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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: The Inside Perspective

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!


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


Bond Yield Update: February

official yields on australian treasury bonds 2016While many media outlets paint a rather bleak and uncertain future for the world economy, long-term bond yields in Australia finished 2016 higher than at any other point throughout the year.

This is even more impressive considering that the cash rate (which has a strong correlation with bond yields) was cut twice for a total of 50 basis points over 2016. Figure 1 shows how much long-term rates increased towards the end of last year and into 2017. Yields on 10-year Australian government bonds have increased by 74 basis points since September and nearly 100 points since the last interest rate cut in August. 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 Ideal Ratio of Indoor Space to Land Size in Townhouses

Diagram showing the ideal density of a townhouse in terms of its ratio of outdoor space to indoor space

What is the ideal ‘density’ of a townhouse development?

Across inner Melbourne, townhouse developments are becoming increasingly common. With limited block sizes closer to the city, developers have to constantly negotiate the size of the actual house with the amount of land available. Because of these varying levels of building density, Secret Agent wanted to find out if there was a ‘sweet spot’ in the ratio between indoor area and land area. Are we paying more for a certain ratio? 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