Suburb Profile - Elwood Victoria
Melbourne's clicky little beachside suburb Elwood is a coveted postcode that manages to steal hearts over and over again. This dreamy little village boasts beautiful Art Deco architecture, leafy streets, and all day breakfasts in the neighbourhood cafes. Interestingly it does have some unusual characteristics.
The 2.6 square kilometre catchment is bound by the beautiful coast and bustling Brighton Road, which carries north and south-bound commuter traffic, trams, and trucks daily on one of Melbourne's most painful stretches when it comes to traffic lights and stationary vehicles. Established during the turn of the last century, the plethora of Art Deco buildings come as no surprise and are now a broadly accepted key feature of this quirky place. Generous courtyards, stunning boutique blocks of flats and a peppering of pretty Edwardian homes decorate the street scapes but it is the iconic old 1970's blocks of flats, one after another, along Brighton Road that make Elwood so intriguing.
Once a swampland, Elwood's canals were engineered so that the area could be built upon. One hundred year old masonry buildings show the hallmarks of subsidence with noteworthy cracking in more than a few, and re-stumping is a common task for property owners in the area.
Art Deco buildings continue to give real estate professionals and conveyancers a challenging time with a decreasing, but still notable proportion of Company Share and Stratum title types. For those unfamiliar with the mere fact that a Victorian unit title could vary, a company share or stratum title can pose significant problems for borrowers who require higher leveraging from their bank to finance their purchase. Lenders recognise that a company share title represents a designated number of shares in a company that owns the entire building, (as opposed to a physical stake in a property), and stratum implies a blend of traditional title ownership and shares. Banks don’t favour them at all. Agents don't always understand or acknowledge this fact, and buyers who don't bother to check the contract can get a nasty shock when the bank points out the difference after it’s too late.
As if it's not enough for Elwood to feature odd title types and limited public transport options, Elwood is situated only eight kms from Melbourne's CBD and has no train or tram within the defined boundary; only a tram line along the eastern boundary and three train stations in neighbouring inland suburbs. For those who are housed further inside postcode 3184, (and even those within a stone's throw to the glorious beach) buses attempt to sort out some of the congestion for commuters and residents fight out for the street parking in a sea of Art Deco units lacking car parks on title. But despite the negatives, this amazing little haven draws a crowd. Unlike any suburb equidistant from the CBD, Elwood's population density beats all of its rivals as follows:
- Hawthorn East, 7-8km east; ; 3.8K per square kilometre
- Thornbury 7-8km north; 3.6K per square kilometre
- Yarraville 7-8km west; 2.7K per square kilometre
- Elwood 8km SE; a whopping 6,000 people per square kilometre
Elwood is a tad gender-unbalanced, with 53% of residents being female and only 47% male, but contrary to popular belief, there are some nearby suburbs with an even greater gender imbalance including Armadale and Toorak. Elwood is reported to have one of the highest counts of single women though, according to one dating expert.
If the attractiveness of the area for younger buyers, combined with the ABS gender data is a reason for this, the sheer number of apartments (particularly 1970's style blocks) offers a hint of possibility to this claim. Younger buyers who seek the sun, sea, exercise, and lifestyle can find their happy place quite readily, provided they have a budget of just a tad over $600,000 to buy at the median or a paycheque to cover a median weekly rental of $440pw.
For those of us who look at the data and quirks and then scratch our heads, it's a hard postcode to dislike at any time of the year, but impossible to resist on a sun-drenched Sunday.