A hidden gem set between fast-developing suburbs, Ringwood East is desired for its peaceful environment and family-friendly amenities.
Covering just 4.6sq km, it has easy access to sought-after state and private schools, transport links, shops, parks, reserves and major medical facilities.
It is little wonder that Ringwood East properties are tightly held and prices are soaring as homeowners are reluctant to sell up and move.
“Ringwood East residents tend to stay longer … it is a hidden jewel and has fewer homes for sale than Ringwood.”
Farmlands to leafy estates
European settlement in the Ringwood area began in the mid-1800s and the region was developed mainly for farms and orchards, and later mining.
Early Ringwood landmarks included the Burnt Bridge Hotel on the Maroondah Highway and the Club Hotel, followed by an antimony mine that closed in 1892. The Ringwood East Post Office opened around 1902.
There were 257 residents in Ringwood East in 1921, and it was only in the 1920s that a railway station was established for the electric train service.
At the same time, the 60-block East Ringwood Estate was released for residential development and a primary school on the corner of Everard and Holland Roads was opened.
The post-war years saw rapid housing development, and in the early 1950s, shops were built along the railway line and an Anglican church was established. A second primary school, Eastwood, and the Tintern Church of England Girls' Grammar school were also opened.
Excellent schools within the postcode or in adjoining Heathmont, Croydon and Ringwood, give families many options for children’s education from a young age.
“The schools here are fantastic and have a good reputation and offer a nurturing environment,” Ms Birchall said.
Within Ringwood East, there are excellent primary schools such as Tinternvale Primary and Eastwood Primary, and also Eastwood Primary School & Deaf Facility.
The suburb is also home to sought-after Tintern Grammar, a co-ed school catering to students from Prep to Year 12 and set on a large campus.
Nearby, Aquinas College and Ringwood Secondary College also have students who live in Ringwood East. For those going to private schools further away, the train line is handy.
Just 25km from the city, the suburb is in the centre of the City of Maroondah. In 2020, the estimated population was just over 11,000.
It has a tight supply of properties for sale and rent, with just 31 rental and 46 sale listings on November 17, 2021, on realestate.com.au.
The median house price is edging towards the $1 million mark and was $977,500 in the 12 months to November 2021, while the median unit price was $675,000.
Houses fetch an average $450 a week with an annual rental yield of 2.4 per cent and units rent for $393 a week with a 3 per cent rental yield.
While there has been more development of units and townhouses in recent years, Ringwood East is dominated by houses.
There is a wide range of houses, from older-style weatherboard properties to stylish contemporary homes on good-sized blocks, often with beautiful landscaped gardens.
House sales have tightened in the past decade, with 125 transactions in 2012 and a median price of $480,000 falling to 104 sales reported in both 2018 and 2019.
In 2020, the median price was $860,400 with just 78 house sales, according to realestate.com.au data.
And in the 12 months to September 2021, the median price rose to $951,500 based on 108 house sales in the suburb, deemed a high demand market.
More sellers have also turned to auctions instead of private sales as the suburb has been recording high clearance rates.
In the first quarter of 2020, Ringwood East recorded a 100 per cent auction clearance rate, a top performer in Melbourne at the time.
In 2021, Barry Plant agents reported strong results from both auctions and private sales, with multiple buyers and bidders per property listing, and many sellers rewarded with six-figure windfalls above their expectations.
Auction campaigns have also been reduced from the usual four to two or three weeks because of the strong demand, and many homes are also sold without a marketing campaign because agencies such as Barry Plant have a large pool of buyers.
“Many are locals and there are also buyers moving from closer to the city or from the western suburbs,” Ms Birchall said.
“They see the many benefits in the suburb such as the schools, leafy streets and train station.”
Greenery, public spaces and shops
There are plenty of opportunities for an active indoor or outdoor lifestyle in Ringwood East.
Several reserves are spread across the suburb, with the largest being Wombolano Park while ovals and tennis courts are located at the East Ringwood Reserve.
Ringwood Lake with its playground, barbecue facilities, plus walking and cycling track, is popular with fitness enthusiasts and picnickers.
There is also Gracedale Park boasting oval and tennis courts, picnic areas and a playground, close to the Cheong Wildflower Sanctuary.
Nearby, Aquanation offers easy access to gym and pool facilities, attracting those keen to enrol for lessons, group fitness and personal training.
Karralyka is an award-winning building with excellent facilities and services for live theatre, corporate events, functions, receptions and conventions.
With its own footy team, the East Ringwood Roos, who compete in the Eastern Football League, the suburb also has cricket and tennis clubs and is within easy reach of excellent golf courses.
A shopping strip offers supermarkets, grocery outlets and beauty salons, while Eastland Shopping Centre and Costco are a quick drive away.
A major public hospital serves the area, with Maroondah Hospital opening in 1976 to cope with population growth and complement Box Hill Hospital, while Ringwood Private Hospital and medical centres also serve the community.
The Melbourne CBD is an easy commute via the Eastern Freeway or the train line, while the Yarra Valley, Dandenong Ranges and Mornington Peninsula are also accessible for a getaway.