Croydon’s main strip with its bustling cafes and shops is adding to a long list of benefits of living in the foothills suburb.
Its homes have been popular with locals and buyers from surrounding suburbs, but are now attracting more interest from afar.
With a median price still under $1 million and prices rising strongly, many first-home buyers, upsizers and families are making the move into the area and adjoining suburbs.
The outer-east suburb with plenty of green spaces, quiet leafy streets and good access to the city, also serves as a gateway to the Yarra Valley attractions and Dandenong Ranges.
It has the ideal balance between the bustling development of nearby Ringwood and the rural areas further afield.
With a wide variety of shopping options, quality schools and a family-friendly environment, Croydon’s house prices are expected to grow strongly due to limited supply.
“It has everything to offer new residents, including a great location and is value for money,” Barry Plant Croydon agent Nathan Hick said.
“Many inner-city buyers who are able to work from home are moving here for the spacious houses and greenery.”
Croydon’s appeal lies in the semi-rural and relaxed environment where parks, walking paths and cycling trails are complemented by urban amenities.
Still affordable but supply limited
Among those selling are downsizers and retirees who are moving interstate or to regional areas, as well as first-home buyers who are upsizing within the suburb.
Croydon is an established area without any major parcels left for new housing estates, though nearby Mooroolbark will soon have a new mini-suburb called Kinley, the site of a former quarry.
Croydon still boasts many desirable old family homes including period properties with well-maintained gardens and ample living spaces.
Dated homes from the 1970s and 1980s are sought after for renovation or demolition, and newer estates feature contemporary townhouses and apartments.
Since the 1990s, the suburb’s housing density and type have evolved, with more dual-occupancy blocks being developed on former single-dwelling sites.
These blocks have been turned into subdivisions for townhouses and units, and have attracted many investors and developers to the area.
Townhouses are popular with first-home buyers and downsizers and can fetch prices from $600,000-plus to $1 million.
Homeowners tend to stay for long periods in the suburb, with the average hold period at 12.9 years.
In the longer term, without major land banks for new estates, homeowners can expect strong price growth in the area.
Agricultural origins, orchards and markets
The suburb’s modern history dates to the 1840s when settlers used the land for grazing. It was first called White Flats after the coarse silvery-white grass in the area.
It then became Croydon when the Lacey family named it after the town in England. The area was soon developed for sawmills and sheep, beef and dairy farming, followed by orchards of apples, cherries and pears.
A rail track through to Lilydale was built in 1882 and a station called Warrandyte was opened but it was renamed Croydon train station two years later. Shops, a hotel and a post office were added, and Croydon became a town in 1912.
For decades, a popular market operated in the suburb, offering live animals, chickens, birds and other small animals, but it later closed. Croydon Park now hosts a monthly farmers market.
Part of the Shire of Lilydale, Croydon covers 14sq km and was proclaimed as the City of Croydon in 1971.
It merged with Ringwood into the City of Maroondah in 1994. In 2020, its population was estimated at 29,931 and it is the largest suburb in the council area.
Something for all residents
The main shopping village is a busy hub with many businesses, ranging from cafes, and eateries, boutiques and hairdressers to supermarkets and bakeries.
Locals can frequent Main Street and Arndale Shopping Centre or drive to larger shopping precincts nearby at Eastland in Ringwood or in Chirnside Park.
With a bar and multiple screens, Croydon Cinema is a popular destination for those who enjoy arthouse and mainstream films..
The suburb is home to many churches, and is also well-served with public amenities such as the Wyreena Community Arts Centre, a community radio station and library. It also hosts the popular Maroondah Festival that often features international acts.
Leisure facilities are easily accessible at Croydon and Eastfield parks, Dorset Reserve, Croydon Memorial Pool and Dorset Golf Course. Aquahub offers gym, swimming and stadium facilities.
There is ample public transport in the area, including trains and bus services, while Maroondah Highway links up with EastLink and the Eastern Freeway.
Quality education with ample choice
The variety of public, private and independent schools in the suburb or within easy access, draws families to Croydon.
Younger children can choose from Croydon Primary, Ruskin Park Primary, Ainslie Parklands Primary, Sacred Heart Primary, Dorset Primary and Good Shepherd Lutheran Primary schools.
For secondary education, the suburb is home to Croydon Community School, which offers young people an alternative school experience in a nurturing environment.
A state school called Melba Secondary opened in 2013 and has state-of-the-art facilities. Students can also access nearby Yarra Hills Secondary, the independent and well-established Luther College, and popular Yarra Valley Grammar.
For higher education and trades skills, the Swinburne University of Technology’s Croydon campus is well-equipped and centrally located.