Already an established residential area for the city’s young creative workers, artists and entrepreneurs, Melbourne’s Inner North has attracted a growing group of the city’s young professionals in recent years.
Areas such as Fitzroy and Carlton have been the favoured choice of those looking to live among the hipster-chic of the Inner North, and that trend has forced many of those area’s existing residents to turn their attention slightly further north in search of more affordable living.
What those trend-setters found was Brunswick, and this quirky neighbourhood has quickly become the next place to be when it comes to what’s cool in Melbourne.
If that all sounds rather familiar you’ve obviously been paying attention. These sort of demographic trends have been a key part of the investment cases of other markets we’ve entered over the past few years – replace Fitzroy with Lake View and Brunswick with Logan Square and you’d have a pretty accurate description of since the beginning of this year.
In London it was Shoreditch to Old Street and Dalston, and now onwards to the likes of Hackney and Deptford. In New York it’s been Manhattan to Brooklyn – Williamsburg to Dumbo even more recently; in Berlin, it was Mitte to Friedrichshain as the regeneration of the city’s east continues to spread.
Even in Hong Kong we’ve seen much the same trend as the high prices of SoHo have pushed the island’s creative community west into Sheung Wan, Sai Ying Pun and Kennedy Town.
In each of these cases, what we’re seeing is typically a trend of young, fashionable, creative residents moving en masse into once rundown or neglected areas in search of a cheaper, more authentic lifestyle.
Before long, new amenities open to accommodate the needs of the changing local population, and the uplifted area begins to attract a wider demographic of younger people who want to live in what has suddenly become the newest cool part of town.
Of course, that means rising demand, which means rising prices and more investment attention from both developers and city officials.
The more succinct way to describe this phenomenon? Gentrification.
Gentrification is often led from the top down, with governments and investors looking to create the sort of environment that will attract residents to an area and bring life to the local economy.
Good recent examples of that sort of process would be the Newstead area of Brisbane that has very quickly been transformed into one of the city’s top residential and property investment locations.
What we’re seeing in places like Brunswick is the flipside to this – something that’s more of an organic, grass-roots gentrification process.
Both of these routes can be powerfully transformative for an area’s residential property demand, creating thriving new communities which drive local growth and uplift. Spotting these patterns early can be a challenge, but there’s one tip for success – look to other global cities for insight.