Perhaps it’s the median $541,000 house prices, but according to The Age’s recent liveability study, West Footscray has shot up a staggering 34 points since 2005, leapfrogging blue-blood suburbs like Middle Park and Fitzroy. George Alexander of Jas Stephens Real Estate cites the redevelopment of Barkly Village – now getting groovy with a gallery space and a café doing Colombian fare – as well as the suburb’s bigger blocks and unhurried community vibe. West Footscray Primary has a strong sustainability focus, while nearby Footscray Primary offers a Vietnamese language immersion programme and African drumming.
Not far away is Albion, a quiet residential pocket to the west of Sunshine. Sarah of the Albion Residents Action Group chose to buy here for its affordability – median house price is $379,000 – and location. In the western section, quiet streets filled fan out from a large central park, while Kororoit Creek meanders to the south. The station’s still in Zone 1 and the homes have good bones. Sarah also cites the strong sense of community, as seen in the newly founded Selwyn Park community garden. Schools include Albion Primary and St Theresa’s, which is small but delivers consistently excellent results in literacy and numeracy.
The little-known suburb of Seabrook to the west of Altona is going through a revival thanks in part to its sought-after primary school. Having won awards in school leadership and now offering the International Baccalaureate, Seabrook Primary is strictly zoned to the local area and continues to deliver great academic results. Joe Pace of Sweeney Real Estate also describes how many savvy young buyers are bypassing shinier Point Cook for tiny Seabrook, which offers more established homes for the median price of $400,000 and faster access to the freeway and Aircraft station.