I mentioned the other day that it’s coming up on ten years since I bought my house in Bentleigh (hence the flurry of maintenance).
In that time, the prices here have gone through the figurative roof.
I didn’t think to save the data at the time, but this document tracks median house prices around Victoria from 1998 to 2008.
In 2005, the median in Bentleigh was $501,000. By 2007, it had shot up to $713,750.
There’s a gap in my info for a couple of years, but it got to about $910,000 by June 2010, before rising and dipping and dropping back to about $765,000 in December 2011.
As you can see from the graph, since then it’s climbed steadily: Figures in The Age recently indicate 14.4% growth in the past year, to a dizzying $1,003,000.
So not only has the median price now gone up about a million dollars, but it’s also doubled in the not-quite-ten-years since I bought.
I should note that although I own a house, it’s on a half-block of land, having been subdivided about ten years before I bought it. The rear garden is a mere courtyard, and it’s really only two-and-a-half bedrooms — all of which means I paid less than the median price.
The increase since means I lucked out on a good investment. Not that I’m planning to sell.
But it also means if I were house-hunting now, I’d be priced out of the suburb I’ve come to know and love.
And with my kids almost grown, I really wonder what the implications are for them and their peers.
Will the next generation be stuck as renters? Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but it’s nice to have the option to buy.
The alternative is to buy much, much further out, in suburbs with less amenity and walkability.
Bentleigh East is more affordable than Bentleigh, but is less walkable. Although the street layout is pretty good, access to amenities is reduced: Walkscore says 59 in BE vs 75 in B. And BE is mostly well beyond walking distance to the train network. Even then it’s not much more affordable — only about 10% cheaper, with a median price still over $900,000.
As others have pointed out, the capped public transport fares mean that if train/city access is your priority, it’s now better to look down the line than across from it. Think about travel time, rather than distance as the crow flies.
How long to the city? Metropolitan Town Planning Commission map circa 1920 — See blog post
For instance, along the Frankston line, spend another 10 minutes on the train (instead of fighting your way into the station car park every morning, or battling with hopeless feeder buses or facing a long walk) and you can be in somewhere like Edithvale, Chelsea or Carrum, at a cost of about 40% less than Bentleigh.
I’m sure it’s similar on other lines — though beware of train service frequency. For instance, out from Sunshine is quite good towards Sydenham, but the trains to Deer Park are hopelessly infrequent.
Of course there are other factors such as proximity to friends and family, crime levels, access to schools and shops and parkland.
And it’s still expensive of course. If you’re house hunting, or will be in the future, I wish you the very best of luck.