs This Spring

THE performance of Melbourne’s southern suburb’s reflects the truism that the rich are getting richer.

Nine of the ten best performing suburbs had annual median house growth of more than 10 per cent, with the best performer, Toorak, increasing by an astounding 33.6 per cent. If you’re aspiring to get into the suburb, you’d better have found an extra $560,000 since last year – with the median house price now $2,230,500, almost double that of Melbourne’s second most expensive suburb, Brighton.

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South Yarra Development Site Sells For $5.5 Million

A SOUTH Yarra development site within the Forrest Hill precinct that is quickly becoming a high-rise apartment compound, has sold for $5.5 million to a consortium of off-shore and local investors.

The 10 Claremont Street residential development (artist impression, right) is one of the areas densest proposals – permitted to rise 17 levels and include 104 flats of which 89 are configured with one bedroom.

When apartments first hit the market for sale last year, one bedroom flats were priced from $350,000.

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CR Kennedy Site, South Yarra, Relisted For Sale

ONE of last year’s biggest development site sales has fallen through forcing the asset to be relisted for sale this week.

The South Yarra property at 661 – 669 Chapel Street is one of the last undeveloped sites within a former industrial precinct known as Forrest Hill that is being rebuilt by various builders as a new village with residential and office skyscrapers.

Occupied and still owned by photographic distributor CR Kennedy, the 3537 square metre site was reported to have sold for $25 million last December to design practice Metier3, which had just offloaded its interest in a Docklands office worth $240 million. It was expected Metier3 would exploit the South Yarra site’s 65 metre frontage to Chapel Street with an apartment-based village.

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Fridcorp Doubles the Density of Controversial South Yarra Apartment Tower

BOUTIQUE builder Fridcorp has redesigned and rebranded the controversial $120 million South Yarra apartment proposal that it bought into a couple of months ago.

The site, on the south-west corner of Chapel Street and Alexandra Avenue and opposite the Yarra River, has for some 18 months been marketed as Tresor – a 14-level tower which would have included 99 luxury apartments (artist impression, right).

Network Nine executive director Jeff Browne was one of Tresor’s highest profile buyers, paying a reported $5 million for a four-bedroom unit, off-the-plan.

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Michael Kroger Sells Second Piece of Former South Yarra Estate

LIBERAL Party powerbroker Michael Kroger (pictured, right) has finally sold the last piece of the South Yarra estate that was for years the marital home he shared with Ann Peacock.

The sale of the 1850s coach house, in Caroline Street (image, far right), ends a lengthy sales campaign which started in early 2009, and shortly after the couple announced they would separate.

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Billionaire Businessman Lloyd Williams Buys Adjoining South Yarra Development Sites

BILLIONAIRE businessman Lloyd Williams is continuing to reweight his property portfolio.

This time, in South Yarra, the racehorse owner, investor and high-density apartment builder has paid $13 million for two adjoining, historic homes (aerial pic, right) in the heart of the suburb’s uber-exclusive,  low density Botanic Gardens precinct.

Williams is expected to bulldoze the homes on the combined 1632 square metre site – including a 1930s mansion – and replace it with something more efficient, presumably a multi-level apartment complex built atop an underground car park.

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Wesfarmers To Unveil New Concept Store, Urban at Target, in Melbourne

WESFARMERS owned Target will open the first of its “small format store” in Melbourne, in September.

The new store, Urban by Target, will occupy 1000 square metres of space once occupied by Virgin Megastore at the prominent Jam Factory in South Yarra, owned by Challenger.

Wesfarmers, which also owns supermarket giant Coles, is looking to expand both its Urban by Target and Target Country divisions. It’s also planning more large-format Target stores.

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Peter Maddison Designed Townhouse Hits Market in South Yarra

A TOWNHOUSE created by Peter Maddison – architect and host of Lifestyle Channel’s Grand Designs Australia – has hit the market in South Yarra.

The three-level duplex in Davis Avenue includes an opulent lounge room with a prominent fireplace that has appeared in numerous design magazines and publications over the years, including Domain.

A study is accessed from this lounge room, which is on the entrance level with a casual living and meals area. At the lowest level, is an underground car park for three cars, while three bedrooms are on the top level.

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Stockland Sells South Yarra Development Site at a Loss

SYDNEY-based developer Stockland has absorbed a huge financial loss, finally on-selling a prominent South Yarra development site it paid too much for in 2008.

Stockland has reaped $22.5 million for 2 – 4 Yarra Street site, which is set to make way for an approximate 30 level apartment tower with more than 350 flats.

During the economic downturn, Stockland paid local developer Michael Yates $26.25 million for the 2150 square metre site.

