A booming market. There’s no doubt about it. The suburb of East Victoria Park in Perth has reaped the benefits of the national property boom in the last couple of decades. Local real estate agent, Jay Wood of PFR Real Estate remembers when $200,000 was considered an extraordinary price to be paying for a home in the area 20 years ago. “I remember when it was remarkable for a timber framed workers’ cottage on Willis Street to change hands for $200k,” says Jay. “Now we’re seeing similar properties selling for up to $1 million.” Demand for this type of character home has been so strong that “East Vic” has overtaken neighbouring Kensington as one of the most desirable inner city suburbs in Perth.
Urban renewal. What’s the secret to East Vic’s success as the suburb of choice for young professionals and families in Perth? Jay puts it down to the joint appeal of Albany Highway, the local café and restaurant hub, and the large number timber framed workers’ cottages in a heritage protected area known as the Weatherboard Precinct. And with new timber framed extensions, buyers have found a convenient, cost-effective way to transform these two bedroom cottages into spacious, stylish family homes. “Many of the blocks are small, around 430m2, so adding a second storey is really popular,” says Jay. “I’ve seen one cottage where they only kept the two front rooms. They built up and back, creating a million-dollar property with four bedrooms, two bathrooms and a retreat upstairs. Frame is usually the construction method for this type of renovation.”
A natural choice. So why is there a movement towards timber framing for renovations now? For a long time, double brick was the preferred choice for building in WA. But with local soil conditions being sandy, slab and brick homes tend to suffer more from cracking than their timber framed counterparts. According to Jay, it’s this natural flexibility of the timber that makes it an increasingly popular material for new builds and renovations alike.
Sustainable living. And it’s not just the character homes that are proving popular with young professional buyers in the area. Several brand new properties in nearby Lathlain are currently available for sale through Jay and PFR. These homes are built using frame, cladding and brick and rated at 9 stars for energy use. Features like a communal vegetable garden and shared bike sheds position homes in this new development as a highly desirable buy for young people who value a sustainable lifestyle. “20 years ago people weren’t keen to live near the railway in Lathlain,” says Jay. “Now they own fewer cars and ride a bike or the train to work. The fact that a property like this reduces greenhouse gas emissions per occupant by 80% is a big incentive for the younger buyers we’re seeing in the property market.”
“We’re seeing younger buyers coming through who are really aware of the cost of resources and want to be using less energy in their homes.”Jay Wood, Real Estate Agent
Jay Wood, PFR Real Estate