Top Ten Suburbs to Watch This Spring

Alphington
Streets: Yarraford Avenue, Bennett Street, Keith Street

It seems that with every real estate cycle, a new north-eastern suburb gets pushed out of reach for the working class population that call it home. Last cycle it was Northcote, now agents agree it’s Alphington’s time to shine.

Popular for its wide tree lined streets and easy access to blue-ribbon ‘family’ suburbs such as Kew and Ivanhoe, an entry level unrenovated property at Alphington’s northern tip will cost around $350,000 – but the river-end can ask upwards of $1 million.

Arch Staver of Nelson Alexander Northcote tips big growth in Lucerne Crescent, Yarraford Avenue and Alphington Street – driven by high income professionals who have outgrown nearby Fitzroy and Carlton. Bennett and Keith Streets which have park views are also set for upside, adds Mr Staver.

Double fronted homes particularly have plenty of capital appreciation left in them. “There remains many opportunities to find unrenovated period style homes in this precinct,” says Mr Staver.

Ascot Vale
Streets: The Parade, St Leonards Road, Cashmere Street

It may be no coincidence that since Moonee Valley council removed liquor restrictions in the ‘Temperance Triangle’ precinct of Ascot Vale, property prices have gone through the roof!

Big houses on ‘low maintenance’ sized blocks, is drawing a brigade of high income earning couples to Ascot Vale. Many migrate from the nearby suburbs of Essendon and Moonee Ponds – or are forced out of Kensington, which offers limited large home options.

“Ascot Vale has three clearly distinct areas,” says Ryan Currie, associate with Thomson Real Estate in Flemington. “The Tranvancore precinct east of Mt Alexander Road, Whiskey Hill from Epsom Road to the Maribyrnong River, and the Temperance Triangle in the centre of the two.”

Mr Currie says The Parade and St Leondards Road will buy you into the prospering suburb – but points to Cashmere Street in Travancore as the bankrupt-proof option. “Homes in Travancore tend to pass through the generations,” says Mr Currie.

Blackburn
Streets: The Avenue, Linum Street, Fuschia Street

Blackburn is no stranger to $1 million deals, but the completion of the Eastlink Freeway next year will throw the once-sleepy suburb into the big league.

Agents say buyers, out-priced from Box Hill, Mont Albert and Surrey Hills are driving the market. In July a new home record was set at 7 Laurel Grove, which sold at auction for over $2 million.

The leafy Bellbird Estate, surrounding the Laburnum rail station is the pocket agents say will lead an upward price spiral. The Avenue and Linum Streets – wedged between the Blackburn Creek and Blackburn Lake, have land values of $650,000, while Fuschia Street has seen a string of $1 million+ sales this year. Bellbird is filled with post war weatherboard and solid brick homes on blocks of around 800 square metres.

“Not many people know Blackburn has a leafy belt,” says Cameron Way director with Woodards Blackburn. “There are lots of renovations, extensions and capital improvements waiting in the Bellbird pocket.”

“The shadow effect of EastLink opening will significantly reduce traffic congestion along Springvale Road and the current Eastern Freeway,” said Robert Papaleo, research analyst with forecaster Charter Keck Cramer.

Black Rock
Streets: Iona Street, Karrakatta Street, Arronmore Avenue

The fundamentals are all there – stunning outlook to Port Phillip Bay, easy access to the CBD – and on the right side of town for quick access to Sorrento and Portsea beach houses.

Streets with the most growth, according to Sue Brown of Hodges Beaumaris, are Iona and Karrakatta Streets near Black Rock village, and streets surrounding Arronmore Avenue near the Royal Melbourne Golf Course.

“People are prepared to live a few houses back from the beach in Black Rock,” says Ms Brown, who says high trees obstructing views, and road noise turn some people off Beach Road.

“While prices are yet to reach those of nearby Brighton, properties in the area regularly fetch million-plus price tags, and the limited availability of beach side property near the CBD will continue to drive price growth,” said Mr Raimondo.

Brunswick
Streets: Stewart Street, Albert Street, Weston Street

You’ll still pay around $400,000 to buy an unrenovated house in Brunswick’s ‘entry level’ streets of Albert, Victoria and Stewart Streets.

Belinda Tucker of Hocking Stuart Brunswick says the belt between Nicholson Street and Sydney, Glenlyon and Brunswick Roads should thrive this Spring, being on the doorstep of tree lined North Carlton. Intact federation homes in Barkly Street, St Phillip and Weston Streets in particular on the radar, according to agents.

Brunswick East will continue to achieve the suburb’s most expensive sales, says Ms Tucker.

“By osmosis, house price growth radiates like a warm glow north from the Carlton cappuccino belt, to Brunswick,” says Bernard Salt, demographer and forecaster with KPMG. “Inner northern suburbs are still relatively undervalued compared to southern and eastern suburbs that are equi-distance from the CBD,” adds Mr Papaleo.

