The old "Australian dream" may be over - at least, in Melbourne. Instead of hunting down houses with big backyards many first-home buyers are choosing proximity to the city.
That's where older apartments - built anytime from the 1920s to the 1980s - come in. Noticeably roomier than their shoebox-sized contemporary cousins, these older apartments are often nestled on quiet, residential streets, in walking distance to shopping and easy access to a train line.
"We looked at Richmond, where he'd like to be, and that's great. But you're buying 150 square metres of land and a two-bedroom house for $1 million. You might get your capital growth but [what about] the perceived value?"
By way of comparison, Harlock cites a 1980s three-bedroom, two-bathroom, two-car space flat that recently sold in Hawthorn for $925,000. "I said to [my son], that's where the value is."
And just where are all these older apartments hiding? "Location-wise they're more often than not within a 10-kilometre radius of the CBD and in the eastern, south-eastern and bayside suburbs," says Jarrod McCabe from independent property advisor group Wakelin.
"You can get them in the northern suburbs, and probably less so in the western suburbs, but the quality and the size of the individual apartments is typically better in the eastern, south-eastern and bayside suburbs."
Think Kew, Hawthorn, inner parts of Camberwell, South Yarra, Prahran, Armadale, Malvern, St Kilda East, Caulfield and Elsternwick. Typically, McCabe says you might expect to pay anywhere from $800,000 for three-bedroom apartments, which are in short supply.
For value he recommends looking close to Kew junction, in streets such as Derby, Gladstone, Walpole and Brougham - all within walking distance to shops and supermarkets. "But if you venture further north towards the Chandler freeway that's where you start to see good value, past the big roundabout where Willsmere Road is."
But for sheer numbers of post-war apartments, suburbs such as Elwood, St Kilda, Caulfield North and East St Kilda rule, says Gary Peer of Gary Peer & Associates.
"Those homes that were built in that era are mostly very solid in construction and they're also often very generous in terms of their proportions."
2 bedrooms, 1 bathroom, 1 car space
While its address states its on one of Melbourne's busiest roads, you'll feel far away from the rat race in this spacious, top floor art-deco apartment that fronts the quieter Hampden Road. The kitchen opens to a separate dining space leading to a larger living zone which can be closed off by double glass doors. Two large bedrooms with built-in wardrobes are off the central hallway. Polished timber floorboards and high ceilings throughout add to the period detailing. It is close to city-bound trams and High Street cafes and Malvern Central are a 15 minute stroll away.
Auction: 11.30am, December 2
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.