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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: Design

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!


Pools Add At Least $140,000 in Value to a House

Slim Aarons, Nice Pool, 1955

In the past few weeks, we’ve discussed the changing attitudes towards the amount of backyard inner city buyers prefer. We found that the ‘sweet spot’ in the ratio of internal space to land size for period terraces was between 1:0.3 to 1:0.47, however this was likely skewed by larger properties bought by the extremely wealthy. For this section of the market, the focus is on creating a dream sanctuary with the largest block size. Here, where space is no longer a luxury but a given, swimming pools are a common addition to backyards.

As Melbourne skinny dips in and out of summer’s hottest days, Secret Agent thought we’d revisit our research on these cool inner city retreats to find out the value created by having a pool in your house.  Read the full post


The Perfect Ratio of Period Terrace House to Land

Diagram showing the range of ideal land to indoor area ratio in attached and freestanding terraces including an increase in sale price.

Last month, Secret Agent investigated the ‘sweet spot’ in the density of a townhouse. We found that a total indoor area that equalled or slightly exceeded the land area (i.e. 1:1 – 1:1.27) sold at a higher price than denser developments. This time we decided to see what the data says about period homes.  Read the full post


In 2016, We Paid More for Older Apartments

Illustration showing that buyers paid 38 thousand dollars more for low-rise, older apartments in 2016 compared to newer apartments

This week, Secret Agent compares new and old apartments around inner Melbourne to see which were more valuable in 2016.

The sample included 1674 apartment sales across inner Melbourne’s suburbs and the CBD from January to December 2016. New apartments are those built from the 90s onwards, excluding any recent off-the-plan apartment sales. Old apartments include Art Deco units and flats located in 60s to 80s brick buildings. Read the full post


The Price of Better Designed Apartments

Illustration showing an A-grade apartment receiving adequate sunlight, having views outwards, cross-ventilation and sufficient private outdoor space.

How much more are we willing to pay for a cross ventilated, well-lit apartment with a balcony and open views?

In March this year, apartment design standards will be implemented into the Victorian planning system. Apartment design standards will ensure all future apartments in Victoria are desirable, safe, healthy and sustainable. New developments in Victoria will only be permitted a planning permit if they meet these standards. A 2015 community survey found that the top concerns of apartment amenity were “access to daylight, functional space, and natural ventilation”, as well as noise and energy efficiency. (DELWP, 2)

Standards have been made for 16 elements of design: Building setback, functional layout, room depth, windows, storage, noise impacts, energy efficiency, solar access to communal open space, natural ventilation, private open space, communal open space, landscaping, accessibility, building entry and circulation, waste and recycling, integrated water and storm water management.

It is logical to think that better design standards should produce apartments of a higher quality. This in turn should increase the sale price of these apartments. Secret Agent was engaged to determine the price premium of better designed apartments. That is, how much more are consumers willing to pay for an A grade apartment compared to a B grade and C grade apartment? Read the full post


New apartments: What to expect

melbourne-upcoming-apartments-secret-agent

[Click to view image in full size]

Key findings

  • 1 bedroom apartments will be 8% bigger on average.

  • 2 bedroom apartments remain the same size.

  • 3 bedroom apartments will be 4% smaller and remain rare.

  • Little to no 4 bedroom apartments are being proposed.

  • Most apartments meet the minimum balcony size.

Following up on our recent Supply report, Secret Agent wanted to dig deeper into what sort of apartment buildings are being proposed by developers. Using planning permit applications sent to local Melbourne councils, we sampled 1,680 proposed apartments from 34 buildings in 15 suburbs of metropolitan Melbourne.

Read the full post


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