News

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


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


Bond Yield Update: February

official yields on australian treasury bonds 2016While many media outlets paint a rather bleak and uncertain future for the world economy, long-term bond yields in Australia finished 2016 higher than at any other point throughout the year.

This is even more impressive considering that the cash rate (which has a strong correlation with bond yields) was cut twice for a total of 50 basis points over 2016. Figure 1 shows how much long-term rates increased towards the end of last year and into 2017. Yields on 10-year Australian government bonds have increased by 74 basis points since September and nearly 100 points since the last interest rate cut in August. Read the full post


The Perfect Ratio of Period Terrace House to Land

Diagram showing the range of ideal land to indoor area ratio in attached and freestanding terraces including an increase in sale price.

Last month, Secret Agent investigated the ‘sweet spot’ in the density of a townhouse. We found that a total indoor area that equalled or slightly exceeded the land area (i.e. 1:1 – 1:1.27) sold at a higher price than denser developments. This time we decided to see what the data says about period homes.  Read the full post


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


Happy Holidays!

Illustration of Donald Trump wearing the uniform of the Ballarat footy team, holding a torn British flag, sitting on a disgruntled black swan, while doing a thumbs up.

Secret Agent would like to wish you a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Thanks for your support this year and we look forward to catching up in the new year.

Our office will be closed from the 24th December 2016 to 8th January 2017.