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

Category Archives For: Property Development

What it takes to improve the way we build – developers take note

A disappointment with Melbourne is the way we build our new developments.

In my view many of Melbourne’s residential projects are outright ugly, not to mention the poor construction quality undertaken. A friend of mine who is reasonably high up in the construction world tells me that construction quality is getting worse and worse rather than better.

You would have thought with today’s technology and stringent standards that we should have better quality? It appears not.

Some of our best suburbs such as Toorak do provide exceptions here, but overall I think it’s quite poor.

Here’s a great video about Dieter Rams. Dieter was responsible for many of Braun’s designs for its appliances. This got me thinking, what if Dieter would build a residential development? How would he do it and what would it look like?

I’m sure that we would have made the complex as usable as possible, while taking great care on how it was built and then making it beautiful for the eye.

Digging deeper into planning awareness

planningLast week I spoke about

It’s a service that helps you identify local planning applications being processed. So I signed up for a property of mine to receive the alerts so I know of any local new planning applications for property.

This (pictured) is what I received. A quick map + street view plus a further link to see what is proposed for the property in more detail.

This is a great service. I suspect that most people will sign up for their own homes – that way they can see anything come up that might pose a threat or an opportunity near their property.

The two quick things that I think services like this will do are:

1. Arm buyers with more local planning information. If someone is selling a property because of some development close by that might disrupt the value of the property – I think more buyers will be aware of these.

2. It may actually force more objections by residents close by. I’d like to say that it would cause less but my feeling is that because a greater amount of people will have this information, it might mean more and more people questing the proposed works.

Awareness of new developments

I really like these sorts of applications that are starting to be developed.

Just posted on the Open Australia blog is a new online platform that helps you find out about planning proposals for upcoming developments close by to a property you’re interested in.

The iPhone application lets you do this by just pointing the phone and its camera to the property. It’s an interesting was to help property buyers.

Implications of the environment around you

It’s often important to think about the environment around a property you are looking at acquiring.

Sometimes we see a certain property next to a potential major development site. These major development sites might not be as noticeable as one might suspect.

For instance it could be a collection of brick veneer homes that exist prior to a home we are investigating for a purchase.

These homes located next door could be a prime development target and may vastly effect the living experience of the property we are looking at in the years to come if developed.

Architectural inspiration

For those seeking some reviews, inspiration and connection with different architects, the service provided by Architizer may be of interest to you.

Basically architecture just ‘got social’. This platform allows you to review architects, check on styles in different parts of the world and engage architects online. Just don’t expect anyone local – yet.

Chasing the Winter sun

We’ve had some really cold days lately. As winter really hits, many prospective property buyers are seeking the natural light factor while many who’ve purchased are wishing this was more of a focus when they bought.

Robert Eckersley from Robert Eckersley Builders talks in more depth about the importance of the winter sun.


Docklands is one of those areas in Melbourne that attracts strong opinions from people.

Admittedly, most seems to be on the negative side. Many talk about the Docklands being a great area in 5 -10 years or so.

From a personal point of view, the whole Docklands area was probably constructed too quickly. Many areas of it, really let it down.

It has definite potential though, I just hope the current mistakes don’t get in the way of what should have been a tremendous place to live.

Good design vs Bad design

Period homes have a timeless appeal, their designs are more often then not, unquestionably beautiful. They always have been and always will be.

You don’t often hear someone say ‘that Boom Style Victorian home is horrendous!’

On the other side, there are other places that are built brand new. These should be a better buy, but the design is poor. Just look at them in a few years and then imagine them in a few more.

We see this with apartments, houses, shops and everything else. Design is really important. It doesn’t mean a property has to be beautiful, some 70’s blocks are not beautifully designed – but give potential and are at least very solid.

So something to ask yourself – How will this structure look in 5, 10, 15 years? Will it be timeless or will it date?

Dual Occupancy – with Robert Eckersley

With increasing pressure on many of Melbourne’s inner suburbs to ‘dense up’, dual occupancy is an option for property buyers looking to make a financial gain.

While controversial in many suburbs, it can be done well. Here we discuss in more detail about dual occupancy prospects.