Buying affordably close to water?

Is it possible to buy an affordable home or investment property near the water in Melbourne? This was a question recently asked of us by The Age. As is the nature of such things, the subsequent article only had room for a small part of our advice. So - waste not, want not - here are the full insights:

The answer is a function of budget, whether a lifestyle or investment decision, the minimum accommodation required and how far away from the water is acceptable. Consider these questions:

  • Are you satisfied with a 5 minute walk or cycle ride?
  • Could you live with an apartment rather than a house or a 1 bedroom apartment rather than a 2 bedroom apartment?
  • Are you happy with a longer commute to the CBD?

Port Phillip Bay has a substantial land border - 264kms infact -  so there’s plenty of choice. And reasonable affordable choices - with compromises.

See the tables below for median prices for inner bayside suburbs and near-to-bayside suburbs. Green = cheaper. Red = expensive.

From an investment perspective, if you want affordable-but-high-quality investment, consider St Kilda West (feels like Middle Park for less), Elwood or Elsternwick.

We were also asked whether it was worth considering buying a property on the Yarra or Maribyrnong as alternatives to the bay - are these likely to be cheaper and are there any particular areas worth noting?

It of course depends. Although many Melbournians love living near the Bay, it isn’t the great motivator of where to live for those seeking a prestige location in comparison to say Sydney and its Harbour. For instance Toorak and South Yarra are inland.  In fact, properties by the Yarra shore in a leafy eastern suburb like Ivanhoe can command a seven figure sum.

In contrast to the Phillip Bay shoreline, the combine metropolitan-located shoreline for the Yarra and Maribyrnong is relatively short – perhaps less than a 100 kilometres – of which most is parkland, cityscape-fronting or port-related property.

The most affordable riverside properties are on the Maribyrnong in Ascot Vale, Maribyrnong, Aberfeldie and Avondale Heights.

The journalist also asked whether there were places with absolute waterfront.

Portsea is the most high-profile place where residents can walk from their property down to the beach (think Lindsay Fox). Unsurprisingly absolute waterfront in Melbourne commands high six and low seven figure prices.  There are also examples on the east face of the Bay’s shoreline in suburbs such as Aspendale, Chelsea and Bonbeach.

Of course, you could always buy yourself a beach hut in Brighton or a small number of other bay beaches for around $200,000.


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