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


Bond Yield Update: August

“Record low interest rates”. This seems to be the headline of the year, having been used so many times it is hard to remember any other kind of interest rate. Each time we see this, expectations for another rate cut decrease momentarily, only to return to the same, pre-cut probability-levels after a few weeks.

Figure 1 paints a clear picture of a similar short-term outlook, yet weakening long-term expectations. While this graph does not include data since the rate cut (yields on 10 year treasuries have lifted a whopping 0.03% since the July levels shown in Figure 2), we can see almost identical movements at each maturity date from May to June and from June to July.

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The Secret Agent Report – Recreating Period Homes

We have just released our latest Secret Agent report!

The original period homes that remain in Melbourne are frequently purchased for record-setting prices. It is difficult to quantify the value of character, however it is possible to estimate how much these houses are truly worth if we were to build them from scratch today.

This month, Secret Agent investigates the cost of rebuilding two period homes in inner Melbourne. We demonstrate that the prices paid for period property fairly represent the quality, history and scarcity of these types of homes in today’s market

Start reading this report by clicking on the link below:

Register to receive our report monthly and access the Recreating Period Homes report now!


Bride and Bridesmaid Suburbs

Suburbs such as Fitzroy and East Melbourne have historically strong capital gains. Conventional wisdom is that by investing in neighbouring suburbs that have lower median prices, an investor would achieve stronger growth than in the blue chip suburb. This is because they would benefit from the spillover effect of buyers being unable to afford the blue chip locations and the subsequent gentrification of the suburb. This bulletin aimed to test if this is the case by analysing the growth of 5 bride and bridesmaid suburb pairs in inner Melbourne.

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A bride suburb is a relatively expensive suburb with good capital gains. It may be out of reach for a large proportion of property investors due to the high entry point.

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A bridesmaid suburb is a neighbouring suburb that boasts a lot of the qualities that make the bride such a good investment, yet with properties selling for much lower prices.

To compare, the median sale prices and annual growth rates since 2011 for all suburbs shown in Figure 1 were gathered. These suburbs were divided into suitable pairs, based on locality and differences in median prices. The results are shown in Table 1.

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Sustainable Urban Landscapes

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Secret Agent recently reported on sustainability and looked at various ways sustainable features can be incorporated in the design of commercial or residential buildings. In this post, we take a look at sustainability from an urban planning perspective. Sustainability in the urban setting is about “finding new and better ways to achieve the same or better functionality, new materials and new technologies” as demonstrated in the following emerging trends.

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7 Tips for Downsizers

Downsizing has been a major trend in the global property market over the past few years, one which continues to this day. Secret Agent has covered the topic extensively in the past. We have helped numerous people not only find their perfect home to downsize to, but also with the overall process of downsizing from a large property into a significantly smaller one.

Here are our top tips for people thinking about downsizing in the near future:

1. Consider location.

Downsizers will often be moving from a large block in a quiet street to a smaller block or even an apartment which is a lot closer to a neighbouring property, busy roads and transport. If you are not used to noise, then you might want to pay close attention to your surroundings and consider the potential noises that could disturb you at various times of the day.

This is the same for privacy. Take a walk around the perimeter of the property and consider what you can see inside. This is what other people will be able to see when you are living in there.

2. Choose a suburb that suits you.

Each inner city suburb of Melbourne has a culture of its own. Whilst most offer good lifestyle amenity in terms of access to public transport, cafes and restaurants, you should spend some time in the suburb of interest to ensure that the feel is right for you. For example, if you are used to living in an established, upmarket suburb, then an area that is still gentrifying may not be right for you. If you want to be near the beach and CBD, then you should consider suburbs such as Port Melbourne or Albert Park.

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Capital Growth Update: June

The capital growth index is a very accurate way of measuring the long-term returns on an investment in the property market. It removes a lot of the noise usually present in real estate statistics, such as construction or renovations, a lot of large or small houses being sold and seasonality.

