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High street apartment developments on the rise in Preston as suburb’s market booms

By Heather Mellican

Story featured in Preston Leader
Story by Christine de Silva, News Corp Australia Network

PRESTON has emerged as the City of Darebin’s property market to watch.

The median house price of the suburb jumped 39.9 per cent to $811,250 over the past three years, the highest increase in the municipality, according to CoreLogic.

But the booming house prices have also triggered a growing interest in the suburb’s more affordable apartment offerings, underpinning a lift in high rise homes along the suburb’s main thoroughfares.

The latest Valuer-General’s Annual Guide to Property Values (2015) showed 655 strata units and flats sold in the City of Darebin in 2015, more than double the number sold in 2011 when just 292 changed hands.

CoreLogic figures revealed a total of 258 units were sold in Preston over the past 12 months, the second highest number of sales among suburbs in the municipality. The median price of units in Preston rose 15.4 per cent in three years to $452,500.

The Real Estate Insitute of Victoria (REIV) CEO Geoff White said buyers were increasingly looking for value and Preston offered relatively affordable buying less than 10km from Melbourne’s CBD.

Apartment buildings along the major thoroughfares of High and Bell streets, and Gilbert and Millers roads have made a striking change to the streetscape, according to Ray White Reservoir director John Catanzariti.

And he is tipping a further 100 to 200 apartments to join them in the coming years.

It makes sense to have these developments in Preston’s main corridors with retailers and eateries at the doorsteps, and away from the family homes in the side streets and quieter pockets.

“This good planning is putting Preston on the map and giving small business operators confidence to invest, improve and expand their goods and services,” Mr Catanzariti said.

“We have everything here from pop-up shops to new restaurants and trendy cafes.”

Mr Catanzariti believes high-density developments springing up in the heart of Preston are offering younger people faced with rising house prices and rental costs the chance to stay in the inner-Melbourne suburb.

Preston now has an inner-city vibe that should flow on to Reservoir and further up the trainline, he said.

There is also an increase in specialty businesses to cater to the rising acceptance of apartment living.

Ray White Reservoir recently sold five out of six two-bedroom townhouses at 84 Roseberry Ave, Preston, off the plan to investors and owner-occupiers.

The two-bedroom townhouse development at 84 Roseberry Ave, Preston, was keenly sought by investors and young professional couples.

The dwellings priced from $620,000-$650,000 drew plenty of interest from young professional couples, Mr Catanzariti said.

Only 15 out of 133 apartments are left for sale in a development at 388 Murray Rd, Preston, according to Mr Catanzariti.

Priced in the low $400,000s to $500,000s range and located near transport and cafes, the apartments have attracted couples, single women, and investors from as far as Sydney, he said.

The surging demand for these developments is predicted to be a lasting trend in the market and has prompted Ray White Reservoir to open a Preston office at 363 High St.

The new Ray White Preston office at 363 High St, Preston, showcases handpainted murals of Preston’s vibrant streetscape.

“Our team specialising in development projects and off the plan sales will be based at the new office that will offer an innovative approach to buying and selling property to service the market,” Mr Catanzariti said.

The office with its “industrial” look will feature a display of handpainted images of the Preston streetscape, he said.

Preston City Hall as depicted on a handpainted mural at Ray White Preston’s new office at 363 High St, Preston.
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