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Sam Hobbs: St Kilda is Returning to its Glamour Days

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Editor Belle Kwan speaks to Sam Hobbs, a specialist in prestige homes in St Kilda, on why the iconic suburb is seeing a strong revival as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Belle Kwan: St Kilda is one of Melbourne’s most recognised suburbs, although it is not often regarded as an area for luxury homes. What is it like selling prestige properties in such a colourful area?

Sam Hobbs: St Kilda is easily one of my favourite suburbs in Melbourne, and specifically because of the colour, character and stories that this place holds, and the variety of properties that it has to offer. Truth be told, 2018 and 2019 were challenging years for St Kilda’s prestige homes, and I dare say even the past decade was tough. People who are not from St Kilda or surrounding areas have a preconceived notion of what the suburb is like, and have various reasons and excuses why they won’t buy property here. However, people who know and love St Kilda will attest to what a warm, welcoming and exciting area of Melbourne it is to live in, and why people from all around the world are drawn to this suburb.

While a large majority of real estate in St Kilda are apartments, the suburb is also home to some of the most beautiful luxury and period homes that sit on very generous blocks of land, something you won’t find in vicinities like Albert Park, Middle Park or Windsor, and at prices that you would not come across in suburbs like Elwood and Brighton. And it is these unique characteristics of St Kilda that have grabbed people’s attention over the last six months.

Belle Kwan: What was it about the COVID-19 pandemic and restrictions in place that made St Kilda appealing to luxury homebuyers?

Sam Hobbs: I have seen a flurry of sales of St Kilda prestige homes in the past month, and the demand for them is stronger than I have ever seen in my past decade of real estate experience. For almost three months, Melburnians were faced with restrictions of moving only within 5km, and even now, as restrictions are lifting, the possibility of international and interstate travel is still very grey. This has forced people to take a hard look at where they live, what is immediately available to them within their vicinity, and to make changes as to where they would like to be based.

I believe that St Kilda ticks all the right boxes for people looking for a comfortable and luxurious family home of good value, but also with all the lifestyle amenities right on their doorstep. From the beach and countless parks, gardens and playgrounds to some of Victoria’s best cafes, restaurants and shopping villages, everything is literally a hop and skip away.

Prestige properties in the area are also extremely rare, which means they will continue to hold their value into the future. Most of them are pristinely maintained period homes with so much rich history, and we see such a variety – from 1800s Georgian homes to Victorian and Edwardian classics … I have a stunning Spanish Mission property on the market as we speak. Most of these homes were built as holiday houses back in St Kilda’s glory days, so they often include a lot of accommodation and plenty of space for entertaining and working from home.

Belle Kwan: St Kilda is currently undergoing a bit of a face lift. How will these new developments and additions uplift the suburb?

Sam Hobbs: There is so much happening in St Kilda that will truly revitalise the suburb. The Espy reopened last year and queues were snaking around the block every weekend prior to lockdown restrictions. We have the new Pride Centre and the very funky QT Hotel moving into Fitzroy Street in the very near future. We’ve had two series of The Block filmed in St Kilda. And of course there is a new Saint Moritz luxury development that’s coming along.

The flow-on effects from all these exciting additions to St Kilda will mean higher foot traffic, a greater demand for premium food and beverage options and the need for quality retailers to service this new influx of people to the suburb. I truly believe that St Kilda will have her glamorous past restored, where she will once again become that iconic beachside suburb that people want to be seen in and want to call home.

 

Sam Hobbs is a property partner at The Agency, specialising in St Kilda, St Kilda West, St Kilda East and surrounding areas. Sam can be contacted on 0404 164 444 or [email protected]


 

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