News

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


The Secret Agent Report – Perceptions of Interiors

We have just released our latest Secret Agent report!

Think about that time you stepped into the modern, sleek room of a display home. You might have felt a little cold, unwelcome, like you didn’t want to dirty anything. Compare this to when you last visited your grandmother’s house. There was a sensed comfort and warmth from the moment you entered. There are times you feel at home in a friend’s house, yet other houses have you feeling more excited to go back to the comfort of your own home.

In this report, Secret Agent discusses how we perceive different kinds of room interiors. There isn’t a one size fits all rule, but our perceptions have potentially significant implications that should be considered by both buyers and vendors in property transactions.

Access the Perceptions of Interiors report now!

Cover image of The Secret Agent Report July 2017 issue, Perceptions of Interiors


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 (realestate.com.au)

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


Investment Returns for Inner Melbourne

In Secret Agent’s latest Rent report we took a detailed look into the yield of each inner Melbourne suburb. See Table 1.

An investor should be looking to try and maximise yield when finding a rental property. However, they also need to be mindful of the relationship between yield and risk.

Often a higher yield can mean more risk, such as oversupply.

The higher yield of inner Melbourne (5.3%) reflects the greater risk premium. East Melbourne which offers a tight yield of 3.47% is the ultimate blue chip location, however the yield isn’t too attractive.

Be careful of looking solely at yield to making investment decisions. It’s possible to obtain yields above 10% in remote regional locations, but once a tenant has vacated, it may be a long time before another tenant is discovered.

Table containing investment returns of inner Melbourne suburbs


Carlton North Homes Benefit from Bicycle Lanes

Drawing of a bicycle with a speech bubble containing a dollar sign next to it

Over 10,000 cyclists commute into Melbourne’s inner city every morning. Many popular routes are located along residential streets. Secret Agent wanted to find out if the presence of a bicycle lane had any impact on house sale prices within a suburb.  Read the full post


Price Per Square Metre of Melbourne Penthouse Apartments

Open plan living room of Melbourne penthouse apartment

Melbourne penthouse apartment, realestate.com.au

This week, Secret Agent takes a closer look at the price per square metre of Melbourne penthouse apartments.

Besides occupying the top floor of a medium to high rise building, for an apartment to be considered a penthouse, it also had to have a distinguished floor plan.

Out of 1,908 apartments sold around inner Melbourne since January 2016 to May 2017, there were only 21 penthouse apartments. All of these were new, post-90s builds except for 2 warehouse conversions. These penthouses were concentrated around the CBD, inner East and inner South suburbs.

Note that our results were skewed towards the sub-$3 million penthouse market, as information on apartments sold above this value is generally less accessible. Most of the apartments in our study are not whole-level penthouses.

Suburb Penthouses Non-Penthouses
Average sale price $1,739,048 $590,655
Average overall PPSM** $11,076 $8,724
Average PPSM for 2 bed $11,544* $8,669
Average PPSM for 3 bed $11,132 $8,877
Average PPSM for 4 bed $10,187* $10,138
     
Median internal area for 2 bedrooms 139sqm* 69sqm
Median internal area for 3 bedrooms 157sqm 118sqm
Median internal area for 4 bedrooms 192sqm* 198sqm
Median outdoor area 47sqm 7.5sqm

* Based on less than 5 sales,  ** PPSM refers to price per internal square metre

Table 1   Average prices per square metre and median sizes in penthouses versus non-penthouses around inner Melbourne

Read the full post


The Secret Agent Report – Rent: Apartments

We have just released our latest Secret Agent report!

This month, Secret Agent takes a look at the performance of inner Melbourne apartment rental yields from 2012 to 2017. Our report compares median apartment prices to median weekly rent to find out which suburbs returned the highest yields in the past year.

Unlike houses and townhouses, apartment prices have remained relatively stable in recent years. Over 1,500 apartments leased between February 2012 and May 2017 were included in the study sample. This includes 600 one bedroom, 840 two bedroom, 80 three bedroom and 4 four bedroom apartments.

