Property Dictionary

The REIV Real Estate Dictionary contains many terms used commonly within the property industry and on this website. 

An auction is one of the two main methods of selling real estate and in Melbourne they account for around 30 per cent of all property sales. At an auction, the property sells to the highest bidder as long as the vendor accepts the price.
An auction is regarded as the most effective way of determining the true market value of a home and are popular in areas of Melbourne where there is a reasonable level of competition. There is a range of rules that apply to holidng an auction, including rules covering the conduct of the auction, and responsibilities for the vendor, agent and purchaser. Buyers should be aware that, unlike private sales, there is no cooling-off period when a property is purchased at an auction.
Average annual growth
The compounded growth rate of a population applied to annual intervals.
The formula for this is as follows:


=(( Pj / Pi )1/n- 1) x 100



Pj = population at end of period
Pi = population at start of period
n = number of years between start and end of period.


Baby boomers
Those people born in Australia between the end of the Second World War (1945) and the late 1960s.
The number of bedrooms in occupied private dwellings, including those in caravan parks.
Broadhectare land
Undeveloped land identified for residential development, generally located on the fringe of the metropolitan area. Also referred to as greenfield land.
Brain drain
The persistent loss of the most capable people of a country or region, especially its young people, to emigration, driven by the lure of opportunities and benefits elsewhere.
The public register of land boundaries that defines the separate holdings of land.
Capital growth
It's often used in real estate to describe the increase in the price or value of a property.
For instance, the median price of a house in Coburg in the 2011 March quarter was $614,000 and 12 months earlier it was $665,000. Therefore, the capital growth is the difference between the two, $51,000, divided by the earlier figure, $665,000, which equates to -7.7% over a year.
Capital growth is also known as capital appreciation.
The area served by a particular centralised service or function, such as a hospital.
The central business district (CBD) of Melbourne is the commercial centre of Melbourne, and is usually regarded as the area bordered by Spring, Flinders, Spencer and La Trobe Streets.
A census consists of the collection, compilation and publication of demographic, economic and social information relating to all persons in a country or area defined by specific boundaries at a particular time (United Nations 1969, Principles and Recommendations for the 1970 Population Censuses).
A census differs from a survey in that it covers the entire population rather than a segment or sample of the population.
The Census in Australia is carried out every five years by the Australian Bureau of Statistics. The objective of the Census is to take a snapshot of the number and characteristics of the people in Australia at one point in time.
Clearance rate
A clearance rate is used as an indicator of market sentiment. It is the total of the properties sold before the auction, at the auction or the day after the auction divided by the number of auctions reported that day.
For instance, if one property is sold before the auction, six are sold at auction and one sold the day after the auction and 10 properties were listed, the clearance rate is 80%.
The REIV publishes clearance rates and the actual number sold before and after the auction, plus those that were passed in and passed in on vendor bid; this provides transparency to market analysts and casual observers.
To ensure the results are published in the press collection of results closes at 5pm on a Saturday. Results from known auctions which are not collected by then are collected later. Every Wednesday the REIV publishes the result incorperating those results here.
Clearance rates and stock levels on a historical basis can be found here and show the state of the market at different times.
Crown land
Land that has no official tenure under land legislation and which is held and managed by the government.
The scientific and statistical study of population and, in particular, the size of populations, their development and structure.
A building or structure in which people live. This can be a building, such as a house, part of a building, such as a flat, or it could be a caravan, tent or humpy.
The movement of people, jobs and activities from the centre or core of major metropolitan areas to suburban and outlying locations.
Economic Growth
The increase of the productive capacity and output of a country (or region), usually measured in terms of Gross National Product.
Empty nesters
People whose children have grown up and left the parental home.
Those persons aged 15 years or more who:
(i) are in paid employment for one hour or more per week;
(ii) are employers, self-employed persons or unpaid family helpers who worked in the family business or farm for one hour or more per week;
(iii) were employees with a job who were on leave, stood down or on strike, on workers' compensation or doing paid study; or
(iv) are employers, self-employed persons or unpaid family helpers not at work.
Enumerated population
The number of people counted in a particular area on Census night, including temporary visitors and excluding residents who were absent on Census night.
Estimated Resident Population (ERP)
The official Australian Bureau of Statistics estimate of the Australian population.
The ERP is based on results of the Census and is compiled at 30 June each census year and updated for Australia, states and territories quarterly between censuses, and annually for statistical local areas. The intercensal estimates are revised each time the Census is taken. Refer to Census for further information.
Exurban development refers to development occurring around cities such as metropolitan Melbourne, as well as around larger regional centres in Victoria. Despite the rural appearance of much of the exurban region, it can be closely connected with the urban area because many of its inhabitants use the city for employment, shopping and recreation.
