Sally Capp is Melbourne's next lord mayor

Christine McGinn

Melbourne's mayor-elect Sally Capp is the first woman to take the top job in almost three decades.

The Property Council of Victoria boss, who took leave during her campaign, has been named as Melbourne's next lord mayor after winning 53.05 per cent of the votes in the by-election.

Businesswoman Jennifer Yang fell short of victory, securing just 46.95 per cent of the votes for the coveted $193,000 job.

The Victorian Electoral Commission result came about an hour after the counting began on Friday night.

Ms Capp said in a statement to The Age she was "humbled and grateful to have received the support of Melburnians" who elected her.

"The hard work starts now," she said.

"I'm committed to building on the two pillars of community and prosperity, with a plan for an even better Melbourne."

She said in the statement after the announcement, she will start day one in in the job "without obligation to any political party or lobby group".

"My only obligation is to good outcomes for Melbourne and Melburnians," she is reported to have said.

Ms Capp will become the third woman to take the city's top job with Lecki Ord holding office in 1987-88 and Winsome McCaughey in 1988-89.

She campaigned to tackle homelessness, population growth and proposed a $250 million elevated walking path from Federation Square to Docklands.

Ms Capp secured the victory from 13 other candidates who threw their hat in the ring after former lord mayor Robert Doyle resigned, strenuously denying allegations from colleagues of misconduct.

An independent inquiry later found he sexually harassed two women and the council was an unsafe workplace for them.

Acting lord mayor Arron Wood congratulated Ms Capp on Twitter after the result.

"Fantastic win! Look forward to welcoming you to Town Hall & working together to keep Melbourne one of the world's most liveable cities. If you find a bombers scarf in your new office please drop it back, I'm just down the hall," he wrote.

The Victorian Electoral Commission said the results were provisional until the candidate is declared elected on Monday and it is understood she will be sworn into the role on Thursday at Melbourne's Town Hall.