Median capital growth is based on the resales of the same property over different time periods (see methodology for more detail). Over the second quarter of 2016, inner Melbourne capital growth was 1.63%, or 6.67% when annualised. This is slightly lower than the median of 6.80%% over 2015, but above the five-year median of 6.31%.

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The Secret Agent Report – Urban Spaces

We have just released our latest Secret Agent report!

Cities with dynamic streetscapes make inner city living attractive to many, and inevitably stimulate the growth of property prices as demand becomes greater. Arguably, what makes a city liveable is the quality of its public spaces.

As Melbourne’s city apartments continue to grow in number, and yet shrink in size, it is important that we maintain the desirability of public, shared spaces for mutual enjoyment.

This month, Secret Agent wanted to find out what differentiates a great urban space from the rest.

Start reading this report by clicking on the link below:

Register to receive our report monthly and access the Urban Spaces report now!

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Apartment Price Per Square Metre: $2million Market

Earlier this month, Secret Agent released our findings on the price per square metre of apartments in the secondary market. In this bulletin, we look closely at apartments in the upper tier of Melbourne property, exclusively those that have sold for above $2 million.

The same methods from the previous study applied: each floor plan was manually measured for its internal habitable space, and the final measurement excluded external walls or structural elements, outdoor space, car spaces and storage cages. Sales were included only if a price and scaled floor plan were available.

Key findings:

  • This study included 12 penthouses, which are typical assets in the top end of the market.
  • More than half of the sampled apartments have a North-facing aspect, balcony or terrace. This is the most desirable orientation for optimum natural light and passive heating.
  • Apartments in the $2million plus market were 59% more expensive on a per square metre basis than the rest of the market (below $2million).
  • On average, 3 bedroom apartments sold at a higher cost per square metre than 4 bedroom apartments (Table 2).
  • 5 of the apartments were located in period or Art Deco buildings, while the rest were constructed from the 1990s onwards. Most of these newly built apartments were designed by renown architects such as Fender Katsalidis, Robin Boyd, Woods Bagot, Ashton Raggatt McDougall, Bates Smart, or boutique developers such as Neometro.

For this study, 32 apartments sold between the 1st of May 2015 to 31st of May 2016 were analysed. The average sale price for these apartments was $2,571,469. The sample mostly consisted of apartments from the central, inner East and inner South of Melbourne. The average price per square metre for $2million plus apartments was $13,653. The results by suburb are shown in Table 1.

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Bond Yield Update: June

The bond market, even more so than the stock market, is often a key indicator of investor expectations and the overall health of the economy.

Figure 1 shows the RBA reported bond yields on treasury bonds from 90-day bills to 10-year, long term bonds. From March to April this year, long term yields decreased more than short term ones. This is called “flattening” of the yield curve and is often a sign of lower investor confidence and a bleaker future outlook for the economy. From April to May, the opposite effect can be observed: while yields for all maturity dates decreased, the yield curve steepened slightly. The drop in short term yields reflects the RBA’s decision at the start of May to cut the official cash rate by 25 basis points (0.25%).

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The Secret Agent Report – The New Student Visa: What This Means for Chinese Buyers and Melbourne Property

We have just released a special mid-month report!

As most of us begin to celebrate the Queen of Australia’s birthday over the long weekend, Secret Agent decided to take a moment to look not to the West – but to the East.

9.4 million high school students in China would have completed the most important college entrance exam in their lifetime as of yesterday.

But from the 1st of July, under the Australian government’s new student visa framework, Chinese parents will have a new and cheaper way to afford their children education – right here in Australia.

With an approximate savings of $360,000 by sending children to the top primary schools in Melbourne instead of Beijing, Secret Agent cannot help but feel that a property boom may soon be reignited.

Start reading this report by clicking on the link below:

Register to receive our report monthly and access The New Student Visa mid-month special now!

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