The Melbourne suburbs where home buyers get the most bang for buck

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Key points

  • The most expensive Melbourne suburb measured by price per square metre is Albert Park.
  • The cheapest is Emerald in the Dandenong Ranges area.
  • Agents say people moving further out of the city are looking for a bigger home for their family and a quieter lifestyle.

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Melbourne’s outer suburbs are offering the best bang for buck when it comes to land size, with home buyers able to snap up a house in Emerald in the south-east for $418 per square metre.

The tree-lined suburb in the Dandenong Ranges recorded the cheapest house price per square metre in 2023, Domain data shows, boasting an average property land size of 2140 square metres, and a median house price of $900,000.

It was followed by Romsey in the Macedon Ranges shire, where houses were $510 per square metre. Narre Warren North ($613), Belgrave ($701) and Mount Evelyn ($778) were also considered top value for the size of property.

The data analysed suburbs where there had been at least 50 sales between January and November 15, along with median house prices and the size of the properties sold. Price per square metre is calculated by dividing the sale price by the block size for individual house sales, excluding apartments.

Outer suburbs had larger properties for sale and a lower price per square metre, while inner-city suburbs commanded a bigger premium for smaller houses – although the traditional prestige suburbs did not top the ranking.

The most expensive price per square metre was in sought-after Albert Park, costing $14,016. The median house price there is $2,098,500 and the median block size is 154 square metres.

Fitzroy ($11,713), South Melbourne ($10,748) and Carlton North ($10,051) were also in the top five most expensive pockets when measured per square metre.

Domain chief of research and economics Dr Nicola Powell said prices for a square metre of land rose higher the closer home buyers moved to the city.

“The top 10 most expensive prices per square metre, aren’t necessarily the most expensive areas of Melbourne, but they are the areas that have a lot of smaller, terraced houses,” Powell said.

“The data showcases the premium people are willing to pay to live closer to the city, but also how much further dollars go in outer suburbs that offer a much different lifestyle.”

Value for money is something many buyers will be keeping a close eye on, as the Reserve Bank of Australia prepares to announce its next interest rates decision on Tuesday.

Gayle Vetrone and her husband Malcolm Sharp are selling their renovated Victorian home in Verdon Street, Williamstown, a suburb where buyers can expect to pay $4,755 per square metre.

The couple, both aged in their 60s, have lived in Williamstown for 40 years, and say the size of the home has factored into their decisions to sell and buy over the years.

“We tried downsizing before we bought this house, but we really didn’t like it,” Vetrone said. “We found we definitely needed more space for our grandkids.”

Gayle Vetrone and Malcolm Sharp are hoping to find another property in Williamstown.Credit: Jason South

They are hoping to buy another property in Williamstown, to stay in the area they love, and are willing to pay more for a larger house.

Their selling agent, Ray White Williamstown’s Joanne Royston said families were fighting it out for renovated homes on a larger block, usually 600 square metres or more, to have space to breathe, but also be close to the city.

“People are moving here for the community and the lifestyle … you do get a bigger home and block that’s close to the city, but doesn’t cost as much as somewhere like Albert Park or Middle Park or even Port Melbourne now,” Royston said.

Other buyers were moving further out of the city, to find a family home with a bigger block.

In Emerald, Ranges First National director Mick Dolphin said the vast majority of buyers were families wanting to upsize from smaller homes in the south-eastern suburbs.

“They really want to get out of an area where they’re so close they’re hearing the neighbours flush the toilet,” Dolphin said. “A lot of people will stay a really long time, over 20 years, and they move on when their property has gotten too big for them.”

In Albert Park, buyers were looking for an inner-city lifestyle, close to the beach and parks, and were willing to forgo a larger parcel of land, Jellis Craig Albert Park principal agent Simon Gowling said.

“The price per square metre will usually start around $6500-$7000 for some sales, and rise to $31,000 at the top end of the market,” Gowling said.

The Puffing Billy steam train in the Dandenong Ranges, one of the cheapest areas for price per square metre of property.

Like Emerald, Albert Park homeowners held on to their properties for many years, making it tougher for people to buy into the area, and keeping house prices higher.

“Buyers are wanting an area with no traffic, a village community and somewhere that’s close to absolutely everything,” he said.

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