New public school zones push up house prices in Prahran, Preston and Doreen


The trendy inner-city suburb of Prahran has always attracted an eclectic mix of home buyers, but more families have been hoping to get a home in one of Melbourne’s newest school zones.


The suburb has typically drawn young professionals who love the nightlife along the world-famous Chapel Street, downsizers who want to be closer to the city and public transport, and parents looking for the perfect family home close enough for their children to attend some of Melbourne’s most elite private schools.


Prahran High School, which opened last year, is one of nine state government schools to welcome students in 2019, three of which made their debut in the latest Domain School Zones Report released this week.

The Prahran High School zone, which includes Windsor, Prahran and part of South Yarra, has seen house prices soar – by 25 per cent over the past year, data shows.


Over the 12 months to October, house prices in Prahran High School’s catchment zone rose to a median of $1.45 million, putting it in the top 10 house price rises in school zones.


It’s not alone. The data shows two other new Melbourne school zones, with schools which opened just last year, that have also seen significant house price rises.


In Preston, the north-eastern suburb made internationally famous by singer/songwriter Courtney Barnett, homes in the new Preston High School zone rose by 8.5 per cent to a median of $915,000. Nothing Depreston about it for vendors, despite Barnett’s song.


Likewise, the outer north-eastern suburb of Doreen, the zone for the one-year-old Ashley Primary School, saw prices rise by 16.7 per cent to a median of $595,000.


Domain senior research analyst Nicola Powell says the price rises will be due to more owner-occupiers entering the Melbourne market, looking for a larger family home.


The biggest sector of buyers entering the market this year, during the coronavirus pandemic, has been upsizers wanting more space, Dr Powell says.


“Buyers in these areas have been cushioned by low interest rates and if they’ve held their [other] property for a while, they’ve been supported by significant price rises,” she says.


While many people were looking to buy into Prahran, there are those now deciding since the school has opened they won’t sell their property in the suburb, four kilometres from the city.

Belle Property Armadale principal director and auctioneer Andrew James says people who were planning to sell their home to access other schools were now staying put.


“Some of them are wanting to take advantage and stick around, rather than moving to Malvern or Armadale for their education,” James says.


For those who are buying in, one of the most popular pockets for families is Hawksburn Village on Malvern Road, Jellis Craig Stonnington partner Carla Fetter says.


“It’s really popular because it’s so close to the train station and there’s lots of shops and cafes,” Fetter says.


On the other side of the Yarra, in Preston, buyers who can’t find a property fitting their exact needs are looking to tear down and rebuild, or undertake major renovations to get what they need.


Barry Plant Inner North director George Metax says families are snapping up properties with enough land to extend on or rebuild and within the Preston High School catchment zone.

“We’ve seen a lot of families move here that wouldn’t have before,” Metax says.


The most popular places to buy in Preston include the areas south of Bell Street (close to Thornbury) and along Plenty Road, though almost everywhere in the suburb is attracting buyers, Metax says.


Further out of Melbourne in the Ashley Park Primary School zone in Doreen, buyers were doing their research about schools before contacting agents.


Fletchers Real Estate Eltham director Nicholas Matkin says parents with primary school-aged children were particularly looking for a house within walking distance of their local school.


“School is definitely a serious consideration for buyers,” Matkin says.


Buyer’s advocate and director of Cate Bakos Property Cate Bakos says buyers should expect to pay extra for a home near Melbourne’s most sought-after public schools, including University High School in Parkville and McKinnon Secondary College near Bentleigh.


“They know they’re going to have to pay more and the competitiveness can make it really hard,” Bakos says. “It doesn’t put people off. They just associate that with buying an asset with great capital growth because prices will always be good near a popular school.”



Ref: MELISSA HEAGNEY, SENIOR JOURNALIST  (on 27 Nov 2020). New public school zones push up house prices in Prahran, Preston and Doreen.  Retrieved from


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