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AU Melbourne's most walkable suburbs scoring a pricey advantage

Property Here - Friday, August 09, 2013

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 Brunswick Street St, Fitzroy.

Brunswick Street St, Fitzroy. Source: News Limited

MELBOURNE'S most walkable suburbs have been revealed as some of our most profitable for homeowners.

Carlton and Fitzroy have topped a list of the city's most walkable suburbs, but a new trend has revealed that if your suburb is even slightly more pedestrian friendly than a neighbouring suburb it can add hundreds of dollars per square metre to the value of your home.

Walk Score, an international group that judges how ''walkable'' an area is, rates Carlton 97 out of 100. Fitzroy scored 96.

Further research by buyer's advocate firm Secret Agent reveals prices can rise as much as $298 per square metre for a five-point rise on the Walk Score scale.

And they are seeing wealthy buyers increasingly favour areas that offer quality local lifestyle, with walking-distance to popular amenities a major drawcard for buyers.

Former working class areas like North Melbourne, Richmond, Collingwood and Fitzroy, which all scored highly on the Walk Score rankings, have had substantial price jumps in recent years - and the growth isn't expected to stop, according to Secret Agent founder Paul Osborne.

``The wealthy people once wanted to be situated a little bit out of town and away from those areas, and now the wealthy are trying to get into those former working class areas,'' Mr Osborne said.

He said price improvements in these areas are outpacing the city's traditional havens for the wealthy.

And he said there is potential for Toorak, which scored a 74 on the Walk Score, to be usurped as the cities wealthiest suburb by a more walking friendly Albert Park, with a Walk Score of 85, South Yarra or East Melbourne, both 92, in as little as five years.

Mr Osborne believes well-heeled buyers are increasingly following the London trend, away from Wimbledon to the more centrally located Chelsea.

``We are starting to see those values in those lifestyle suburbs that are moving ahead faster than those in Toorak,'' Mr Osborne said.

``Albert Park would be, I think, the suburb that could be top of the tree _ there are a lot of people moving from affluent eastern suburbs to Albert Park.

``Toorak won't disappear, but you are going to get a lot of people who turn around and say: `we spend a lot of time overseas, we don't have a lot of kids and we like eating out at restaurants'.''

But any links between ``walkability'' and prices disappear outside of inner Melbourne.

Professor Richard Reed, Deakin University chair of property and real estate, said homeowners more than 5km from the CBD shouldn't get their hopes up.

``The suburbs located more than approximately 5km from the CBD are not considered to be walkable and are perceived as requiring vehicle access,'' Prof Reed said.


10 Webb Lane, East Melbourne

$950,000-$1.05 mill - Jellis Craig Bennison Mackinnon

Walk to Bridge Rd shopping, the MCG and the CBD from this three-bedroom house.

11/38A Kensington Road, South Yarra

$510,000-$560,000 - Hocking Stuart

A two-bedroom apartment walking distance from Como Park, Chapel St and public transport.

2/170 Kerr St, Fitzroy

$675,000 - Barry Plant

Warehouse conversion with two bedrooms between Fitzroy hubs Smith St and Brunswick St.

23 Benjamin St, Parkville

$1.1 mill-$1.2 mill - Nelson Alexander

A Victorian-style three bedder that is a short walk from Royal Park, trams and schools.

120 Danks St, Albert Park

$950,000 - Greg Hocking

A short walk to the beach and Victoria Avenue retail and restaurants come with this two-bedroom house.

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