A family consists of two or more persons, one of whom is at least 15 years of age, who are related by blood, marriage (including de facto) adoption, step or fostering, and who are usually resident in the same household.
Fertility rate
The average number of children a woman can expect to have over her life, based on current rates of child-bearing.
Fringe Melbourne or urban fringe
This term refers to the non-urban area within the Melbourne metropolitan area and includes both 'towns' such as Pakenham, Melton and Sunbury as well as areas that are considered rural.
Geographic Information System (GIS)
A system for capturing, storing and using data that is spatially referenced. The term is often associated with a specific set of information technology components.
Gross rental yield
This is frequently used to compare the investment return on a property investment. To calculate the amount, you divide the yearly rental income by the purchase price of the property.
For instance, the yearly rental income on a three-bedroom house in Coburg is $18,200 and the median house price is $509,250 resulting in a gross rental yield of 3.57%.
Group household
A group household is a household containing two or more unrelated people where all persons are aged 15 years or more, and where there are no couple relationships, parent-child relationships or other blood relationships.
Literally meaning 'back country', the term hinterland refers to a geographical area served by a population, economic or political centre.
A detached building used for long-term residential purposes.
a group of two or more related or unrelated people who usually reside in the same dwelling, who regard themselves as a household, and who make common provision for food or other essentials for living; or
a person who makes provision for his/her own food and other essentials for living, without combining with any other person to form part of a multi-person household.
Household size
The number of persons per household in any given area.
Household type
The type of household within a dwelling.
Note that family households can contain non-family members, such as unrelated persons and visitors. The "other household type" category includes households for which information for all persons has been imputed, and households containing only persons aged under 15 years.
This is the usual gross weekly income of all people aged 15 years and over.
It is the income before tax, superannuation, health insurance, and other deductions. It includes income from family allowance and supplement, pensions, unemployment benefits, student allowance, maintenance (child support), superannuation, wages, salary, overtime, dividends, rents received, interest received, farm or business income (less operation expenses) and workers' compensation.
Household income is the sum of the personal incomes of each resident present in the household.
The type of industry in which persons are employed. Industries are classified according to the Australian Standard Industrial Classification (ASIC), published by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, 1983 (catalogue no. 1201.0 and 1202.0).
Infill development
New residential development that occurs on small sites in established suburbs and produces less than 10 new dwellings.
The installations and facilities that provide a fundamental framework for an economy, facilitating industrial, agricultural and other forms of economic development.
It includes the provision of transport, communication, power supplies and other public utilities.
Labour intensive
A form of production in which a high proportion of labour is used relative to the amount of land or capital employed.
Investment return
From a real estate perspective, an investment return is very similar to the capital growth figure. It is the percentage of change in value of the investment over a given period of time.
Labour force
People aged 15 years and over who are employed or unemployed and actively looking for work.
Local Government Area (LGA)
The geographical area for which an incorporated local government council is responsible.
Lone-person household
This is defined as a person who makes provision for the essentials of living without combining with any other person to form part of a multi-person household.
Lower quartile
The lower quartile is the point where one quarter (25%) of the prices in the series are lower than this point.
Major residential redevelopment
Land from redundant, surplus and, in some cases, inappropriately located facilities, which is recycled for residential purposes. Major redevelopment sites are those that accommodate more than 10 dwellings.
Marital status
Married persons are those who are reported as being married (including de facto) and where both are usual residents of the household at the time of the Census.
A de facto marriage is regarded as one in which the relationship of two people of the same or opposite sex is reported as de facto, partner, common law husband/wife/spouse, lover, boyfriend, girlfriend.
Median price
The median is the middle price in a series of sales, where half of the sales are of lower value and half are of a higher value.
For example, if 15 sales are recorded in a suburb and arranged in order from lowest to highest value, the eighth sale price is the median price.
Median prices are used rather than average or mean prices as they are unaffected by a few unusually high or low prices in a series. Average or mean prices are affected by unusually high or low values in a series. Using the median presents a more accurate indicator of true market activity.
Median prices are used for REIV Property Updates, quarterly and annually, and REIA Market Facts.
Median value
The median value is the middle price in a series of sales, where half of the sales are of lower value and half are of a higher value.
For example, if 15 sales are recorded in a suburb and arranged in order from lowest to highest value, the eighth sale price is the median price.
Median prices are used rather than average prices because median prices are unaffected by a few unusually high or low prices, making them a more accurate indicator of true market activity.
Medium density housing
Generally defined as more than one dwelling on an ordinary house block, or any form of attached housing such as townhouses or apartments.
