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North is the new black

There is no denying the inner south of Melbourne’s residential property market, such as Prahran, Port Melbourne, Windsor and St Kilda, has seen consistent popularity and growth over recent years. And whilst it remains true that these areas are still experiencing strong property appeal, there has more recently been a distinct shift to developing inner urban areas toward the north of the Yarra River with apartments in areas such as Brunswick East and Northcote becoming increasingly popular amongst investors.

Quite simply, north is the new black.

Location, location

According to Charter Keck Cramer*:

‘Locations with more attractive attributes have greater attraction for residential apartment dwellers. For example, Melbourne’s largest apartment markets are within the central and inner-city suburbs, which enjoy multiple attractive location features.’

Whilst areas to the south of the Yarra may enjoy easy access to the coast, areas in the inner north enjoy their own attractions.

Northcote, for example, is only five kilometres to the Melbourne CBD and its village-like feel comes to life through its boutiques, cafés, bars, restaurants, eclectic retail and all the day-to-day conveniences that make a suburb feel like home.

Similarly, Brunswick East is located within close proximity to Melbourne CBD (4km), as well as a number of park and recreation spaces such as Princes Park, Royal Park and the Melbourne Zoo.

These locations also play host to some of Melbourne’s best restaurants and night spots, creating a sense of atmosphere and buzz which in turn is driving the popularity and demand of these suburbs.

With easy access to multiple public transport options, Melbourne’s inner northern suburbs are well connected, ticking all the boxes for potential renters. Northcote, alone, has five train stations within its boundaries.

A new way of life

As people flock to these northern hotspots, pushing a continued shift in demand towards city fringe lifestyle suburbs, the scope for continued development of higher density dwellings in these areas is extended.

Charter Keck Cramer reports:

‘It is anticipated that apartment living will become an increasingly preferred choice for many households in Melbourne over the long term for a range of economic, social, environmental and demographic reasons.’

As the nature of the household structure continues to change, with the fastest growing segments being singles and couples without children, it becomes clearer why apartment living is increasingly becoming a more favoured option.

As John Hopkins has said on many occasions, when a property purchaser is weighing up their prerequisites in terms of what they want out of their investment, there are some fundamentals they are often not willing to comprise on, such as location, access to amenities or price. However, the one thing investors are progressively shifting on is the size of the property, hence the shift towards apartment living.

This, along with a significant acceptance of living in apartments by all generations (perhaps in part caused by increased exposure to apartment living in international cities) tips the balance favourably toward apartments from a demand sense.

Number crunching

Whilst location remains a force in determining demand, and is an important factor in property investment considerations, it is also important to consider other contributing factors such as population growth and demographics.

According to Urbis, the population in Northcote is forecast to increase from 25,800 in 2015 to 32,900 in 2036, representing 28% growth in the number of residents. Forecast population growth is indicative of growing demand for dwellings as new residents require residential properties.

Similarly, the ABS reports that the population in Brunswick East in 2006 was 7,412 people. By 2011, the population was 8.484 showing a populating growth of 14% in the area during that time. And this growth is set to continue, especially in the younger rental and first home buyer market with such easy access to the city’s best universities and hospitals – on top of the enviable lifestyle opportunities.

These statistics help provide insight into future demand of apartments in these areas, as well as the varying groups who are drawn to living in these areas, thereby providing some understanding into the type of tenant you may expect.

It is important to note this article does not form an exhaustive list of considerations for would be investors and it remains prudent to seek advice before making investment decisions. The Hopkins Group currently has a number of Recommended Properties located within Melbourne’s inner north.

For more information on these properties or to discuss the content of this article further, please call 1300 726 082 and ask to speak with one of our Property Investment Advisers.


*Abbotsford Apartment Market Context and Project Assessment Summary, Charter Keck Cramer

Image: Barry – High Street, Northcote

This blog post was written on behalf of The Hopkins Group (John Hopkins Property Pty Ltd). This blog post contains general advice only, which has been prepared without taking into account the objectives, financial situation or needs of any person. You should, therefore, consider the appropriateness of the information in light of your own objectives, financial situation or needs.

The importance of landlords insurance

Generally, when you own your own home, taking out insurance on your property is something that is done without a second thought. However, many who purchase an investment property may not think about taking out landlords insurance – and may not necessarily see its value until too late.

At The Hopkins Group, we encourage all of our landlords to take out landlords insurance. While many landlords are aware that a building must be insured, and do organise building insurance themselves, what many don’t realise is that this type of insurance does not provide a comprehensive level of cover which may be needed.

Some landlords can be under the impression that contents should be covered by the tenant’s contents insurance – which is correct for the tenant’s personal belongings. However, unfortunately things such as flooring and window furnishing are sometimes also considered contents for the purposes of building insurance coverage, but not under the tenant’s content insurance policy.

