Boomers take smart option
HOUSING in Melbourne’s leafy east is going through a massive vertical transformation led by all buyer groups.
Developers say the age of luxury apartment living has dawned in suburbs east of the CBD.
“It (the east) is clearly the strongest development arm by any measure,” said Castran Gilbert director Michael Lang.
“If you follow the train line you can see it strong in many parts all the way (to the Yarra Ranges) ... and it’s not just investors cashing in their superannuation to buy but mums and dads; I am currently selling 70-to-80 per cent to firsthome buyers or empty nesters.”
Castran Gilbert’s portfolio — like many of its rivals — has a strong eastern suburbs’ bent.
Its current projects include Evelyn, a 45-apartment development in Ringwood, and Knoxia, an 87 luxury apartment project opposite Westfield Knox shopping centre in Wantirna South.
Other eastern suburbs’ developments include CBRE’s The Cotham Kew, Karrina in Kew, 22 luxury properties at Nue Hawthorn, the soon-tobe-launched Hawthorn Club project and Victory House in Camberwell.
Little Projects also had “a number of projects in the pipeline”, including Belle Box Hill, which was soon to begin construction, and its sold-out 12-townhouse Lux & Modern in Kew East, managing director Michael Fox said.
Asked if future developments would change the look of the eastern region, Mr Fox said: “Developers need to be cognisant that developments fit the lifestyle and expectations of would-be residents in the area.”
“Box Hill, for example, is an up-and-coming suburb that will almost be a city in itself ... so for our Belle Box Hill development, we decided to build 100 apartments with a level of amenity that other apartments in the area do not have.’’
Erfanian Developments director Sean Cantelo said there had been a strong response to the July launch of the James Kerr Apartments in Croydon.
“A mix of first-home buyers, investors and senior downsizers” had already bought eight of the project’s 56 apartments, he said.
Its other projects included a 26-apartment development — also on Mt Dandenong Rd in Croydon — and two developments in Boronia, although available stock was limited, he said.
“Normally with apartments it’s just first-home buyers but it’s not anymore, it is a real mixed bag,” Mr Cantelo said.
“Retirement living is becoming so expensive and so apartment living is very popular with downsizers because it offers an affordable option and they love being able to walk to everything.”
Mr Lang said baby boomers now drove big volumes of offthe-plan purchases in Melbourne’s east.
“They are selling their family homes in Wantirna and other eastern suburbs for $1 million or more and saying, ‘let’s spend $500,000 to $600,000 and buy a nice luxurious, large two or three-bedroom apartment home, enjoy the extra money and travel and no more fixing gutters on our weekends. This mindset shift has happened fast and it’s changing everything.”
The Belle Box Hill apartment development by Little Projects (above) and the soon-to-belaunched Hawthorn Club project.