Buying an affordable first home in Melbourne’s east

Home ownership: two words that come with an equal mix of excitement and anxiety. Let’s be honest, there’s a lot of pleasure to be derived from thoughts of how you might decorate a property, the social gatherings you could have there, and the memories you’re hoping to make. But the reality is there’s a lot that you need to work through – including how much you can borrow, grants you’re eligible for, and as such where you can afford to buy – before you can even begin to think about those things, and for many that can be overwhelming!

For multiple reasons, the Eastern corridor that Noel Jones offices operate within is highly sought by those wanting to secure their first property. There’s a wide range of housing options, many open green spaces that exist from inner city suburbs through to the outermost points, as well as the proximity to popular regions such as the Yarra Valley, the Dandenong Ranges and the Mornington Peninsula. Overlaying this is an extensive transport network that allows residents to move easily between suburbs, and into and out of the CBD. This includes 4 metropolitan train lines, an array of interconnecting bus services plus a range of tram routes. This is complemented by freeways including the Eastern, Monash and Eastlink.

So, if all of this has cemented your decision that the East is for you, where should you consider beginning your search if you’re working on a pretty tight budget? Let’s start with the type of home you might start looking at. Generally, units and apartments will be your most affordable option when first buying into the market. There are currently 10 suburbs in the Eastern region that have median unit prices of $600,000 or below according to the REIV Q2 2020 median unit price results (table below).

Suburbs with median units under $600k

Suburb Median Unit Price
Lilydale $507,500
Ringwood $572,750
Ferntree Gully $577,500
Kilsyth $580,000
Mooroolbark $587,000
Bayswater $590,000
Croydon $591,000
Boronia $592,500
Ringwood East $595,000
Box Hil $600,122

 

Let’s compare what this might buy you in the cheapest and most expensive suburb from this table using the ‘sold property’ search function on realestate.com.au. Using the parameters of Box Hill as the suburb, and $600,000 as the maximum price, it brings up a range of 2-bedroom apartments in medium to high density blocks and towers; some offering balcony’s, and others small courtyards. There are no 3-bedroom options in this price range which might be a sticking point for some. What you do get for this money though, is a location that is 14kms from the CBD, a central transport hub creating easy CBD access, and a huge range of restaurants and cafes on your doorstep.

In contrast, when searching Lilydale, it shows a much wider variety of housing types. For less than $600,00 you can choose from single storey villa units, many of which have been renovated, modern townhouses with views to the Dandenong Ranges, and even a few freestanding houses on their own parcel of land. So, here you will generally get a more spacious home for your money, but you’ll be 34kms away from the CBD. With many people now able to work remotely for at least part of the time, the importance of being close to the city has diminished to a point, with homebuyers now embracing the benefits associated with a more laid back lifestyle in ‘the burbs’. It’s really going to be an individual choice, but something to consider thoroughly before making a purchase.

If you have the luxury of stretching your budget further Croydon, Mitcham, Ringwood and Wantirna all have median house prices under $1,000,000 according to the REIV Q2 results, sitting at $750,000, $949,000, $902,500 and $840,000 respectively. All of the Noel Jones office zones hold medin unit prices under this figure also, bar Camberwell which has just jumped over the $1,000,000 mark (as shown below).

Noel Jones Office Suburbs Unit Price

Suburb Median Unit Price
Balwyn $600,000
Blackburn $820,500
Box Hill $600,125
Camberwell $1,005,750
Croydon $591,000
Doncaster $626,000
Mitcham $660,500
Ringwood $572,750

 

When looking at Melbourne’s East there certainly is a range of options for first home buyers whether it be a unit, villa or house and once you’ve factored in the wonderful amenities that service this eastern pocket of Melbourne, the only question left is, what are you waiting for?

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