Why Melbourne's property market is suddenly so appealing
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Why Melbourne’s property market is suddenly so appealing

Australia’s most liveable city just became a little more attractive

Tue, Jun 13, 2023 10:45amGrey Clock 2 min

Potential homebuyers may be best placed to set their sights on Melbourne, with new data revealing Australia’s largest city recorded significantly less growth than other capitals since the pandemic began.

Figures from CoreLogic show  that house values rose by just 1.6 percent between March 2020 and May 2023 compared with a stronger 16.5 percent gain in Sydney prices and a whopping 45.2 percent surge in Adelaide.

The increases have started to close the value gaps between Melbourne and the smaller capitals such as Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth, said CoreLogic Asia Pacific research director Tim Lawless.

“Every capital city other than Canberra – the country’s second most expensive capital for houses – has significantly closed the house value gap to Melbourne,” he said. “At the onset of COVID, Brisbane houses were 47 percent cheaper than Melbourne. That affordability gap has closed to just 15 percent.

“Melbourne was 85 percent more expensive than Adelaide at the start of COVID but the gap has narrowed to just 29 percent and in Perth, where the gap was 88 percent, Melbourne house values are now 50 percent higher.”

Like most Australian capitals, Melbourne’s values fell at the start of COVID. During 2020, values declined by -6.7 percent according to CoreLogic, followed by substantial growth of 20.6 percent. This preceded  another decline of -11.7 percent, with the market finding the floor in February this year. Since then, prices have grown 1.7 percent to May this year.

Melbourne is consistently ranked Australia’s most liveable city and was last year named the third most liveable city in the world by the Economist Intelligence Unit’s Global 2022 Liveability Index.

Mr Lawless said the latest data would likely make Melbourne a more attractive option for homebuyers and investors.

“With housing affordability remaining stretched, this improvement in Melbourne’s value proposition could place Australia’s second largest city in a more competitive position to attract a greater share of housing market participants,” he said. 

“The city’s advertised supply level is trending lower and is -13.4 percent below levels at the same time last year and -7.0 percent below the previous five-year average.  

“Melbourne’s rental vacancy rate of 0.8 percent in May is also one of the lowest in the country and yet another potential factor supporting purchasing demand for those with the financial capacity to enter the market.”


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Wild cities and concrete corridors: How AI is reimagining the landscape

A new AI-driven account by leading landscape architect Jon Hazelwood pushes the boundaries on the role of ‘complex nature’ in the future of our cities

By Robyn Willis
Wed, Dec 6, 2023 2 min

Drifts of ground cover plants and wildflowers along the steps of the Sydney Opera House, traffic obscured by meadow-like planting and kangaroos pausing on city streets.

This is the way our cities could be, as imagined by landscape architect Jon Hazelwood, principal at multi-disciplinary architectural firm Hassell. He has been exploring the possibilities of rewilding urban spaces using AI for his Instagram account, Naturopolis_ai with visually arresting outcomes.

“It took me a few weeks to get interesting results,” he said. “I really like the ephemeral nature of the images — you will never see it again and none of those plants are real. 

“The AI engine makes an approximation of a grevillea.”

Hazelwood chose some of the most iconic locations in Australia, including the Sydney Opera House and the Harbour Bridge, as well as international cities such as Paris and London, to demonstrate the impact of untamed green spaces on streetscapes, plazas and public space.

He said he hopes to provoke a conversation about the artificial separation between our cities and the broader environment, exploring ways to break down the barriers and promote biodiversity.

“A lot of the planning (for public spaces) is very limited,” Hazelwood said. “There are 110,000 species of plants in Australia and we probably use about 12 in our (public) planting schemes. 

“Often it’s for practical reasons because they’re tough and drought tolerant — but it’s not the whole story.”

Hazelwood pointed to the work of UK landscape architect Prof Nigel Dunnett, who has championed wild garden design in urban spaces. He has drawn interest in recent years for his work transforming the brutalist apartment block at the Barbican in London into a meadow-like environment with diverse plantings of grasses and perennials.

Hazelwood said it is this kind of ‘complex nature’ that is required for cities to thrive into the future, but it can be hard to convince planners and developers of the benefits.

“We have been doing a lot of work on how we get complex nature because complexity of species drives biodiversity,” he said. 

“But when we try to propose the space the questions are: how are we going to maintain it? Where is the lawn?

“A lot of our work is demonstrating you can get those things and still provide a complex environment.” 

At the moment, Hassell together with the University of Melbourne is trialling options at the Hills Showground Metro Station in Sydney, where the remaining ground level planting has been replaced with more than 100 different species of plants and flowers to encourage diversity without the need for regular maintenance. But more needs to be done, Hazelwood said.

“It needs bottom-up change,” he said. ““There is work being done at government level around nature positive cities, but equally there needs to be changes in the range of plants that nurseries grow, and in the way our city landscapes are maintained and managed.”

And there’s no AI option for that. 


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