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Property Investing - Port Melbourne Life on the Edge

Property investing prices pick up following a cooler winter last year. Susannah Petty Reports.

Winter has yet to make its mark on Port Melbourne's retail sector. Traditionally a slow rental period, the past months have instead enjoyed an uncommon amount of interest, according to agents with up to 15 new Property investing inquires each day.

"This time of year normally it's three or four a day for property investing," says Biggin & Scot senior property manager Jaymie Spanos. "We had six to eight troupes going through yesterday for a mid-week inspection. That's normally quite unusual, especially for a weekday."

Similarly, at Cayzer Real Estate, Senior property investing manager Tricia Maxwell says properties are being snapped up even before they fall vacant.

She estimates the vacancy rate would be less then 3 per cent and says it looks likely to continue to fall.

Until fairly recently Port Melbourne's retail sector was subdued by the weight of new stock being listed by investors. Now it seems the new property investing additions are proving a rental stimulant, attracting tenants who are keen for high-quality, near-city residences.

"I think Port Melbourne has become a lot more popular with the young property investing executives and families now," Says Mr Spanos. "And I've noticed an influx of people wanting to move closer to the city but not be right in the city."

Prices reflect this shift. Mr Maxwell says it's now tough to find anything for less then $300 a week, while penthouses in the newer apartment towers can fetch up to $1200 a week and bayside apartments wouldn't dip much below $700 a week.

Mr Spanos says prices in sought-after pockets, such as the Beacon Cover housing estate, have climbed by about $20 a week. These properties command between about $600 and $650 a week, she says.

By comparison Mr Spanos believes apartment rents have largely stabilised.

"We had to reduce some slightly last year because they weren't leasing, compared to this year, were they've kept their price," he says. Premium Apartments are an exception as the typically attract people who, he says, are willing to pay more for the right address.

Slightly cheaper housing can still be found in the Garden City, which is closer to Docklands and has un-renovated houses for around $400 a week.

Properties in Port Melbourne's midrange moved from between $300 and $400, depending on the age.

"But if you have a three bedroom townhouse in Port Melbourne for around the $450 mark, which is not in the Beacon Cover, you will pretty much see that go first, before a two-bedroom apartment," Mr Spanos says.

Generally speaking, however, Ms Maxwell syas demand is relatively consistent across all property investing types.

"We've got something here to suit all styles and they all seem to rent just as quickly as the next," she says. "There's no rhyme or reason to it. We have open-for-inspections and can get up to 20 or 30 people for either an apartment or an old weatherboard house.

Domain Express The age Saturday, June 11, 2005

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