News

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


What Counts in Small Apartment Buildings

While the cost of standalone and semi-attached houses in Melbourne continue to skyrocket, apartments have only had minor price changes over the past 12 months. Further, as houses continue to become a rarity, apartment supply is steadily increasing. Many people will have to start considering apartments if they wish to live in the inner city.

For people used to living with a backyard and having adequate distance from their neighbours, moving into a high-rise apartment building is out of the question. But there is another option: boutique apartments, usually between 8 and 40 apartments spread over no more than four levels, typically built in the 1960s to 1980s. They offer a middle ground between the freedom and privacy of standalone houses, and the affordable yet crowded environment of high rise towers. Read the full post


Price Per Internal Square Metre of Terraces and Townhouses

In February, we released Melbourne’s first price per square metre index for houses and townhouses based on internal floor area. We’ve summarised our key findings in an infographic for you to share and download easily.

Here’s what we found:

Terraces: $13,155/sqm of internal space

Most affordable suburb: Flemington $10,262/sqm
Most expensive suburb: Middle Park $17,357/sqm

Most affordable room: Living room $6,869/sqm
Most expensive room: Bedroom $14,717/sqm

Townhouses: $8,387/sqm of internal space

Most affordable suburb: West Melbourne $7,128/sqm
Most expensive suburb: South Yarra $12,008/sqm

Most affordable room: Kitchen $4,692/sqm
Most expensive room: Bathroom $19,424/sqm

Click here to download the PDF version of this infographic.


Apartments Price Per Square Metre Update Q1 2017

Inner Melbourne average Q1 2017: $8,882/m2
Inner Melbourne average Q1 2016: $8,622/m2
Percent annual growth: 3.02%

On average, apartments increased in price by $260 per square metre, or 3% over the past year.

One bedroom apartments have remained about the same in nominal terms (which means they have fallen in value in real terms) and are now the cheapest apartments at $8,650 per square metre. All other apartments increased in price, with 4 bedroom apartments now averaging $11,450 per square metre. Not many of these properties get sold each quarter, so prices tend to fluctuate a bit. Similarly, three bedroom apartments increased in average price by about $1,000 to $9,400 per square metre in the first three months of 2017. Two bedroom apartments are also up slightly ($8,900/m2), while studios were more expensive than 1 and 2 bedroom apartments over the past three months ($9,200/m2). Read the full post


The Secret Agent Report – Capital Growth Update

We have just released our latest Secret Agent report!

This month, Secret Agent analyses the updated capital growth index for the first quarter of 2017. The index tracks all resales of properties in inner Melbourne suburbs since January 2000.

By using only resales of the same, unchanged properties over time, the index tracks the true capital growth of properties in Melbourne, taking out factors such as subdivisions, extensions and any other alterations, all of which affect measures of average prices.

Access the Capital Growth Update report now!


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!


Differentiating in the Development Space: Owning Your Own Backyard

Drawing of a man with a cap, holding a beer in one hand, barbecuing sausages with another, standing in his own backyard. The lawn is tagged with a note that says Belongs To Mike.

“They like to know that when they’re barbecuing outside, they’re doing it on their own land.”
– Anthony DePalma

This bulletin is one about ownership, inspired by an article in The New York Times. The piece discussed the supply of property in New Jersey and how developers were pivoting from condominium townhouses to fee simple townhouses; in other words, from property with more common areas and regulations to property that passes on more control to the individual.

Had the location not been revealed, one would almost mistake the article for a report on the current state of housing in Australia. In fact, it was published in 1985. Over 30 years later, Australia is observing the same shift in new developments. The more things change, the more they stay the same. Read the full post


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