High St back in vogue as Melbourne retail strips heat up

High St in Armadale is back in tenants’ and investors’ sights.
High St in Armadale is back in tenants’ and investors’ sights.

Vacancy rates at popular boutique fashion strip High St in Melbourne’s leafy Armadale have dipped to a new low below 3.5%.

The High St shopping precinct in Armadale is seeing significant tightening in rental demand after the vacancy rate more than halved – tumbling from 8.7% in early 2017.

Buoyed by attractive rents and the hub’s blossoming reputation, international fashion suppliers are flocking to the area, according to Teska Carson sales and leasing executive Tom Maule.

“We’re taking the signs down almost as soon as we are putting them up,” he says.

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“There’s an incredible amount of competition for any vacancy.”

Leasing demand in Armadale is currently greater than any other locale in the east and Maule believes the flurry of activity is boosting the fashion strip into the same league as Church St in Brighton and Glenferrie Rd in Hawthorn.

Major brands already available include Mecca Cosmetica, COS, Zimmerman, Bianca & Spencer and are matched with a vibrant cafe scene.

High St Armdale shops

13 shops from 1167-1193 High St, Armadale, were sold in one go for about $25 million.

It is understood several top fashion and homewares brands are currently trying to secure tenancy.

It comes as rents remain affordable, ranging between $600 and $800 per sqm, however Maule says demand and emerging changes in retailers’ needs would inevitably put upward pressure on leases.

“There has been a trend towards smaller footprints with stores who also have an online presence not requiring the same large footprint as they had perhaps previously leased, and that is a further factor attracting new tenants to the precinct,” he says.

The intense competition has also not been lost on investors, with consistent interest in available properties.

In November, the GLG Group acquired 13 shops at 1167-1193 High St for $25 million on a 4% yield.

Other recent rental agreements include furniture retailer Natures Secret leasing a 170sqm shop at 1097 High St on a three-year term at $110,000 per annum, Torrance Clothing snapping up 80sqm at 1085 High St on three-year deal at $65,000 annually, and a national rug retailer signing on for 170sqm at 1008 High St on a five-year term at $98,0000 per annum,