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Buying a House in Melbourne: Past and Present

CEO Khai Intela
Introduction Melbourne, a captivating city known for its charm and rich history, has experienced a significant transformation in its real estate landscape over the years. In this article, we will delve into the changing dynamics...


Melbourne, a captivating city known for its charm and rich history, has experienced a significant transformation in its real estate landscape over the years. In this article, we will delve into the changing dynamics of Melbourne's housing market and explore how the prices have evolved across various suburbs. From the humble beginnings of Port Melbourne to the booming southeastern corridor, we will uncover the fascinating journey of buying a house in Melbourne, then and now.

Port Melbourne: A Surprising Turnaround

In the mid-1970s, Port Melbourne was considered an underwhelming prospect, plagued by a notorious reputation and affordable housing options. However, over the years, the suburb's central location and the emergence of its fashionable post-industrial vibe contributed to a remarkable real estate revival. Today, Port Melbourne stands tall as a star in the property market, with a median price of around $1.5 million in 2018.

The Changing Fortunes of Brunswick

Another suburb with an intriguing transformation story is Brunswick, nestled in Melbourne's inner-north. Once a working-class area with abundant affordable housing options, Brunswick witnessed a wave of gentrification starting from the 1990s. This shift in demographics led to a significant increase in property prices. From being primarily in the lowest quarter of house prices in the city, Brunswick saw over 90% of properties surpassing the median price by 2018, comfortably surpassing the million-dollar mark.

Melton: A Disappointing Performer

Not all suburbs experience the same rate of growth. Melton, a suburb in Melbourne's west, has had a comparatively slower pace of development. While it was one of the most affordable suburbs in the mid-1990s with a median price of $85,000, its progress has been modest over the years, reaching around $400,000 in 2018. In contrast, neighboring Braybrook witnessed a remarkable increase of almost 1000%, highlighting the diverse trajectories of different suburbs.

Toorak and Friends: The Pinnacle of Luxury

When it comes to luxurious living, Toorak, Canterbury, and Brighton have consistently held the crown. These affluent suburbs dominated the list of the most expensive areas in both 1997 and 2017. Over the two-decade span, their median prices skyrocketed, with Toorak leading the pack at a staggering $4,475,000 in 2017. The consistent growth in these exclusive neighborhoods showcases their enduring appeal to wealthy homebuyers.

The Inner North's Ripple Effect

The gentrification wave that swept through inner-northern suburbs like Brunswick and Northcote in the 1990s had a ripple effect on other areas along Bell Street and Sydney Road. Preston, for instance, witnessed a drastic increase in median prices, jumping from $615,000 in 2014 to $930,000 in just four years. This rapid growth demonstrates how the transformation of one suburb can spill over into its neighboring areas.

Big Winners in the Southeast

Melbourne's leafy southeast has emerged as the clear winner in terms of property appreciation. Ashburton claims the top spot, with an astounding 1050% growth in median prices since 1996, soaring from $160,000 to $1,840,000. The neighboring suburbs of Box Hill, Highett, Clayton, Burwood, and Ashwood have also experienced substantial growth, hovering around the 900% mark. For those seeking a lucrative investment opportunity, Melbourne's southeast corridor proves to be a safe bet.

West Footscray: The Rising Star

The western suburbs of Melbourne, particularly West Footscray and Maidstone, have emerged as contenders challenging the traditional dominance of the southeastern region. These once-underrated neighborhoods have witnessed substantial returns on investment in recent years. With a median price of a mere $92,500 in 1996, West Footscray's properties now command a median price of $900,000. Surrounding trendy areas like Yarraville and Seddon have even crossed the million-dollar milestone since their discovery in the early 2000s.

Any change in the real estate market sparks intense conversations among Melburnians. The constantly evolving nature of Melbourne's housing landscape ensures that we will always have something to discuss and debate. So, whether you are reminiscing about the past or actively participating in the present market, the story of buying a house in Melbourne is truly timeless.

Pat Whelen Caption: Pat Whelen's photograph captures the spirit of Melbourne's real estate journey.