Information about data or data sets.
Metadata is essential for the user to determine correct use of a data set, whether in digital or analogue form.
Melbourne metropolitan area
This area covers the metropolitan area of Melbourne, including outlying towns such as Werribee, Melton, Sunbury, Craigieburn, Healesville and Pakenham as well as the Mornington Peninsula.
This area is equivalent to the 31 Melbourne Local Government Areas and is also referred to as the 'Melbourne region'.
A term applied loosely to any large city but specifically to a city wherein lies its country's seat of government, ecclesiastical authority or commercial activity.
The movement of people from one area to another. This movement may take place within a city or region, between different states (interstate migration) or between different countries (overseas migration).
Minimum standards in rooming houses
From 31 March 2013, rooming house operators must comply with minimum standards set out in the Residential Tenancies (Rooming House Standards) Regulations 2012. These standards relate to privacy, security, safety and amenity in rooming houses. For more information visit the Consumer Affairs Victoria website .
Mode of travel
The method of travel to work for each person aged 15 years or more who was employed during the week before the Census. Up to three different methods of travel are recorded for each person.
The frequency with which deaths occur in a population.
Mortgage repayments
These are housing loan repayments made by a household to purchase the dwelling in which it was enumerated. It is also applicable to caravans.
Note that the percentages in the quartiles represent households, not persons.
Moving annual median
The moving annual median is an average of the quarterly figure for the past year.
When a new quarterly figure is obtained, it is added to the figures for the preceding three quarters. The total figure for the last four quarters is divided by four to arrive at the new moving annual median.
The moving annual median is used to illustrate trends and to make comparisons over time.
Natural increase
The difference between the number of births and the number of deaths.
Net population growth
The total amount of population change, whether positive or negative, between two periods in any given area.
Non-private dwelling
A non-private dwelling is a form of establishment that provides a communal type of accommodation, e.g. hotels, motels and hospitals.
The type of work carried out irrespective of the industry in which it is performed.
Other residential dwellings
A broad Australian Bureau of Statistics definition of dwellings other than attached houses, including semi-detached houses, flats and apartments.
Owners Corporation
Owners Corporation is a term in Victoria and replaces the term Body Corporate.
An owners' corporation commonly exists in units, apartments and medium-density housing where there is shared property, such as a driveway, stairs or car park. It can have as few as two members and there are rules governing how owners' corporations operate and their roles.
If you are considering buying a property, the vendor needs to declare that he or she is an owners' corporation member and provide details on the corporation's workings.
Participation rate
The ratio of the labour force to the civilian population aged 15 years or more.
Population density
The number of people in relation to the space in which they live. The most common measure is the number of persons per square kilometre.
Population projections
Estimates of the future size and characteristics of a population, based on the pattern of past trends and the predicted future pattern of births, deaths, migration and land availability.
Private dwellings
A private dwelling is normally defined as: a house, flat, part of a house, or even a room; a house attached to, or rooms above, shops or offices; an occupied caravan in a caravan park or craft in a marina; a houseboat; or a tent if it is standing on its own block of land.
Private sale
Private sales account for around 70 per cent of all property sales and are more common the further from the CBD the property is located.
Unlike selling at auction, the property is advertised for sale and the sale price is negotiated between the vendor and the prospective purchasers.
Purchasers of properties at private sale generally have a cooling-off period of three business days.
Public sector
That part of a national economy subject to direct government ownership and control.
The constituents of the public sector are the departments of central and local government, various government agencies and the nationalised industries.
The public sector is motivated by the welfare of the community as a whole
The values that divide a frequency distribution or set of ranked observations into four equal parts.
Recent migrants
This gives the year of arrival in Australia (relative to the Census date) for people born overseas who intend staying in Australia for at least one year.
Regional Victoria
This refers to those areas of Victoria that fall outside the Melbourne metropolitan region.
Rental payments
The rent (in dollars) paid weekly by households for the dwelling in which they were enumerated on Census night, including caravans in caravan parks.
The percentage figures given for each of the four quartiles refer to percentages of households.
Section 32
The Section 32, also known as the “Vendor’s Statement”, is a document that discloses a range of matters that affect the sale of land and must be disclosed to potential purchasers.
It is known as the “Section 32”, as that is the section in f the Sale of Land Act 1962 in which the requirements are detailed.
The statement is usually prepared by the vendor’s solicitor or conveyancer and must be available both separately and as part of the contract of sale.
The statement generally contains factors that may affect the sale of land, for instance building permits, particulars of a mortgage, description of an easement, covenant or other similar restriction, the zoning and details of electricity, gas, water, sewerage and telephone services.
