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 – Coronavirus

“While progress in infectious disease prevention, control, and treatment has improved our ability to respond to such outbreaks, globalisation processes relating to human behaviour, demographics, and mobility have increased the threat of pandemic emergence and accelerated global disease transmission.”

(Krewski et al, 2016)

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In a range of ways, globalisation can be seen as a something of a double edged sword. On the one hand it enables the expansion of businesses into new locations, increases shareholder wealth, makes travel easier and enhances the rapid exchange of ideas and technology across the globe. On the other hand, it has resulted in increasingly distorted social hierarchies, expansive fossil fuel usage, and the swifter, more pervasive transmission of both mental viruses (such as terrorism), and infectious disease.

When the newest (yes, we have actually been historically exposed to them) coronavirus initially broke out, it seemed distant enough not to worry about, unless you had travel plans to China.

Skip forward just a month and it has quickly spread enough to force many people to cancel their travel plans and stock up on essential supplies. The economy, as well as the sporting world, seem almost certainly to be highly affected by the virus.

In this report, Secret Agent will consider some of the downstream effects of the new coronavirus outbreak.

Access the Coronavirus report now!

 


The Secret Agent Report – Cool Homes

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Heat waves, for many years no more than an inconvenience for most people, seem undeniably to be increasing in frequency and impact. In particular, the risk of adverse effects or mortality from heat exposure in sensitive demographics such as the elderly, the young and the economically disadvantaged mean that heat is steadily becoming a more a significant problem from a range of perspectives. 

In the modern world, air conditioning is relied upon to cool our homes and offices. It keeps us comfortable on those very hot days and we have become accustomed to employing it even on milder days. Air conditioning is a luxury that is used thoughtlessly by many. It may do the job of keeping us cool in the immediate and medium terms but its effectiveness as a long-term solution clearly has limits.

This issue of The Secret Agent Report will look into the problems around air conditioning from an environmental, societal and behavioural perspective. We will also bring to light a variety of other cooling methods that should be considered as an alternative to air conditioning usage. 

Access the Cool Homes report now!

 


The Secret Agent Report – Water Views

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There’s certainly something about water that makes us feel good, both physically and mentally, but how does water relate to real estate? What part does water play in determining the perceived value and the actual price paid for a property?

In this report, Secret Agent will discuss water and the value it can add to property.

Access the Water Views report now!

 


The Secret Agent Report – Upzoning

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Affordable housing is an issue many cities are currently facing. Upzoning is a potential solution to the issue, however prominent geographer Michael Storper suggests that upzoning actually makes housing more expensive.

The process in which zoning restrictions and building codes are removed to allow for higher density housing is called upzoning. Upzoning as a definition is simple. However, the deregulation of land zoning has consequences that are much more complicated to predict.

In this report, Secret Agent will take a deeper look into upzoning and how it has been impacting property markets in various cities of the world.

Access the Upzoning report now!

 


The Secret Agent Report – Shrinking Cities

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Urbanisation has been an ongoing trend over the past few decades. It has had a huge impact on shaping our cities into what they are today. It has also influenced property prices.

Urbanisation is fuelled by population growth. This is often a result of people seeking job opportunities or education in cities and obviously happens at different rates depending on which particular city you’re talking about.

What is becoming apparent from population measurements and predictions, is that a reversal of urbanisation is taking place in some cases. Just as there are positive feedback loops which propel the growth of a city forward, the opposite is also true.

With limited land available, as well as congested infrastructure and roads, it’s plausible that there is an upper limit on how urbanised an area can become. What happens once this limit is reached is not known for sure. There are indications that it can result in the opposite of urbanisation which is de-urbanisation. The world’s biggest cities need to prepare to manage this carefully in order to continue to thrive.

In this report, Secret Agent will discuss the potential impact of de-urbanisation and shrinking cities.

Access the Shrinking Cities report now!

 


The Secret Agent Report – Downsizing

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It’s a difficult decision to choose to downsize your family home. The longer you’ve been living in it, the more memories it has and the more uncomfortable it will be to leave. Just because it may be easier to stay, doesn’t mean you should.

When it comes to downsizing, there are many benefits, as well as downsides. The experience can be a positive or negative one depending on a number of things. The more thought you put into weighing up the pros and cons for your situation, as well as choosing a new home, the more likely you will be happy with the final outcome.

In this report, Secret Agent aims to help you feel more confident in your decision to downsize. It will give you some insight into the experience so you can get a better idea of whether downsizing is the right move for you and how to best prepare.

Access the Downsizing report now!


The Secret Agent Report – Gentrification

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Most of us have heard of gentrification and associated it with the Melbourne suburbs of Brunswick, Abbotsford, Footscray and Collingwood. These suburbs have gone through huge transformations in the past decade or so. From unattractive areas, high in crime and drug use, they’ve become popular places to visit because of their edgy vibe as well as their trendy food destinations. The areas have been cleaned up and crime has decreased. Younger people especially, are easily seduced into moving to an area once they experience the lifestyle. They desire the convenience of being located close to work, whether that be in the CBD or tech hubs such as Collingwood and Cremorne.

Gentrification is a lot more complex than the revitalisation of an area. In fact it is very different. It’s not about the old being replaced by the new, or poor becoming improved.

This report Secret Agent is going to take a deeper look at gentrification and the way it affects urban neighbourhoods.

Access the Gentrification report now!


The Secret Agent Report – Natural Light

More and more, so it seems to me, light is the beautifier of the building.”
– Frank Lloyd Wright

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Natural light in our homes connects us to nature. In our increasingly built up cities and suburbs, lack of natural light is becoming more of a problem. This is compounded by the fact that people generally spend more time indoors and less time in natural settings exposed to sunlight.

This month, Secret Agent discusses why and how natural light in our built spaces is critical for our own health and wellbeing.

Access the Natural Light report now!

 


The Secret Agent Report – Drift

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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 – The Driverless World

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It would be hard to imagine a time without cars on our roads. They have changed our lives in many ways, especially in terms of where we choose to live.

In a similar way, it is hard to imagine a time when we will be able to jump into a car and go anywhere we desire, without having to be driven by someone or drive it ourselves.

Autonomous vehicles are a part of our future, whether we like the idea of them or not. They will likely impact all of us in some way. This issue of The Secret Agent Report will look at the potential impact autonomous vehicles may have on the city and on property prices.

Access The Driverless World report now!