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

Category Archives For: Random Thoughts

The Secret Agent Report – Drift

We have just released our latest Secret Agent report!

The buying process is far less personal than what it used to be. Algorithms determine a lot of what we see when it comes to searching online – we are presented with options with little effort. By relying on smarter algorithms we miss out on both randomness and serendipity which have always played a role in human affairs. We may be able to find things more quickly but we are limiting ourselves in the act of ‘surprise’. Often we don’t know what we want until we come across it by accident.

Secret Agent believes that in the digital age we are in, random encounters are more important that ever. In this report, we will discuss the concept of drift to help explain how buying things like property can be best done by going outside the normal rules and routines of your life and embracing some randomness.

Access the Drift report now!


The Secret Agent Report: Colour

We have just released our latest Secret Agent report!

It is long known that colour psychology is a thing when it comes to advertising. In other words, the colours used in promotional materials matter as they evoke different emotions from the consumer. This may make them more or less likely to buy something.

This made Secret Agent wonder if the overall image colour of photos used in sale campaigns had an effect on property sale results in inner Melbourne. In this report, we discover what tone of images used in real estate marketing campaigns are best for the sale price of a property.

Access the Colour report now!

The Secret Agent Report: Wildlife

We have just released our latest Secret Agent report!

There are various types of open space and not all of them are equal in terms of the value they provide. If you had to choose out of being close to Carlton cemetery versus Royal Park, which is only on the other side, most would choose Royal Park. Similarly, most would prefer to be next door to a vacant block full of neatly manicured plants compared to just a vacant block of land. Other than the obvious aesthetic differences, what else could make Royal Park more attractive to the cemetery?

Secret Agent has been pondering this question this month and has hypothesised that it is the wildlife and biodiversity that makes some of our open spaces within Melbourne so special. The more biodiversity, the more connected to nature we feel and the more we are willing to pay for property to be nearby this. It sounds like a far fetched idea but we are not the first to have thought of this. In fact it has been studied quantitatively in America.

This month, Secret Agent discusses wildlife and the potential impact it may have on property value.

Access the Wildlife report now!

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 (

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

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

Baby Boomers

Actively being discussed is the ‘cashing out’ by baby boomers at exactly the same time.

My thoughts have been that suburban homes are really going to come under pressure over the next decade. It’s why we are big believers of the inner city market but not much further out.

Another interesting perspective is here

Enquiry rate lifting

Over the past few weeks we’ve noticed a surge of enquiry for buying.

As people are noticing the better value,  this seems to have created this demand we were not quite expecting.

It seems many are trying to capitalise on the markets uncertainty by avoiding the competitive market of 12 months ago.

We cannot see a surge in prices and this is good news.  It means that you can now afford to be hyper selective out in the market, without the fear of prices increasing if you choose to look ‘a few over’.

The Industry with the Bad Wrap

In terms of Ethics and Honesty,  it seems Real Estate Agents are not improving in public perception.

I’m always a little cautious about polls,  however the latest release by Roy Morgan puts Real Estate Agents at a trust rate of 3% down from 7%.

That’s not a lot of trust out there!

Car Salesman pipped Agents as the worse at 2% while Nurses performed best at 90%.

Certainly Real Estate gets a bad wrap.   Much needs to be done to gain the publics trust.

Transparency with pricing is probably a good start…

From gate keepers of information to just the middle man?

Home owners and property buyers now have access to an abundance of information when it comes to property, like a new RP Data property valuation tool via Facebook. The app will allow Facebook users who visit the site to check the value of their asset from their home.

With the introduction of tools like this and as technology continues to boom, it seems buyers are more well informed than ever, especially when it comes to the property market – sometimes knowing more about what sold for what than the real estate agent.

Not long ago real estate agents could be said to be the ‘gatekeepers’ of information when it came to anything property, especially pricing. Chatting to estate agents who have been in the business a long time, they have noticed a huge change in this over the last decade, thanks to the flood of information and new technology now available to real estate buyers.

This is not to say there is no use for the real estate agent – there certainly is and probably always will be, their role in the property transaction though, has very much changed. No longer do real estate agents hold all the information (and the buyers), their role is much more focussed on the the negotiation side.

The real estate industry is ever changing and very dynamic, it’s important that buyers embrace the new technologies available and use them to their advantage to make informed decisions when it comes to property buying.

Secret rooms, a selling point?

For many years now, we have been finding some ingenious ways to hide ourselves or those thing precious to us, certainly some more interesting than others, like the bookcase that hides a room behind.

Today there are quiet a few homes that incorporate panic rooms, hidden safes and some very interesting hiding spaces – some much like those we see in film. People still request these be built into their property. Hiding places can include small spaces concealing a safe or storage area or even a passage way or whole room.

A selling point to your home? I’m not too sure. Certainly though it may attract some extra attention, however after shown to the public, it’s not really a secret anymore…