Preston v Essendon v Box Hill/Blackburn

Ascot Vale gets a bit dodgy around the corner of Union Rd and Epsom Rd and I cannot think of a comparable level of dodginess within a comparable proximity to Blackburn.

This is true. The housing commissions here are probably the worst thing about the moonee valley precinct but on the flip side of you live near them atleast you don't have to pay $6000 for parking when you want to go royal melbourne show.
@ willfong: there are a number of good Asian restaurants in Box Hill but that's not my big concern. Essendon isn't that far from Footscray and Sunshine where I can enjoy authentic Asian (I mean Vietnamese & Chinese) cuisine. I do agree about the amenities that Essendon offers compared with the other suburbs. That's why I preferred buying a house here in the first place.

@ albanga: I would love to be within the walking distance to Essendon station because we take the train to work everyday and it's hard to find a parking spot after dropping off my son at childcare. However, the convenience to local shopping strips in Essendon North can't be denied. Perhaps I will need to expand my house hunting area to Essendon North as well. I will def visit Lamanna and let you know what I think. Just searched for some photos online and the supermarket looks pretty cool.

@ crulj001: I know I really need to drive/walk around the area but it's tough being a full-time working mum with a toddler. Will have to explore the whole area first before making my decision on where to buy here.

@ jingo: we can't afford both properties, that's why I have the dilemma on where has better capital growth. My hubby has a bit in shares but not much.

@ JennyK: Again, as I said, it's a matter of luck. As long as I don't live next door to all of these, I wouldn't be too worried.
The parking at Essendon station can definitely be a pain if you do not get there by 7.40am at the latest. That being said there is a plan for the entire parking area on Russell St to be replaced with a Woolworths and as a result leveled parking be provided and available to passengers. I would be very confident this would resolve all parking issues at this train station.

But this is another reason why I support Essendon North if you were unable to get a property within walking distance of the train station. If you do not buy too far off from Keilor Rd then its a 2 minute walk to the tram which takes you to the station in 5 minutes and the beauty is if you know something is wrong with the trains then just stay on the tram and get into town in 45.
One big difference is public transport availability.

As Blackburn station has both Belgrave line and Lilydale line running past it you will generally not wait more than 5 minutes for a train during peak hours, ie; just rock up and jump on the next train. This makes a huge difference, also travel time to the city is very fast at 20 minutes for an express Box Hill - Richmond.
Ascot Vale gets a bit dodgy around the corner of Union Rd and Epsom Rd and I cannot think of a comparable level of dodginess within a comparable proximity to Blackburn.

I would be surprised if that had any bearing on a decision to buy in Essendon, or even 90% of Ascot Vale which is highly desirable to live in.

Good news about the potential Essendon station parking fix, that has always been a problem.
@ albanga: Great news about the parking and Woolworths plan at Essendon station. Any ideas if it has been approved or just being a proposal? You reckon Essendon North around the Keilor Road is a good location, don't you? The market is so quiet at the moment, no new listings. Hopefully there will be much more listings after the festive season.

@ GoingDHfast: Taking the express train from Box Hill - city doesn't make us feel like Box Hill is that far away and it is a very busy station indeed. However, if something happens with the train, driving to city is a pain I guess. After reading through this thread, Essendon is def my choice.

@ tone1: Agree. That wouldn't deter me from buying in Essendon. The housing commissions are everywhere around the city - Fitzroy, Kensington, Flemington, and any affordable suburbs close to the city are somehow close to these housing commissions as well.
La Ngoc, you seem to be chasing your tail a little and perhaps you need to separate your investment goals from your lifestyle aspirations. A PPOR is primarily a lifestyle choice and technically isn't an asset.

In light of the fact that you enjoy living in Essendon and have pointed out many of its positive attributes (I agree with you by the way), and you are seeking to grow your wealth, perhaps the answer is to keep renting in Essendon and invest in a suburb in which you and your partner think will achieve greater capital growth over time.

It is possible to build a portfolio of investment properties first, before you buy your PPOR. Have a read of this interview

That way, you can put your investors hat on and select suburbs to buy in with the aim of achieving superior capital growth. Your own lifestyle requirements will be conveniently removed from the equation.

Remember though, capital growth is never a certainty and sometimes picking the highest growth suburb, next big thing etc doesn't mean that growth will transpire as you expect. If you read through other threads, you will see that active investors generate their own equity by adding value to the properties they purchase by renovating or developing.

Conversely, buying a PPOR in an area with historically strong capital growth has advantages. You can use the equity generated in the PPOR to invest and if you sell, you won't pay capital gains tax.

Regards Jason.