How hipsters are changing the property market

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Hipster suburbs are difficult to define – you can’t easily measure the number of fixies or calculate beards per capita.

Yet the trend right now is that buyers are flocking to premium suburbs, which is typical of the early phase of a price cycle – and the areas they are choosing are hip ‘hoods like Newtown in Sydney and Brunswick in Melbourne.

There’s no hipster index, but those areas favoured by young and trendy buyers are now beginning to take off. Picture: Getty

Right now, there is a strong trend in search behaviour on realestate.com.au with property seekers looking more and more at hip, edgy neighbourhoods.

The popularity of these areas is definitely youth driven, these suburbs are relatively cheap for inner suburban areas but also offer some great cafes, restaurants and night life.

Yet the median house price in Newtown is $1.2 million and is in Brunswick $992,000, so these areas are comparatively more affordable than traditionally blue chip suburbs.

While Paddington and South Yarra were once hipster enclaves, they are now just too expensive. 

And while these hip areas offer plenty of amenities, they aren’t exactly places where ageing boomers are choosing to retire; although I am sure there are some exceptions.

The other defining feature of this trend is that these suburbs are in left-leaning electorates and this is one of the main reasons why we have seen Brunswick and Newtown climb up the list of popular suburbs.

The more left-leaning a local government is, the more difficult it is to develop housing.

Hipsters are the ultimate NIMBYs. Ask any developer about getting building approvals in inner left-leaning local government areas and it’s pretty consistent that they are the most difficult. 

For many young buyers, suburbs like Brunswick offer the right kind of ammenities close to the city. Picture: realestate.com.au

Building approvals are far harder to get through in Brunswick than they are in South Yarra and this has restricted housing supply.

For the next hipster ‘burbs, look to where young people are now starting to move – inner-west Melbourne and inner-south Sydney.

No doubt I have noticed this trend far later than the hippest Melbourne crowd, but Footscray and Sunshine are two areas I will be watching closely.

This means higher views per listing and, ultimately, price growth.

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