Standard home buildings and contents policies also do not usually provide cover for two of the most significant risks facing landlords — malicious or international damage by tenants and failure to pay rent.

While most tenants take good care of the property they are leasing, those that don’t may intentionally cause extensive damage.  Intentional damage is also not generally covered by a standard home insurance or body corporate policy either.

Another key difference between landlords insurance and regular building insurance is that as a landlord, you can claim loss of rent with landlords insurance.  Loss of rent coverage includes situations such as where a property is untenantable, tenants absconding, there is a default of rent, no vacant possession, death of a sole tenant, malicious damage, murder and suicide just to name a few. There are many landlords insurance providers in the market, so it pays to shop around and do your research. One provider that many of our clients use is Property Insurance Plus. As a result of our relationship with Property Insurance Plus, we are able to share an offer available exclusively for our clients for both Building and Landlords Loss of Rent Insurance. Our property management team believe this offer will help make your residential property investment more secure, and save you money, whether or not you have Landlords Insurance already.

Your exclusive benefit is a 14 month cover for just 12 months premium, i.e. two months free insurance for both landlord and building cover, a further 10% for two or policies and discounted building insurance premiums.

Landlords comprehensive loss of rent- accidental damage is only $287.00* and most importantly, is a tax deductible expense. For only $287.00 for a 14 month cover it really is a piece of mind when renting out your investment property because unfortunately things do happen and you will be prepared in any event.

For further information on landlords insurance, or to find out more about this offer, please call 1300 726 082 and ask to speak to a property portfolio manager today.

*These benefits are for Landlords cover only – NOT building insurance. Please contact Property Insurance Plus if you require a quote for building insurance. Please refer to the Product Disclosure Statement for complete details of terms and conditions of cover.

Budget 2016-17: Let’s break it down

What did you get up to last night? Dinner on the couch? Bath the kids? Bit of Masterchef on the television? Not for the finance die-hards at The Hopkins Group.

As the clock ticked over to 7.30pm last night, our team of committed finance enthusiasts was busily preparing to watch, take notes and analyse the potential impacts of the Liberal Government’s budget for 2016-17. Of most interest were the proposed changes that could impact our clients and their wealth management strategies.

The hype and sensationalised media that we have endured over the past couple of weeks was soon to be realised.

As discussed in our recent roundtable discussion, negative gearing has been hot on the agenda but the Liberal Government chose to leave it untouched in next year’s budget. What they have done though – and of most concern to our clients – is to introduce significant changes to superannuation caps. This will mean clients will become restricted in the way in which they can build wealth within the superannuation environment.

To keep this short and sweet – as we assume your inbox has been flooded with other post budget debriefs – we have provided a list of key superannuation and taxation issues that were addressed in last night’s announcement.

The proposed effective date for all is set at 1 July 2017 for all but one key change; the lifetime cap for non- concessional superannuation contributions came into effect at 7.30 pm (AEST) 3 May 2016.


  • Contribution caps
    • Concessional (reduction in caps)
    • Non-Concessional (life time limits introduced)
  • Catch-up concessional contributions
  • Tax deduction for super contributions extended
  • Super contributions tax – high income earners
  • Removal of work test
  • Removal of the maximum earnings test
  • Retirement income balance cap of $1.6m
  • Transition to retirement
  • Low Income superannuation tax offset (LISTO)
  • Low Income tax offset spouse threshold
  • Anti-detriment



  • Company tax cut
  • Small business tax discount increase and extension
  • Small business entity turnover threshold increase
  • Small business $20,000 instant asset tax write-off extended
  • Simpler Business Activity Statements (BAS)
  • Targeted amendments to Division 7A


  • Change to income tax thresholds
  • Increased Medicare low income thresholds
  • Medicare levy income threshold and rebate pause extended
  • Childcare subsidy delayed
  • Reversal of decision to remove backdating of veterans’ disability pension claims
  • HECS

There’s so much detail within each of these points and we encourage you to book in with your adviser on 1300 726 082 to discuss how your personal circumstances could be affected – especially in relation to wealth creation.

What’s your next move?

In the meantime, an easy way to get your head around the budget and what it means in the grand scheme of things, is to register for #ECON16, our annual economic briefing on Thursday 19 May at ACMI, Federation Square. Scott Fletcher, Director – Client Investment Strategies, Russell Investments will be our keynote speaker on the night and we look forward to hearing his response to Budget 2016-17.

Find out more about #ECON16

Further reading

Budget website


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The Hopkins Group

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Level 23, 500 Collins Street, Melbourne, VIC 3001

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