If you are prepared to tweak your bayside dream a little, it may well come true.
So you’ve got about $530,000 – close to Australian Property Monitors’ June quarter median price of $531,167 for Melbourne – to spend? And you want to live in an inner bayside suburb where you can enjoy the city lifestyle and head for a swim at the beach when you want some time out. But where can you get the most bang for your buck?
Property experts say the first thing to realise is that you won’t be buying a house if you’re looking in the inner bayside area, defined by Domain as up to 10 kilometres from the CBD.
Richard Wakelin, of Wakelin Property Advisory, says that while $530,000 is a significant amount of money, ”unfortunately it’s not going to secure a house anywhere on the bay”.
”But it is sufficient to buy a quality apartment,” he says. ”So, with that sum of money, I’d be looking at buying a two-bedroom apartment in St Kilda, St Kilda West or Elwood, and you should be able to buy a well-positioned apartment in a small 1960s or 1970s block for this budget.”
While a sum of about $530,000 will buy a ”brilliant one-bedroom apartment that will leap ahead in terms of capital growth”, he says, finding a two-bedroom apartment for the same price will be harder. The area’s proximity to the beaches and CBD as well as its own cafes and nightlife are strong attractions, he says. ”I think the key thing about these suburbs is there is a sense of a village-type atmosphere.”
Brad Straughair, of Domain Property Advocates, also suggests looking in Elwood for a one or two-bedroom apartment but says, the closer to the beach you get, the more likely it is you’ll have to compromise on condition if your budget is about $530,000.
”You could certainly look at something in the high $400,000s, early $500,000s, but you’re going to need to invest a significant amount of money to bring it up to a rentable or liveable condition.”
Noting that Ruskin and Addison streets are particularly good streets, Mr Straughair adds that buyers need to be careful when buying in Elwood because of issues with foundations in some areas.
Further south, he says smaller pockets such as Ripponlea and Gardenvale, only a suburb away from the beach, are also worth considering, as is blue-chip Brighton – earlier this year he purchased a renovated two-bedroom 1930s art deco apartment 400 metres from Church Street in Middle Brighton for $520,000.
Closer to the city, South Melbourne, only a suburb away, and some parts of Port Melbourne stand out above the pack, according to buyer advocate Paul Osborne. He says that although South Melbourne has no direct bay frontage, it offers the best of both worlds with an inner-city coffee-shop vibe and access to the beach for a swim in summer.
”We would suggest that at that sort of price [$530,000], it would be a quality one-bedroom type of property with some select two-bedrooms creeping in as well,” Mr Osborne says. South Melbourne also gets a positive response from Christopher Koren, of Morrell and Koren buyer advocates, who says that there’s a good chance of picking up ”a reasonable one-bedroom apartment” for between $350,000 and $425,000 or even a two-bedroom apartment for between $450,000 and $550,000.
He says buyers in the area should look for established rather than new property and notes that if paying about $530,000, buyers should not expect luxury or bay views.
”You’ll get comfort, convenience and probably, if you buy sensibly, a good investment.”
It could also be a good idea to consider bayside suburbs to the west of the city such as Williamstown or even Altona Beach. But – while describing Williamstown as ”one of the jewels in the crown of Melbourne” – Mr Koren notes that the relative scarcity of apartments in the area means you may not get more for your money than you would in inner bayside suburbs south-east of the city.
What $5530,000 will buy near the bay
108/11 Cole Street $529,000
Agent: Myles Dowling, Greg Hocking
A first-level, two-bedroom apartment close to Nelson Place and waterfront. Open-plan living, meals and kitchen area, balcony, and car space.
8/46 Foam Street $525,000
Agent: Corene Chan, Wilson Agents
In a block of eight close to the beach. Two bedrooms, open-plan living and dining, off-street parking on title. Tenanted on a monthly basis.
310/19 Pickles Street $530,000
Agent: Christine Nicholson, Chisholm & Gamon
Close to the beach, two bedrooms on the third floor of the ID complex. Open-plan living and dining, balcony, secure car space and storage cage, communal pool and gym.