Melbourne's Northcote.. The Heart And Soul Of Coffee, Theatre And Bands, And The Land Of The Hipster
Nestled just above Clifton Hill and the meandering Yarra River, bound against the Merri Creek and neighboured in the north and east by Thornbury and Fairfield, this edgy, stylish, and once-working class suburb packs in an impressive lifestyle to visitors and lucky homeowners.
Supported by train and tram routes with direct links to the city, Northcote sits just 7km NNE of Melbourne’s CBD and is home to just shy of 25,000 people. Northcote’s rich cultural history is one beautiful facet of its personality. Back in the 1950’s to 1970’s, the influx of Mediterranean born migrants (mostly Italian and Greek) shaped the character of the suburb we all now so enjoy. From superb food provisions to fantastic coffee, Northcote holds its own in the foody world.
Cafes such as Red Door Corner have popped in in all number of unassuming pockets and are not restricted to the buzz of High St; the dominant shopping strip that sits alongside the north-south train line. Getting a table on a bustling Saturday morning has become an art form, and popular breakfast hot spots like Tinker and Gypsy Hideout offer photo-worthy dishes every morning.
Notwithstanding the breakfast and café culture, organic grocers have found a comfortable spot on the map, and Terra Madre is one example of a healthy destination that brings shoppers from all suburbs. Daytime experiences such as a bike ride along Merri Creek, a venture to the nearby Yarra Boathouses, a comedy gig at the Northcote Social Club or a stroll along High St to look at the eclectic range of local shops are a regular drawcard for visitors.
It is Northcote’s nightlife that rivals its daytime offerings though. From restaurants and bars such as Estelle, Mesob and Bar Nonno, to superb old Art Deco venues for music gigs, movie theatres and art spaces, it is no surprise that the popular age groups who target Postcode- 3070 are either young singles and couples, or downsizers in search of the perfect village at their fingertips.
The majority Northcote’s house blocks (with the exception of the grand old Victorians in tightly held Ruckers Hill or Westgarth) are tight inner-urban style skinny wedges ranging from around 100-300sqm in land size. Cute Victorians, Edwardians and a peppering of Federation-era period homes are common offerings in this broadly heritage-cherished area. In some of the pockets further from shops and station, family buyers will have more luck finding double-fronted period houses (including Californian Bungalows) with rear yard and off-street car parking options.
Due to the era and reasonably high density of tiny single-fronted houses, many streets are packed with European cars at night and over the weekend; a perfect reflection of Northcote’s impressive gentrification story since the turn of the century.
Well located, nicely-renovated, period, two bedroom terrace and single-fronted cottages fetch prices upwards of $1.3M today, a far cry from the values witnessed 20 years ago before the area had become so in demand with high-income earners.
Recently this beautifully presented 2BR in the enviable Westgarth pocket sold under the hammer for $1.35M. Being the underbidder hurt, but fighting it out with an emotional homeowner was always a risk facing the investor client. The house stole hearts with its leafy surrounds, pretty row of terraces, fabulous renovation and floorplan and great streetscape. The bonus on offer was the rear car parking option off a private rear laneway on a separate title.
The crowd of young couples, hipsters on their bikes (yes it’s true… Northcote property watchers don’t mind pedalling to their auctions), downsizers and cashed up baby boomers gathered in the street on the sunny winter’s-end Saturday. Two professional bidders took the property’s opening bid to the reserve within two quick bids, leaving aspiring buyers in their wake. The hammer fell, and a happy squeal could be heard amongst the crowd.
Why wouldn’t she be elated? She’d just bought into a very special pocket of our exciting inner north, and one that does not deliver too many opportunities for buyers to enter into very much. Northcote remains a tightly held suburb for all of the right reasons, and it is these reasons that will continue to see the area deliver long-term capital growth.