First published on 24 Jun 2013. Updated on 11 Mar 2014.
Find a single room in a house on Gumtree, or group up with mates and go to a real estate agent for a three-bedroom house. A single room in a house will be a minimum of $150pw.
“Student accommodation in Carlton is in hot demand, but if you can find a 30sqm bedsit, it’ll be $250-$300pw at the very cheapest,” reckons Rob Elsom of hockingstuart.
“Time is of the essence,” says David Barnes of Peter Barnes. “You will need to target studio apartments. Alternatively, websites such as Real Estate or Gumtree have search capabilities for people looking to share and will generally find rooms to rent in the Fitzroy area that are in the range of $190pw-$250pw.”
As of October 1, Angelo Property Group will have affordable two-bedroom options for joint owner occupiers, specifically MIYA in Fitzroy's Kerr Street and HAUS in Collingwood's Smith Street (see the apartments pictured). These would work out as $250-$275pw pp (or can be bought for $530k-$630k).
A modest two-bedroom in Fitzroy is likely to set you back $800,000 – only affordable for most if two or three incomes are pouring into it. Rob Elsom from hockingstuart says, “It’s not really happening yet, but I think in the next 10 years people will team up more to purchase properties together. They’ll need to draw up contracts.” He advises, “There needs to be an in-and-out clause. It’s fraught with danger, so doing it with siblings is a better idea.”
Elsom has a rough-and-ready house going in Carlton for $600,000 — “not the Taj Mahal, but they do pop up every now and then.” It’s good to get your foot in the door with a cheap property and get a good reputation with the bank.” Other examples on his books are a renovated two-bedroom Terrace at 27 Cecil Street for $660,000-$720,000 and a two-bedroom warehouse conversion at 3/156 Rose Street for $530,000-$570,000.
Ange Angelo from Angelo Property Group reckons buying a studio in Fitzroy is the way to go. “Look at the way people live in London's Soho or New York's Greenwich Village – it’s studio apartments, and Melbourne is heading that way.” Angelo’s got studios available atop the Metropole Hotel on the corner of Brunswick and Gertrude Streets. For 30sqm you’re looking at parting with $290,000.
“Property costs $9,000-$10,000 a square metre in Fitzroy,” Angelo says, “because people hang on tightly to what they’ve got and there’s little turnover. If you look at a site like realestate.com.au you’ll see 30 properties listed for Fitzroy compared to three thousand for Collingwood or Richmond. East Brunswick is only a kilometre down the road and that’s way more affordable.”
If you can bear looking at the furthest reaches of the inner north, Brunswick offers houses that aren’t in great nick. Unlike central properties, which are turned over frequently, houses in family or pensioner ’burbs tend to get passed on after decades and decades of use.
Try a shop – so long as you’re in a mixed-use zone. “A two-storey terrace shop is good,” Elsom says. “You’ve got the downstairs already opened up via the shop window, and upstairs you can sit on top of the awning and watch the world go by.”
“List your contact details with as many agents as possible,” Barnes recommends, “as when the market is tight, owners will look to sell their property off market to avoid advertising costs. Alternatively, properties on the later pages of the search engines have been on the market longest and generally have the most flexibility when comes to negotiating a sale – for example, a property in Argyle Street, Fitzroy, was on the market for 90 days with a market price of $520k and was eventually purchased for client for $470k.”
More Fitzroy and the Inner North...