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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

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


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


How much value does a balcony add to an apartment?

Diagram showing that balconies cost 2800 per square metre in 1 bedroom apartments and add up to 11.7 percent more to its sale price

This week, we take a closer look at balconies and other types of outdoor area in apartments. While no doubt desirable, many developers are uncertain how much value outdoor space will create for them. This was reflected in our Supply report, which showed that outdoor space for both one and two bedroom apartments being planned in Melbourne was barely above the minimum suggested in the Victorian Government’s recent apartment design standards draft. Read the full post


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


Melbourne, Docklands and Southbank: Capital Growth of Apartments

Secret Agent’s apartment capital growth index tracks price changes of the same apartments over time. Rather than simply using average price changes, basing the index on resales gives a better measure of true capital growth. The index tracks how apartment prices change when buying off the plan, as well as all subsequent sales of the property. This bulletin takes a closer look at apartments in Melbourne CBD, Docklands and Southbank. Note that when talking about annualised growth rate, we are referring to converting the growth rate over one quarter to an annual figure.

Since 2009, CBD and Southbank apartments have been growing in value at about the same rate, with the CBD slightly ahead for all but the first quarter of 2016 (Figure 1). Since the end of 2011, CBD apartments have grown in value by an annual average of 2.83%. while Southbank apartments by 2.60%. Over the whole time period, Docklands growth was well below the other two suburbs, averaging 1.40% over the past five years.

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Airbnb: 8 Tips for New Hosts

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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.

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