First published on 2 May 2012. Updated on 21 Jun 2012.
The new cafés and apartment blocks opening up in Brunswick represent a new wave of suburban immigration to the formerly ethnic/working-class neighbourhood – a wave that turned into a deluge in recent years but is now receding as average house prices push $650,000, with apartments clocking in at $411,000. For those starting out on the property ladder, it might be time to look elsewhere.
Jump on the Upfield line or take the 19 tram little further up Sydney Road from Brunswick to enjoy the delights of Coburg. You’re spoilt for choice for authentic Lebanese food, and there are new on-trend eateries opening up, like the Woodlands Hotel. Whether you’re buying or renting, the average house price is always interesting as a guide to what you’ll be up for. In The ’Burg it’s around $581000*.
Chilling out just to the east is Thornbury. Well connected by trains and the 112 tram, it’s attracting young families thanks to its day care centres and schools and relatively safe streets. It’s home to the grand old Thornbury Theatre and its high street is attracting the sort of cafes and shops that makes the less affordable Northcote so appealing. The average house price here is right up there with Brunswick but apartments are cheaper with the average at $388,000.
Head north on the 112 for Preston, which is still only 30 minutes from the city by train or tram. With one of the best fresh food markets in the country and new bars and brunch places appearing all the time, Preston is on the up. Have a number of the many craft beers at the Raccoon Club in the evening and head to Jackson Dodds for a restorative breakfast in the morning. A house is likely to set you back about $583,000 and there are still plenty of great places to rent where you’ll get serious bang for your buck. Imagine what you could do with a backyard bigger than a hankie.