Access the Apartments Rent report now!


DIY Period Home: What Does It Cost?

Illustration of two identical Victorian terraces built in 1880 versus 2016

Last spring, Secret Agent investigated the cost of rebuilding two period homes in inner Melbourne using current technology and materials. Our results below demonstrate that the prices paid for period property fairly represent the quality, history and scarcity of these types of homes in today’s market.

Using real examples of a Victorian terrace and an Edwardian house, we found that recreating these homes from scratch would cost at least $740,000 more than what you would pay for a genuine period home.

While it is possible to build a new home that imitates the defining features of Victorian and Edwardian houses, replacing period character to its full extent is almost impossible to get right. Note that the figures in the analysis of replacement values are conservative estimates only. Read the full post


Inner Melbourne Rental Yields for Houses 2012-2017

Infographic showing highest and lowest rental yields in inner Melbourne, Australia in 2017

Last week, Secret Agent released our report on the current state of rental yields for houses across inner Melbourne. Here is a summary of our findings:

  • Over the last 5 years, yields have dropped by 0.42%, from 3.06% in 2012 to 2.64% in 2017.
  • During this period, median house prices have increased by 38% (9% p.a.), compared to only an 11.8% increase in weekly rents (2.88% p.a.).
  • On average, median weekly rents are between $500 and $700 for most suburbs. Sale prices tend to fluctuate significantly according to suburb.
  • Suburbs with lower median prices tend to have higher yields, as weekly rent is mostly consistent across all regions.
  • High and low yields are not concentrated in any particular region of inner Melbourne.
  • Collingwood, Cremorne and West Melbourne had the highest median yields in 2016/17 at 3.69%, 3.32% and 3.26%, respectively.  Median prices were well below the $1million mark.
  • Burnley, East Melbourne and Alphington had the lowest median yields at 1.35%, 2.07% and 2.31%, respectively. Median prices were all above $1.3million.
  • Sale price is strongly, negatively correlated with yield (-47%). Yield is more dependent on purchase price rather than rental income.
  • Yields are even lower for larger properties, as sale price increases faster than median rent.
  • In 2017, 2, 3 and 4 bedroom homes can expect to yield 2.72%, 2.61% and 2.52%, respectively. All three types have had the lowest yields since 2012.
  • Investors paying high prices for properties are even more reliant on capital growth to increase their returns.

Budget 2017 – Winners and Losers in Property

WINNERS

First Home Buyers
First home buyers will be able to use voluntary contributions to their superannuation to save for a house deposit. Withdrawals will be taxed at a lower rate, but the amount you can contribute is capped at $15,000 a year and $30,000 all up. Both members of a couple can take advantage of the scheme.

In Victoria, the state government will abolish stamp duty for first time buyers of homes valued up to $600,000, make cuts to stamp duty on homes valued up to $750,000, and also double the First Home Owner Grant to $20,000 in regional Victoria.

With the first home super saver scheme, we may see increased demand for property below $600,000. This will push up the prices of houses and townhouses in outer suburbs such as Cranbourne. Inner city suburbs will be less affected, as average prices are typically above $600,000. Developers will also have to compete more agressively for development sites that allow sub-$600,000 townhouses to be built and sold in these outer suburbs.

Downsizers
A person aged 65 or over will be permitted to make a non-concessional contribution to superannuation of up to $300,000 from the proceeds of selling a principal residence owned for the past ten or more years from 1 July 2018.

This is good news for real estate agencies operating in areas popular among downsizers, such as the inner city, as there is more incentive for elderly property owners to sell their home. Developers can also benefit from creating stock in these areas. Read the full post


The Secret Agent Report – Rent

We have just released our latest Secret Agent report!

In recent years, we’ve seen house prices skyrocket while rents have risen less dramatically. 

This month, Secret Agent compares rent increases and house price growth in inner Melbourne to find out to what extent yields have decreased over the last 5 years.

Access the Rent report now!