Data from realestateVIEW shows the greatest number of online search enquiries in both the rental and sales sector were for CBD-adjacent areas like South Yarra and Richmond, as well as desirable eastern suburbs like Hawthorn and Brighton.
St Kilda also proved popular among renters, while Kew appealed to many buyers.
RealestateVIEW general manager Petra Sprekos said these areas offered lifestyle factors as well as city access.
“These are the areas that offer renters a lot of benefits and amenities. If people work in the CBD, it means being in close proximity to work, shops and public transport,” she said.
Traditionally, these areas tend to be highly sought-after, she suggested.
However, with a median buy-in of over $1 million for houses in most of these suburbs, Ms Sprekos warned many buyers may be priced out.
“Whether people actually buy in those areas is a different story,” she said.
“In particular, while first home buyers rent in the inner areas, they can't actually afford the mortgage repayments.”
As a result, she believes increasing numbers of first-time buyers are opting to buy in the outer ring while continuing to rent in the inner city.
“One tactic that a lot of first home buyers are using is to buy in outer areas and still live in the inner areas and rent,” she said.
This way, people can maintain their lifestyle while getting a foothold in the market, receiving rental income and benefitting from negative gearing, Ms Sprekos explained.
“I think that points to what is happening in the market at the moment with affordability being a big issue,” she said.