What you Can Buy For Half a Million in Melbourne


IF THE big smoke is your dream, $500,000 will buy a place in the city, Docklands, StKilda Road or Southbank.

Agents recommend a ’90s Southbank block of flats where three-bedroom or big two-bedroom units, often on two levels, are about $500,000.

Sales agent for Melbourne Inner City Management, Lance Forkgen, says most flats are eight and 10squares and have a car space ($35,000 of the price), a small balcony and storage unit.

Mr Forkgen says fixtures and fittings in some properties have never been updated. But he says that shared areas such as foyers are regularly modernised and services such as swimming pools, spa, gym, barbecues and tennis courts are maintained by building managers.

Be prepared to pay for the privilege though – body corporate fees for some flats can be more than $5000 a year. In most cases, this fee includes money put away to pay for major apartment works such as lift repairs, repainting or major plumbing.

Flats in City Road, or Kavanagh, Sturt and Dodds streets, may have had panoramic views upon completion 10 years ago, but skyline or bay views are often now hidden behind neighbouring towers, including the 92-level Eureka tower and Freshwater Place.

Mr Forkgen said Eureka and Freshwater Place are considered the most exclusive buildings in Southbank, and as such, $500,000 doesn’t go as far.

He says one-bedroom flats, with study nook, on a sky-rise level is about all you could pick up in these buildings for $500,000.


Three bedrooms and outdoor living; 88 Blackwood Avenue, Mentone, $490,000-$540,000. Buxton, 95839811.

PRICES in the bayside suburb of Mentone, about 22kilometres south of the CBD, rode the wave of a coastal value boom but are cheaper than its neighbours that often record quarterly median values of more than $1million.

Real Estate Institute of Victoria research shows the median house value in Beaumaris is $950,000. In Black Rock, it is $1.06million and about the same in Sandringham. Mentone’s median is $690,000.

A half-million dollars buys a four-bedroom house on a 650-square-metre block at the cheaper Moorabbin airport end. The house is probably unrenovated and 10-60years old, says Buxton selling agent Sandra Costello.

Values greatly increase on the beach side of Nepean Highway and then again on the beach side of Balcombe Road, considered Mentone’s best pocket. MsCostello says a $500,000 cheque buys a two-bedroom unit with about $20,000 spare for renovation. Prices escalate near the beach where properties on 650-square-metre blocks are more than $800,000. She says buyers who want to be a street or two from the beach need to look at Edithvale or Chelsea, several suburbs south of Mentone.


Formal and informal living and four bedrooms; 52 Willowgreen Way, Point Cook, $475,000-$500,000. Barry Plant, 9931 3199.

YOU want four bedrooms and a study, lounge, dining room, and a backyard to host a big party? Half a million dollars buys it all about 20 kilometres south-west of the CBD.

Barry Plant selling agent Ray Harb says that as well as these features, vendors waving $500,000 in Point Cook find a top-quality family house with modern finishes, solid-timber floors, granite benches and high ceilings. He says blocks are 650-700 square metres and have front and rear gardens.

Point Cook and neighbouring Sanctuary Lakes are a collection of estates released since the ’90s.

Wedged between Altona to the east and Werribee to the west, Point Cook’s residents drive to the beach but can enjoy scenic parklands that connect the suburb to Port Phillip.

Typically driven by the first-home buyer, the whole precinct is on alert at the moment, as the full effects of compounding interest rate rises this year take their toll on the market.

One key risk with the Point Cook market is that prospective purchasers may find it only marginally more expensive to buy their own block and build a house to their personal specifications.

New blocks can be snapped up from a little more than $200,000. Add your own 40-square mansion for $250,000 and you’ll likely have change out of your half a mill to deck it out with furniture.


New and sophisticated, two bedrooms; 2/46 Diamond Creek Road, Greensborough, $470,000-$505,000. Carter, 9870 6211.

THE leafy north-east suburb of Greensborough is 20kilometres from the CBD and has good public transport, established shops and a variety of residents.

The REIV says median values grew 14.1% last year to $405,000. So buyers will find a three to four-bedroom house with money for a renovation, car and holiday.

Ray White Greensborough director Graeme Spark says $500,000 buys a one or two-storey brick veneer with study, and formal and informal living areas built around big kitchens.

Half a million dollars is at the top end of the market and will get big, established gardens that may have a spa and pool.

Greensborough is split by the bypass. South of Grimshaw Street are older homes with redevelopment potential on 800-square-metre blocks. North of the bypass are newer, larger homes on 600 to 700-square-metre blocks.


Views from the hill and three bedrooms; 19 Poynton Avenue, Ringwood, $480,000. Ray White, 9870 2011.

RINGWOOD benefits from the EastLink tollway that opens in three weeks. East of the city, Ringwood will be the gateway to Mitcham, Wantirna and Scoresby. But convenience costs: a trip to town is $1.78 each way.

Hocking Stuart agent Daniel Cassar says $500,000 buys an unrenovated Federation house in one of the best streets near the train station, Eastland shopping centre and EastLink access.

A three-bedroom, two-bathroom weatherboard house with two living areas is a little more than $500,000. Or buyers can pick up new, two-storey, three-bedroom with study townhouses with modern kitchen, bathrooms and ensuites, formal and informal living areas, heating, cooling, polished floorboards and alfresco areas.

Again, these townhouses would be in Ringwood’s more attractive streets around the train station.


Two storeys and period features, formal living rooms and five bedrooms; 1627 Sturt Street, Ballarat, more than $495,000. Cosgrave, 5333 1144.

IF A tree-change is what you want, do it in style in Ballarat, 115 kilometres north-west of the city. Late last year, a two-hectare property 12kilometres from Ballarat in Smythes Creek sold for about $500,000.

Cova homestead has a vineyard, tennis court, dam, big grass areas and shed. The house has four bedrooms, study, two living areas, big kitchen and bathrooms with modern fixtures and fittings.

Booth and Lee Ballarat sales executive Peter McErvale says half-million-dollar sales are becoming more frequent as people migrate to the area. A budget of $500,000 usually buys a homestead property on acreage. He says city-based buyers comprise 10-15% of Ballarat sales. It’s common for city slickers to rent in the area, before buying.

Values are REIV annualised figures, January 2008.


At the entrance to Port Phillip, Queenscliff is a secluded and exclusive pocket of the Bellarine Peninsula, an 80-minute drive south-west of Melbourne. House values vary greatly depending on proximity to the beach but there are opportunities to buy a house and land for less than $500,000. Most are small and unrenovated.

At a sale in late January an unrenovated, two-bedroom, cream-brick house a block from the beach, on Flinders Street, sold for more than $500,000.

Fletchers Queenscliff selling agent James Gladman says don’t expect water views for that money. Townhouses with water views fetch more than $1million. He advises buyers to look also at Point Lonsdale, Ocean Grove and Barwon Heads.


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Marc Pallisco

A former property analyst and print journalist, Marc is the publisher of realestatesource.com.au.

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