Generic real estate and auction pictures?? Marshall White’s Sam Hobbs recalls an auction earlier this year of an art deco apartment in Carlisle Street, St Kilda. “Three of four bidders were single females in their 30s,” he says. “It was quite amazing.”
While Hobbs is unsure why single women in their 30s often outrank single men at these apartment auctions one thing is certain: singles love St Kilda.
Last year’s census had the beachside locale topping a table of Melbourne suburbs with high proportions of single households.
St Kilda weighed in at 46.7 per cent, followed by Carlton (43.5), South Yarra (41.7), Elwood (39.2) and Melbourne (37.9). Then came Hawthorn (34.8), Southbank (34.7) and Richmond (33.7).
Hobbs thinks St Kilda is singles heaven for a number of reasons, including appeal of the beach, bars, restaurants and cafes; also, the suburb’s “colourful past, present and future” may not appeal so much to families, he says.
He is not surprised it’s number one on Melbourne’s singles suburbs list, adding that mid-life divorcees also seem drawn here, perhaps by the prospect of opening up a new, exciting lease on life.
“I’ve got clients who have done that – [who have] been in Hawthorn or Brighton or Malvern and gone, ‘I don’t want to die a slow death here; we’ll go and buy something in St Kilda and be cool for a while’.”
But “cool factor” aside, there are some deeper economic factors at play, too. Professor of Urban Policy at RMIT, Jago Dodson, says areas with high land values are driving developers to maximise profits by building as many apartments as the planning system allows. Related: What’s next for one of Melbourne’s most colourful suburbs?Related: Melbourne’s tightly held suburbsRelated: The evolution of Elwood
“If you’re a rational, young, funky, groovy single person you know you’re going to be paying relatively high rent. They will be looking for the best value they can get – a combination of accessibility to employment or study, but also lifestyle amenity.”
And all of our top five singles suburbs offer this high-amenity, high-consumption lifestyle.
While Carlton’s significant student accommodation accounts for its second ranking, third-placed South Yarra is more interesting.
Kay & Burton’s Emma Bloom says apartments start around $350,000, with streets such as Rockley and Kensington roads popular with buyers. “I know a lot of people who have moved into the area who are single and they love it,” says Bloom. “They’re students or widows or single people who want to be associated with an aspirational suburb.”
Bloom says drawcards include the Royal Botanic Gardens, and a wealth of movie theatres, galleries, cafes and restaurants.
Domain’s chief economist, Dr Andrew Wilson, says the single buyers in South Yarra might be cut from a slightly different cloth to their St Kilda counterparts.
“[South Yarra is] very much an entry level type of destination – for those, maybe, who are aspirational in terms of looking to move onwards in their journey. That’s their view of the world – and maybe St Kilda’s a little less of that.
“Perhaps they’re just looking for a roof over their heads and the timeframe’s not important.” 1/1 Wimbledon Avenue, ElwoodPhoto: Hocking Stuart
$740,000 – $760,000 2 bedrooms, 1 bathroom
The advertising for this art deco delight declares: “If you can’t afford a house in Elwood quite yet, this is the next best thing!” No argument there; this substantial pad doesn’t compromise on space, with an enviable beach lifestyle and close to St Kilda. The apartment is one of only four in a block, in a street off the Nepean Highway (on the cusp of Balaclava). It’s a walk to the foreshore, but loading up with a coffee for a weekend stroll to the water is surely not an imposition. The apartment has period flourishes, including decorative architraves and leadlight doors, and a restored, original-era bathroom. The main bedroom opens to a sunroom and the second bedroom has dual access, from the hall and living room (the perfect nursery?). The offering includes a separate office or studio.
Auction: 1.30pm, October 28Agent:Hocking Stuart, John Carter 0416 056 705