There’s something calming and idyllic about Melbourne’s leafy north-east, where the relaxed vibe of tall gum trees and hipster cafes meets manageable commute and suburban conveniences. But this patch of paradise doesn’t come cheap – in Eltham, the median house price is $972,500, while in Lower Plenty a home of your own will set you back $1.16 million.
Enter Doreen – 26km from the CBD, straddling the local councils of the Shire of Nillumbik and City of Whittlesea, where first-time buyers can snap up a house and land package for a bargain price, while still staying close to the area they love.
The suburb has proven to be a popular spot to build for Melbournians who’ve grown up in the north-east, but can’t stretch their budgets to accommodate a property in more expensive, established suburbs such as Greensborough or Montmorency.
With a median house price of $621,000 and a median unit price of $441,500, getting onto that first rung of the property ladder is more achievable in Doreen, especially for young families. Renters also find the area affordable, with median rents sitting at $350 per week for units and $390 for houses.
The price slump that’s hitting the rest of Melbourne seems to have left Doreen unscathed thus far – values for both units and houses have increase over the past eighteen months, where many other suburbs have seen prices remain flat, or even falling. In June 2017, you could have snapped up a unit for just $379,000 or a house for $535,000, half the price of similar properties in other northeastern locales.
Perfect for families
For families, there is a lot to love about Doreen: several great schools, with public, private and Catholic options to choose from, and plenty of parks and green spaces. It’s also a great spot for uni students, with the Bundoora campuses of LaTrobe and RMIT not far away.
The Westfield Plenty Valley at nearby South Morang has all the usual retailers, plus a great indoor-outdoor dining space and Village cinema, and Greensborough and Northland shopping centres are only a short drive. It’s also a priority area for infrastructure spending, with the State Government upgrading and extending the South Morang train line to Mernda, adding three new stations.
Doreen is also right on the doorstep of the Yarra Valley. Head away from the city towards St Andrews for a country pub lunch, or venture further into the bush for a spot of camping or four-wheel driving. It’s a real city-meets-country spot, perfect for those who love the shops, restaurants and stores of Melbourne, but dream of a quieter life.
With new master-planned communities, including Laurimar, The Ivy and Glen Crest Estate popping up all over the suburb, Doreen is certainly one to watch, and should definitely be on the radar of any prospective homebuyer with big dreams on a limited budget. A brand new property in a quiet, safe area, with manageable repayments unlikely to lead to mortgage stress, and all less than thirty kilometres from the CBD… Sounds too good to be true, but if this is what you’ve been dreaming of, Doreen might just be the spot for you.