Located 6km north of Melbourne’s CBD with a population of 20,780 (2006 Census). 2287 under 15yrs, 16100 between 15yrs and 65yrs, and 2393 over 65 yrs. Brunswick is home to a mix of nationalities – originally popular with those from Italy, Greece and Malta, and more recently Bosnia, Turkey and other Islamic countries (wikipedia). Its proximity to the CBD and its vibrant atmosphere ensures the area maintains popularity buyers and renters alike. Therefore the split between owner occupiers and those renting is fairly even.
Detached dwellings on generous block sizes, which were once the norm in this area, have been gradually over taken by higher density development as the squeeze of Melbourne’s growing population takes hold. Townhouses and apartments now make up the dominate form of housing and it’s likely this trend will continue.
Brunswick is built around Sydney Rd which is now the major shopping strip and thoroughfare. An area to avoid if you’re intending on commuting through Brunswick at any reasonable speed – the road is always heavy with traffic, however understandably so. The range of shops and businesses in this area outline the character of Brunswick perfectly. Sydney road is like a living historical document of Brunswick’s history, with elements of each era evident in the retail and commercial landscape. It started as a location populated by hotels intended to service miners on their way to and from the gold fields. From this came a range of textile industries – fabric and tailor shops. World war two saw the introduction of late night shopping parades. Migrant families bought their rich range of cuisines to the area and restaurants offering every international delicacy you can imagine established their place on the strip. Today Sydney road lacks nothing – fashion boutiques, cafes, food outlets, markets, fancy fabric shops, two dollar outlets – the choice is abundant and doesn’t just stop at sundown. The night life in Brunswick also has it’s centre around Sydney Rd with live music venues and clubs proving popular with locals and visitors.
Other highlights in Brunswick include Brunswick City Baths and some notable parks in the west of the suburb – Clifton and Gilpin. Transport facilities are good with a number of tram services and Brunswick Train station providing quick access into the CBD.
Close by University campuses attract a significant student population of renters and therefore the demographic in this locality is mainly comprised of a younger population. The Asylum Seeker Welcome Centre is also based in Brunswick and serves as a central ‘welcome’ point for community activity with a role to assist asylum seekers adapt into their new environment.
The real estate landscape also reflects the diverse nature of Brunswick. Period homes – double and single fronted Victorian and Edwardian in style, are a common feature. Old factory Warehouses have been converted into residential apartments and townhouses and have a strong following with a younger demographic of buyers. High rise apartments blocks – both old and new – come in abundance. Some of the streets are beautifully wide and tree lined – others are narrow with limited off street parking and mix of high rise blocks and old single fronted weatherboard cottages. The atmosphere of Brunswick changes street to street. Therefore it’s not an area to concentrate on if you’re looking for a peaceful lifestyle where you can blend in with the surrounds. However if you have a strong sense of individuality, with a love for socialising and eating out, and have grown up with the best of Melbourne’s bohemian cultural identity, you’ll feel right at home in Brunswick.
Home buyers and investors have a range of options to choose from. Period homes – as in all areas of Melbourne – have consistent popularity, and those which have been renovated fetch high prices. Therefore there are good options to value add to older homes for those not afraid to get their hands dirty. Due to close proximity to the CBD, townhouses and apartments are also good options for investment. Apartments tend to sell for lower prices than those in other areas due to the number available. Rental vacancy rates are low, and therefore a well located apartment or townhouse should ensure easy tenancy. With any property type in this locality, it’s important to ensure off street parking facilities are available.
Main Schools –
- Brunswick South PS
- Brunswick East PS (in Brunswick East)
- Brunswick South West PS
- Brunswick North West PS
- Brunswick Secondary College
- Sydney Road Community School
- RMIT University(Campus focusing on Textiles and Printing in Dawson Street).
Transport – Brunswick train station, 5 tram services, and 9 different bus services.
Shopping – Main shopping strip is located on Sydney Rd, however others can be found on Lygon St and Nicholson St.
The majority of housing in the Brunswick area is made up of single and double fronted period Victorian and Edwardian homes. Units and newer style town houses are also common due to an increasing population and growing need for rental accommodation close to the city.