The Sale of Land Act 1962 contains a full list of the requirements.
Parts of the economy as judged by the economic activity that they constitute. For example, agriculture, forestry, fishing and mining constitute the primary sector.
Separate house
A house standing separately in its own grounds but separated from other dwellings by at least half a metre.
Settlement occurs when the buyer pays the balance of the selling price. Adjustments are made for water and council rates, strata levies for units and any outstanding mortgages are paid out by the seller from the purchase price. The buyer becomes the legal owner of the property after settlement.
The period between the exchange of contracts and settlement is usually four to six weeks, although either party may ask for a longer or shorter settlement period prior to exchange. Make sure the settlement period suits your needs. This will affect your move and the sale of your own property, if you have one.
Organising a move into the property on the settlement day can sometimes be difficult, as there can be last-minute issues that may delay settlement by hours or days. Ideally, you would not plan to move in on the day of settlement.
Spatial information
Information that includes a reference to a two- or three-dimensional position in space as one of its attributes.
Statistical division
Geographical area defined by the Australian Bureau of Statistics consisting of one or more statistical subdivisions and covering, in aggregate, the whole of Australia without gaps or overlaps. They do not cross state or territory boundaries and are the largest statistical area building blocks of states and territories.
Strategic planning
Strategic planning is a systematic way of producing a framework for taking decisions and actions that shape and guide the urban system or rural district.
Under the Planning and Environment Act 1987, the planning authority is required to provide sound strategic and coordinated planning of the use and development of land in its area.
A district within the metropolitan area that lies within commuting distance of the centre, and which can have a distinct social and urban identity.
Suburbs are registered with the Victorian Registrar of Geographic Names and published in the Victorian Government Gazette.
The measurement of dimensions (contour, position, boundaries, area, height etc) of any part of the earth's surface (land or water) or any cultural feature.
This applies to all private dwellings, and describes whether households are renting or purchasing or whether they own the dwelling in which they were enumerated on Census night, or whether they live in the dwelling under some other arrangement.
The category 'purchasing' includes being purchased under a rent–buy scheme. The category 'other' includes being occupied rent-free and being occupied under a life-tenure scheme. The percentages given represent percentages of households.
Total population
The total number of persons counted in an area on Census night. This figure includes all visitors and excludes any residents overseas, interstate or elsewhere in Victoria on Census night. Refer to Census for further information.
Persons who have no paid employment but are actively seeking work.
Unemployment rate
The number of unemployed persons expressed as a percentage of the labour force.
Unoccupied private dwellings
The number of private dwellings that are habitable but unoccupied on Census night.
Upper quartile
The upper quartile is the point where one quarter (25%) of the prices in the series are higher than this point.
Urban fringe
Refers to areas outside urban Melbourne and includes both 'towns' such as Pakenham, Melton and Sunbury, as well as areas that are considered rural.
Urban Melbourne
The term 'urban Melbourne' is used to describe the parts of the Melbourne metropolitan area that are contiguously urban or suburban parts of Melbourne. This includes at least some part of every one of the 31 metropolitan local government areas and includes all inner- and middle-distance locations.
The outer nine local government areas (Cardinia, Casey, Hume, Melton, Mornington Peninsula, Nillumbik, Whittlesea, Wyndham and Yarra Ranges) are split into parts that may be deemed part of urban Melbourne, rural areas or 'towns'. These include places such as Melton and Sunbury that are not joined to Melbourne although they are to all intents and purposes part of what is generally understood to constitute metropolitan Melbourne.
Urban primacy
Refers to the pre-eminence of an urban centre or urban centres in terms of population or political power over the small town and rural hinterland.
Vacancy rate
The REIV surveys Member agencies to build a register of the percentage of private rental homes that are vacant.
The vacancy rate is simply the number of vacant rental properties that than an agency has on its books divided by the number of rental properties they have.
For instance, if an agency has 100 rental homes on its books and five are vacant at a point in time then the vacancy rate is five per cent.
The vacancy rate is a general measure and it may be the case that the vacancy rate is higher in one suburb than another. The vacancy rate may also differ depending on the type of property.
Used as a synonym for manufacturing. Adding value to a primary product.
Vehicles for the purpose of the Census are registered motor vehicles that are owned or used by members of a household and were garaged or parked near the occupied private dwelling on Census night.
Company-owned vehicles kept at home are included, but motor bikes, scooters and tractors are excluded.
Vendor bid
A vendor bid occurs when an auctioneer or the vendor bids on the property during the course of an auction. It must be clearly announced and is normally a sign by the vendor or auctioneer that a higher amount needs to be offered to secure the property.