At the time of sale Stockland wanted to build about 250 flats on the site, but it successfully lobbied to increase that number to 353, before listing the asset for sale more than a year ago (image of Stockland’s proposed tower, right).

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Village Roadshow Director to Sell South Yarra Penthouse

A MEMBER of the Kirby family, which owns media giant Village Roadshow, is selling a penthouse apartment in South Yarra’s Darling Street.

Clark Kirby, the director of corporate strategy for the family business, is relocating with his new wife, Sara Groen, who was until recently a current affairs presenter with Channel Seven in Sydney.

Ms Groen unwittingly made headlines last year, when Seven executives said her new haircut breached its contract, and ordered she fit hair extensions. She is also an ambassador for youth mental health service Headspace.

The couple’s outgoing penthouse is spread over two levels and includes three bedrooms and three decks. It also includes three car parks, and – perhaps not surprisingly – an entertainment room with a cinema.

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VCAT Cans Plans to Make Melbourne’s Tallest Suburban Tower Even Taller

WITHOUT the previous government’s contentious Melbourne 2030 planning document to refer to, VCAT has canned an ambitious proposal by the owners of South Yarra’s Fun Factory site to make the suburb’s tallest proposed skyscraper, even taller.

The rejection means the main residential tower at the $150 million Capitol, South Yarra project (pictured, right) will rise “just” 38 levels and 133 metres.

This would still make it the tallest residential building outside of the central inner-city, loosely defined to include Southbank, Docklands and, now that it will have its own skyscraper compound, Carlton. The Royal Domain Tower, at the Domain junction, rises 152 metres.

VCAT approved a 38-level redevelopment of the Fun Factory in 2009. That approval will see a historic building at the north-west corner of Toorak Road and Chapel Street demolished and replaced with a mixed use project including 7500 square metres of offices, 4400 square metres of retail space, 496 car parks, 120 bike spaces and 204 flats, in the proposed major skyscraper.

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Metier3 Buys CR Kennedy Site, South Yarra, Melbourne

CASHED-up design practice Metier3 is understood to have paid $25 million for a development site near the retail epicentre of Chapel Street and Toorak Road.

The 3,537 square metre parcel is one of the last remaining major industrial sites within the South Yarra pocket known as Forrest Hill, bound by Alexandra Avenue, Chapel Street, Toorak Road and the train station (which runs parallel to Yarra Street).

Forrest Hill has seen rampant high density redevelopment in recent years. One developer’s ambitious 38-level skyscraper proposal was given the green light 16 months ago.

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Controversial South Yarra Project Tresor Set to Take Shape Next Year

NETWORK Nine executive director Jeff Browne has purchased a four-bedroom apartment in one of South Yarra’s most controversial developments.

Tresor, on the corner of Chapel Street and Alexandra Avenue, opposite the Yarra River, will replace a Lamborghini dealership and include 99 apartments over 14 levels.

The development faced opposition from Melbourne High School, whose campus abuts the site, and entrepreneur Lindsay Fox, a former student who uses the school’s helipad.

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Bettina Liano to Sell Parkside South Yarra Pad

FASHION designer and entrepreneur Bettina Liano is selling a landmark South Yarra mansion just two and a half years after proverbially “trying it on”.

Liano, who relocated from Armadale to tree-lined Kensington Road in 2008, is expecting some $4 million for #48.

Spread over three levels the renovated home includes five bedrooms, two studies, a cellar, sun room and children’s play room overlooking a pool. Another games area – formerly used by previous owners as a squash court – has been reconfigured as a billiard room and lounge.

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Zig Inge Outmuscles Developers For Prime South Yarra Office

199 Toorak RoadFUND manager and developer Zig Inge Group is believed to have paid close to $18 million for a rundown but spectacularly located office investment at 199 Toorak Road in South Yarra.

The blue, glass, four-level building with ground floor shops is at the north-east corner of Claremont Street and will be renovated, and slotted into Zig Inge Group’s Core Plus Portfolio.

Zig Inge, which built its business developing retirement villages, outmuscled several high-rise residential developers for the 199 Toorak Road site, which measures 1689 square metres.

An adjoining site at 2 – 4 Claremont Street, measuring 908 metres was listed for sale with 199 Toorak Road, but after failing to attract interest as a whole – was sold separately after auction for a speculated $6.5 million.

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South Yarra’s Former Longford Cinema to Become Flats

AND so the curtain closes on another Melbourne theatre.

The site of the former Longford cinema complex in South Yarra is set to be redeveloped into a major five-level, 36 unit apartment complex with ground floor shops.

One bedroom apartments in the high-end redevelopment start at $515,000 and include a car park, and storage room.

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