Life in the fast lanes

Herald Sun - Property - - SUBURB PROFILE -

A RESUR­GENCE in in­ner-city liv­ing has trans­formed the ameni­ties of­fered for Mel­bourne CBD res­i­dents.

While the cen­tral city is Mel­bourne’s busi­ness and fi­nan­cial cen­tre — the so-called big end of town — it’s be­com­ing a home for first-home buy­ers and empty nesters seek­ing a city lifestyle that en­joys 24hour trad­ing, cafes, restau­rants bars and en­ter­tain­ment.

The fact that it’s close to work­places is an added ben­e­fit.

Gall­don man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Don Gal­lic­chio said the mar­ket for qual­ity es­tab­lished residential apart­ments had been strong as buy­ers shifted to­wards apart­ment liv­ing.

Strong price growth in the sub­urbs meant that buy­ing a city apart­ment was now seen as af­ford­able, he said.

There’s a wide va­ri­ety of stock avail­able in Mel­bourne, es­pe­cially be­tween old and new off-the-plan apart­ments.

“A lot of the new stock is gen­er­ally more an in­ter­na­tional mar­ket­place, whereas the older-style build­ings tend to be a bit larger and a lit­tle bit more sought af­ter, es­pe­cially by owner-oc­cu­piers and lo­cal peo­ple,” Mr Gal­lic­chio said.

He said es­tab­lished apart­ments tended to have larger liv­ing ar­eas in smaller build­ings with a higher pro­por­tion of owner-oc­cu­piers.

“Your av­er­age two bed­rooms are closer to the 72 to 80sq m mark and one bed­rooms are around the 45 to 60sq m mark, as op­posed to a lot of the brand new off-the-plan stuff that tends to be closer to 50sq m to 60sq m for two bed­rooms,” Mr Gal­lic­chio said.

But older build­ings of­ten miss out on gyms and swimming pools that fea­ture in new de­vel­op­ments, although Mel­bourne hosted a plethora of fa­cil­i­ties, in­clud­ing the City Baths and RACV Club.

While in­vestors re­main the big­gest buy­ing group in the city, owner-oc­cu­piers make up more than 36 per cent of res­i­dents.

“Eighty per cent of our mar­ket­place used to def­i­nitely be in­vestors,” Mr Gal­lic­chio said. “Over the past decade we’ve seen a shift to­wards owner-oc­cu­piers, peo­ple say­ing ‘I’m happy to live in the city’.

“There’s more ameni­ties now, with su­per­mar­kets and things, as op­posed to a decade ago.”

With a res­i­dent pop­u­la­tion of more than 28,000 peo­ple, Mel­bourne’s famed laneway cafe, bar and res­tau­rant scene has ex­ploded.

“Prob­a­bly 10 years ago Hard­ware Lane used to be open just for lunch. And on Satur­day and Sun­day it was ac­tu­ally closed,” Mr Gal­lic­chio said.

“With the life cy­cle of peo­ple, all of sud­den Hard­ware Lane is open for break­fast, lunch, din­ner and there’s night-life and cafes and bars here as well, so that’s just a small por­tion of what’s hap­pen­ing in the wider Mel­bourne area.”

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