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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

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


The Secret Agent Report – Melbourne’s Supply of New Developments

We have just released our latest Secret Agent report!

Demand is a hot topic in the apartment market at the moment, and assumptions about what buyers want are being made by almost everyone with the right to an opinion. Predicting future demand for a property is one way for investors to estimate the future capital growth of an asset. However, too little attention is paid to the supply side of the equation.

In this report, Secret Agent will move the focus from demand to supply, and forecast Melbourne’s upcoming stock of new developments.

Access the Supply report now!

You can also explore our interactive map of Melbourne’s supply of new apartment and townhouse developments here:

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Inner Melbourne’s Smallest and Largest Apartments

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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.

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Inner Melbourne’s Most Affordable and Expensive Apartments

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Secret Agent has updated its price per square metre index for secondary apartments in inner Melbourne. An additional 478 apartments have been added to the index so that it now consists of a total of 870 apartments which have sold between 1st January 2016 to 30th June 2016. The new average square metre rate for apartments in inner Melbourne is $8,679/sqm.

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The Secret Agent Report – Recreating Period Homes

We have just released our latest Secret Agent report!

The original period homes that remain in Melbourne are frequently purchased for record-setting prices. It is difficult to quantify the value of character, however it is possible to estimate how much these houses are truly worth if we were to build them from scratch today.

This month, Secret Agent investigates the cost of rebuilding two period homes in inner Melbourne. We demonstrate that the prices paid for period property fairly represent the quality, history and scarcity of these types of homes in today’s market

Start reading this report by clicking on the link below:

Register to receive our report monthly and access the Recreating Period Homes report now!


Bride and Bridesmaid Suburbs

Suburbs such as Fitzroy and East Melbourne have historically strong capital gains. Conventional wisdom is that by investing in neighbouring suburbs that have lower median prices, an investor would achieve stronger growth than in the blue chip suburb. This is because they would benefit from the spillover effect of buyers being unable to afford the blue chip locations and the subsequent gentrification of the suburb. This bulletin aimed to test if this is the case by analysing the growth of 5 bride and bridesmaid suburb pairs in inner Melbourne.

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A bride suburb is a relatively expensive suburb with good capital gains. It may be out of reach for a large proportion of property investors due to the high entry point.

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A bridesmaid suburb is a neighbouring suburb that boasts a lot of the qualities that make the bride such a good investment, yet with properties selling for much lower prices.

To compare, the median sale prices and annual growth rates since 2011 for all suburbs shown in Figure 1 were gathered. These suburbs were divided into suitable pairs, based on locality and differences in median prices. The results are shown in Table 1.

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Capital Growth Update: June

The capital growth index is a very accurate way of measuring the long-term returns on an investment in the property market. It removes a lot of the noise usually present in real estate statistics, such as construction or renovations, a lot of large or small houses being sold and seasonality.

Median capital growth is based on the resales of the same property over different time periods (see methodology for more detail). Over the second quarter of 2016, inner Melbourne capital growth was 1.63%, or 6.67% when annualised. This is slightly lower than the median of 6.80%% over 2015, but above the five-year median of 6.31%.

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The Secret Agent Report – Urban Spaces

We have just released our latest Secret Agent report!

Cities with dynamic streetscapes make inner city living attractive to many, and inevitably stimulate the growth of property prices as demand becomes greater. Arguably, what makes a city liveable is the quality of its public spaces.

As Melbourne’s city apartments continue to grow in number, and yet shrink in size, it is important that we maintain the desirability of public, shared spaces for mutual enjoyment.

This month, Secret Agent wanted to find out what differentiates a great urban space from the rest.

Start reading this report by clicking on the link below:

Register to receive our report monthly and access the Urban Spaces report now!

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Apartment Price Per Square Metre: $2million Market

Earlier this month, Secret Agent released our findings on the price per square metre of apartments in the secondary market. In this bulletin, we look closely at apartments in the upper tier of Melbourne property, exclusively those that have sold for above $2 million.

The same methods from the previous study applied: each floor plan was manually measured for its internal habitable space, and the final measurement excluded external walls or structural elements, outdoor space, car spaces and storage cages. Sales were included only if a price and scaled floor plan were available.

Key findings:

  • This study included 12 penthouses, which are typical assets in the top end of the market.
  • More than half of the sampled apartments have a North-facing aspect, balcony or terrace. This is the most desirable orientation for optimum natural light and passive heating.
  • Apartments in the $2million plus market were 59% more expensive on a per square metre basis than the rest of the market (below $2million).
  • On average, 3 bedroom apartments sold at a higher cost per square metre than 4 bedroom apartments (Table 2).
  • 5 of the apartments were located in period or Art Deco buildings, while the rest were constructed from the 1990s onwards. Most of these newly built apartments were designed by renown architects such as Fender Katsalidis, Robin Boyd, Woods Bagot, Ashton Raggatt McDougall, Bates Smart, or boutique developers such as Neometro.

For this study, 32 apartments sold between the 1st of May 2015 to 31st of May 2016 were analysed. The average sale price for these apartments was $2,571,469. The sample mostly consisted of apartments from the central, inner East and inner South of Melbourne. The average price per square metre for $2million plus apartments was $13,653. The results by suburb are shown in Table 1.

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Bond Yield Update: June

The bond market, even more so than the stock market, is often a key indicator of investor expectations and the overall health of the economy.

Figure 1 shows the RBA reported bond yields on treasury bonds from 90-day bills to 10-year, long term bonds. From March to April this year, long term yields decreased more than short term ones. This is called “flattening” of the yield curve and is often a sign of lower investor confidence and a bleaker future outlook for the economy. From April to May, the opposite effect can be observed: while yields for all maturity dates decreased, the yield curve steepened slightly. The drop in short term yields reflects the RBA’s decision at the start of May to cut the official cash rate by 25 basis points (0.25%).

Blog-1So what has happened since the interest rate cut?

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