Many Melbourne first-home buyers aim to build or buy a home closer to the CBD to avoid commute from the south-eastern suburbs, and four areas stood out for being popular among property seekers, according to a new data from the State Revenue Office.

The data includes the number of applications for first-home buyer grants or stamp duty concessions or exemptions by postcode in Victoria between January and March in 2019.

The report showed that suburbs of postcode 3064, including Craigieburn, Kalkallo, Mickleham, and Roxburgh Park – 29 kilometres north of the city – had more applications for the first-home buyer grants than other places in the metropolitan area.

These northern suburbs had 278 grant applications, higher than the 247 applications in the outer south-eastern suburbs of Cardinia and Clyde — more than 50 kilometres from central Melbourne. These suburbs fell from the top position they held at the same time in 2018.

“People are voting with their feet. It’s all about the time it takes to get from work to home,” Buyers’ Advocate Cate Bakos of Cate Bakos Property told Domain.

She also said that purchasers were turning their attention to cheaper house prices in these northern suburbs, which allowed first-home buyers to access the grants or discounts. In addition, buyers were able to shun the need to pay stamp duty altogether if the house was valued under $600,000.

There was a move towards the northern suburbs over the past six to eight months, according to Wendy Chamberlain, buyers’ and sellers’ advocate.

“They’re definitely buying based on a budget under $600,000,” Chamberlain told Domain.

Data also revealed that Craigieburn area had the most applications for first-home buyer stamp duty concessions or exemptions. These stamp duty discounts usually apply to homes older than five years and worth less than $750,000.

Craigieburn logged 293 of these applications between January and March. Point Cook and Werribee followed with 240. Hoppers Crossing, Tarneit, and Truganina, meanwhile, held the third spot with 228 applications.

In regional cities, the outer Geelong suburbs of Armstrong Creek, Freshwater Creek, and Mount Duneed continued to have most applications for first-home buyer grants with 119 applications between January and March.

Ballarat, though, topped the roster in terms of the number of applications for concessions or discounts on stamp duty.