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The latest happenings in the Melbourne property market. For our Essays and The Secret Agent Report, see our Research page.


Category Archives For: Architecture

The Secret Agent Report – Perceptions of Interiors

We have just released our latest Secret Agent report!

Think about that time you stepped into the modern, sleek room of a display home. You might have felt a little cold, unwelcome, like you didn’t want to dirty anything. Compare this to when you last visited your grandmother’s house. There was a sensed comfort and warmth from the moment you entered. There are times you feel at home in a friend’s house, yet other houses have you feeling more excited to go back to the comfort of your own home.

In this report, Secret Agent discusses how we perceive different kinds of room interiors. There isn’t a one size fits all rule, but our perceptions have potentially significant implications that should be considered by both buyers and vendors in property transactions.

Access the Perceptions of Interiors report now!

Cover image of The Secret Agent Report July 2017 issue, Perceptions of Interiors


Living and Working Under High Ceilings Promotes Creativity

Interior of a warehouse conversion living room with high ceilings, timber floorboards and exposed brick walls

11/109 Oxford St, Collingwood (realestate.com.au)

In real estate, high ceilings are a big selling point. “Soaring”, “towering”; these are common adjectives to describe anything above the average 2.7m ceiling. Besides being a rare feature in most properties, high ceilings are valuable also because of the psychological benefits to the people living or working under them.

High ceilings encourage us to think more freely, enhancing creative thinking.

A study conducted in Texas in 2007 found that 8-feet (2.4metre) ceilings activated confinement-related concepts, while taller 10-feet (3metre) ceilings encouraged better freedom-related tasks. In another experiment, participants in high-ceilinged rooms were able to create more abstract solutions than their low-ceilinged counterparts. Read the full post


DIY Period Home: What Does It Cost?

Illustration of two identical Victorian terraces built in 1880 versus 2016

Last spring, Secret Agent investigated the cost of rebuilding two period homes in inner Melbourne using current technology and materials. Our results below demonstrate that the prices paid for period property fairly represent the quality, history and scarcity of these types of homes in today’s market.

Using real examples of a Victorian terrace and an Edwardian house, we found that recreating these homes from scratch would cost at least $740,000 more than what you would pay for a genuine period home.

While it is possible to build a new home that imitates the defining features of Victorian and Edwardian houses, replacing period character to its full extent is almost impossible to get right. Note that the figures in the analysis of replacement values are conservative estimates only. Read the full post


Better Apartments: Room Depth

This week, we continue to explore the results of our Better Apartments Design Standards study.

One of the factors that had a very high pass rate was maximum room depth. However, given that this standard simply measured whether the depth of habitable space was less than a fixed value (1.5 times the ceiling height, or 9.7m if there is a rear kitchen, see Figure 1), this may not necessarily be a good thing. Smaller apartments are more likely to pass simply because if room dimensions are smaller, apartment depth will naturally be smaller too.

Read the full post


Better Apartments: Room Dimensions

As part of the Victorian Government’s Better Apartments Design Standards, three new rules were introduced for minimum room dimensions. These determine the minimum width and depth of main bedrooms, additional bedrooms as well as minimum size and dimension of living areas. For more detail, refer to our latest report. We sampled 3000 apartments built over the past 6 years in inner Melbourne.

Our research finds that if the new standards were already in place when the apartments were developed, only 7.7% (231 apartments) would have passed the minimum requirements for all three room dimension standards. Read the full post


The Secret Agent Report – Better Apartments: Before There Were Standards

We have just released our latest Secret Agent report!

This month, Secret Agent reviews the quality of apartments built in the last 6 years and compares them with Victoria’s new Better Apartments Design StandardsIf constructed today, how many of these apartments are actually compliant? In which criteria do we observe the highest fail rates?

Access the Better Apartments: Before There Were Standards report now!


7 Reasons Future Apartments Still Disappoint

Size is yet again compromised in the apartments soon to be developed in Melbourne, but not just in terms of their total floor area. Here are 7 primary observations about the upcoming supply of apartments in Melbourne over the next 12 to 18 months.

1. Balconies remain small

Whilst most apartments will have a balcony, many will have one that is too small (less than 8m2 for a single bedroom and 10m2 for a two bedroom apartment).

2. Snorkel bedrooms are common

This L shaped layout is an ineffective way to provide light access to a second bedroom in two bedroom apartments. The snorkel is often too narrow to be habitable and the natural light often does not reach the actual room. These are still a popular option despite the waste of space.Blog-1  Read the full post


Inner Melbourne’s Smallest and Largest Apartments

Map-01

Inner Melbourne’s apartments are getting tinier with each new development. But, how small is small? Secret Agent’s updated apartment index reveals that the average size of a 1 bedroom apartment is only 47sqm, and for the more popular 2 bedroom apartment the average size is 73sqm.

Read the full post