Hip inner-city buyers are making a move to Melbourne’s outer suburbs



Melbourne’s outer suburbs are welcoming a whole new type of home buyer, as hip inner-city dwellers who would never have considered moving out of the CBD make a tree change to areas previously dominated by families.


As coronavirus continues on and regular lockdowns become a certainty, younger couples and singles are abandoning edgy inner-city neighbourhoods for areas like the Yarra Ranges and Mount Dandenong in search of more space and greener surroundings.


Futurist and social researcher Mark McCrindle said these suburbs were attracting a more diverse and sophisticated population as the ability to work from home sees people freed from having to live closer to the city and their offices.


“The urban dwellers, who are university educated and have a double income with no kids are the ones now moving to these family-friendly suburbs … to pick up the lifestyle there,” Mr McCrindle said.


The change in population means the outer suburbs would continue to improve, with better eateries and retail coming to areas like the Yarra Ranges and even job hubs being set up to cater for the new population, he said.


Buyer interest from the inner city has been non-stop ever since Melbourne’s first lockdown in March last year, real estate agents say.


“I honestly can’t remember the last time I sold a home to someone local,” Fletchers Yarra Ranges director Glenn Gardiner told Domain. “Buyers are coming from much closer into town, and the number of singles or couples has grown quite substantially.”


It’s having an impact on prices. The entire outer-east region of Melbourne saw house prices rise by 5.8 per cent over the 12 months to June, to a median of $910,000, Domain data showed.

In Chirnside Park, prices soared by 16.1 per cent over the year to June, to an $820,000 median, while Emerald’s house prices also jumped by double digits, up 14 per cent, also to an $820,000 median.


House prices in Belgrave, home to the famous Puffing Billy Railway, rose by 9.8 per cent to a $730,000 median.


Melbourne’s six lockdowns, which have banned in-person auctions and open for inspections, have only further fuelled demand in the outer suburbs.


“Each time we’ve been locked down, we seem to come out stronger because there’s a lot of people looking to make a change,” Mr Gardiner said.


People often fall in love with the area when they visit for events like Halloween on The Green, which is held in Sassafras each year, or the Chestnut Festival in Kalorama.


Rhys Sullivan and his wife Sarah Naughton fell in love with the area when they got married in Ferny Creek.


Long-time locals of St Kilda, they had not been looking to move to the Dandenongs but changed their mind after the wedding and bought a property there a little over 12 months ago, moving in just before the first lockdown.

The timing could not have been better, as prices in Melbourne had not hit the record high median of more than $1 million. 


“From a housing price perspective, we timed it pretty well,” Mr Sullivan said. “We got in before the market took off and before there were fewer houses for sale.”


While they’ve loved their move, it has taken some getting used to. COVID-19 has meant they have not been able to get to know the community closely, so Mr Sullivan said he recently signed up to become a CFA volunteer.


“From an inner-city perspective, the Yarra Ranges seem like Mars,” Mr Sullivan said. “But we’ve loved being up here. You’re much more connected to the weather and the natural environment and animals.”


Barry Plant Boronia selling agent Monique Fitzgerald said there were buyers moving from one-bedroom apartments in Southbank or the inner city, to a four-bedroom home in Boronia, near Ferntree Gully on the outskirts of Melbourne’s east.


“[Prices have] substantially risen because people are looking for a different lifestyle choice,” Ms Fitzgerald said. “We are seeing people you wouldn’t have expected to be looking for a new home here.”


For locals who are selling up, they’re moving even further out of Melbourne, looking for a quieter lifestyle while being close to nature.


“Everyone’s lifestyle has changed, but it’s very different now in the inner city compared to the outer suburbs.”



Ref: MELISSA HEAGNEY| SENIOR JOURNALIST  (on 14  Aug 2021). Hip inner-city buyers are making a move to Melbourne’s outer suburbs. Retrieved from  https://www.domain.com.au/news/hip-inner-city-buyers-are-making-a-move-to-melbournes-outer-suburbs-1079634/?fbclid=IwAR1I-4du83uDpYjoU8GCaDJ03e7c21ONaS8fm51pWDKB4sltexNuj6crE8A.


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