 

Cheltenham
Streets: Devon Street, Eversham Road, Ward Street

Opposition leader Ted Baillieu recently said the most under-rated thing about Melbourne were the beaches of the outer southern suburbs including Edithvale, Aspendale and Carrum. This sentiment is shared by researchers and forecasters, who tip this cycle to be the start a rejuvenation period, from Cheltenham through to Seaford.

Driving this wave, according to Stephen Horler of Maitland Horler Real Estate in Mentone, is a rush of residents in their 30s, tired and outpriced from the more central locations of Elwood and St Kilda where they have lived in their 20s.

Andrew Buckmaster of Ray White Cheltenham agrees, tipping the triangle between Centre Dandenong Road, Warrigal Road, Oak Avenue and Nepean Highway to have the most upside.

“Cheltenham is ideal area for young families looking to establish a home,” says Mr Raimondo. “The area is relatively affordable, has easy access to road and rail and is located close to the beach and Southland shopping centre.”

Keysborough
Streets: Lake View Boulevard, Princeton Drive, Cabinda Drive

There’s something for everybody in Keysborough – with established houses starting at around $260,000, and homes in new estates selling for more than $500,000. Ease of access to the CBD – set to improve with the EastLink freeway and proposed Dingley Freeway – will only add to it’s appeal, according to agents.

“Keysborough is reborn, and growing up fast,” says Michael Choi, sales consultant with McDonald Real Estate Keysborough. “People are now finding it’s affordable yet neat and well kept.”

Mr Choi anticipates the new estate surrounding Haileybury College will lead Keysborough’s next real estate cycle – identifying Lake View Boulevard and Princeton Drive as the pick of the bunch. In the older, established part of Keysborough, Cabinda Drive is agents pick.

Middle Park
Streets: Fraser Street, Danks Street, St Vincents Place

On a price per square metre of land, it doesn’t come more expensive than Middle Park, wedged between Beaconsfield Parade, South Melbourne and Albert Park Lake.

Mr Salt likens this pocket to the eastern suburbs of Sydney, saying that Melbourne’s cultural elite drive prices for the suburb so high, it seems buyers are from another planet to pay for them.

“Houses in this precinct can be held for generations,” says Andrew Musumeci of Dixon Kestles South Melbourne. “St Vincents Place and Richardson Streets are still at the top end of the scale.”

While the whole of Middle Park defies most real estate downturns unscathed, Mr Musumeci tips Danks, Fraser, Herbert and Mills Streets as the ones to watch this Spring. “(Middle Park) features a number of well maintained Edwardian and Victorian properties,” adds Mr Raimdondo.

 

Richmond
Streets: The Vaucluse, Richmond Terrace, York Street

Surrounded by Melbourne’s leafiest suburbs including Toorak, Hawthorn and East Melbourne, agents and forecasters agree Richmond is set for great things this cycle.

Leading the charge, according to Andrew Macmillan, director of Bennison MacKinnon Carmichael Richmond, is Richmond Hill – loosely bound by Bridge Road, Church Street, Swan Street and Hoddle Street.

“Streets in Richmond Hill are still good value compared to South Yarra,” said Mr Macmillan, who adds buyers aren’t as fussy to live on the other side of the river anymore. At the top end of the market, Richmond Terrace, The Vaucluse, Clifton and Docker Streets are the ones to watch.

Mr Macmillan says the pocket between Victoria Street and Highett Street – being entry level into Richmond – will be recognized again by buyers. “A basic unrenovated house in this pocket can still be picked up for around $350,000.”

York Street and Smith Street, on the footstep of the West Richmond train station is also good buying according to Mr Macmillan. “These streets feature row after row of period homes on good sized blocks, minutes from East Melbourne and the CBD.”

 

Surrey Hills
Streets: Goodward Street, Albany Crescent, Balmoral Crescent

Drive through Balmoral, Albert or Albany Crescent in Surrey Hills, and you could be mistaken for thinking you were driving along Canterbury’s Golden Mile, with turn of the century Edwardian and Federation homes dominating the suburb’s top-end market.

“As little as five years ago, Union Road was the barrier for many Surrey Hills buyers,” says Richard Spratt of Jellis Craig. “With prices in that part escalated, that barrier has now moved to Elgar Road.”

Mr Spratt anticipates the Wattle Park end of Surrey Hills has the most give left in it. This pocket is filled with English and Californian Bungalow style houses, while the newest pockets are predominantly post war. “Regardless, you’ll still need at least $500,000 to buy into the suburb”.

Driving the boom, according to Mr Spratt, is an influx of buyers from suburbs such as Clifton Hill and Richmond – many newlyweds or couples with young families

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Marc Pallisco

A freelance property analyst and journalist, Marc is a co-founder of realestatesource.com.au.

Marc Pallisco

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