News

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


Category Archives For: Local Interests

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!


Differentiating in the Development Space: Owning Your Own Backyard

Drawing of a man with a cap, holding a beer in one hand, barbecuing sausages with another, standing in his own backyard. The lawn is tagged with a note that says Belongs To Mike.

“They like to know that when they’re barbecuing outside, they’re doing it on their own land.”
– Anthony DePalma

This bulletin is one about ownership, inspired by an article in The New York Times. The piece discussed the supply of property in New Jersey and how developers were pivoting from condominium townhouses to fee simple townhouses; in other words, from property with more common areas and regulations to property that passes on more control to the individual.

Had the location not been revealed, one would almost mistake the article for a report on the current state of housing in Australia. In fact, it was published in 1985. Over 30 years later, Australia is observing the same shift in new developments. The more things change, the more they stay the same. Read the full post


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


The Secret Agent Report – Terraces & Townhouses: Price Per Internal Square Metre

Diagram showing how Secret Agent's price per internal square metre index is calculated compared to the current industry standard

We have just released our latest Secret Agent report!

In this report, Secret Agent proudly presents our Price Per Square Metre Index for period homes and townhouses in inner Melbourne. This is Melbourne’s first price per square metre report based on actual internal usable space, and not land size.

Access the Terraces & Townhouses: Price Per Internal Square Metre report now!


The Secret Agent Report – End of Year Review

We have just released our latest Secret Agent report!

In this issue, we provide a deep overview of the year in terms of the yield curve, apartment price per square metre rates and capital growth, concluding with a wrap up of each area’s performance in 2016.

From all of us at Secret Agent, we wish you a very happy holiday season!

Access the 2016 End of Year Review report now!

secret agent report end of year review 2016


Trump Makes Bond Yields Great Again

A look at the bond market reveals a very large jump in bond yields the day after Trump was elected.

What a year it has turned out to be. From the mild (Western Bulldogs Premiership) to the momentous (Brexit and Trump presidency), 2016 has seen it all. Before discussing more recent events, let’s take a look at how bond yields have been performing since our last update in September. Read the full post


Airbnb: 8 Tips for New Hosts

airbnb_horizontal_lockup_web

Planning on listing your property on Airbnb? Here are a few things new hosts should consider.

1. Location of your property and potential demographic of your guests.

Guests usually plan to stay close to the centre of activity and culture they would like to experience. For example if your property is near a stadium, there’s a high chance your guests may be attending sports events. Think about the biggest demographic of sports attendees and ask yourself the extent of behaviour you would tolerate in your property.

2. De-risk your home against bad apples.

You can request a security deposit prior to the guest’s arrival. Be wary of Instant Bookings, as this does not give you the opportunity to review the guest before they book in their stay. As a final precaution, have your guests sign a contract before they arrive. This can clearly lay out the check-in and check-out dates and times, rules of conduct, deposit refund or any other concerns you may have. While it may put off some guests, those who have nothing to hide should have no problems with signing it.

3. Make sure your home is safe for occupation.

When leasing out your property, it is your property manager’s role to ensure the safety of the premises are kept. If you’re putting up an Airbnb listing, this responsibility falls on you. You’ll need to check that the smoke alarms are working and that heaters (if any) have been serviced in the last 2 years. Make sure that all doors and locks work smoothly in the event that evacuation is necessary. While Airbnb does not conduct any routine inspections on the safety of your property, it’s a simple favour you are doing your guest that may save their life.

4. Check your home insurance coverage for accidents or damage.

You’ll need to fully insure your home against the risk of irresponsible guests causing major damage, as seeking damage compensation from Airbnb is difficult. Read the fine print of Airbnb’s Host Guarantee, and don’t assume it will protect you fully. It also does not cover a refusal to vacate.

Read the full post


Bond Yield Update: September

There are two ways to be a consistent winner in investment: information asymmetry (mostly through insider trading, which is illegal) and holding assets in the long term. Both of these methods are protected from short-term volatility.

The first expects and profits from these movements (often very risky as all public information is already factored in the price), while the latter can safely ignore the daily peaks and troughs, knowing that these will cancel out over a longer period of time. Investing for long-term returns and robustness is the appropriate reason to buy treasury bonds, yet it is very counterintuitive for most of us to ignore weekly or monthly yields (even changes over one year can be irrelevant with the right strategy).

Business Insider recently published a story called “The week is underway and Australian bonds are getting destroyed” with an image of a building being demolished. Yet as the article correctly points out, yields are still below pre-Brexit levels (bond yields rise as prices fall), which was less than three months ago. It can be difficult to separate signal and noise from information when there is such an abundance of data.

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