Estate Agents as Interpreters of Economic and Cultural Capital: The Gentrification Premium in the Sydney Housing Market


This article focuses on the role of real estate agents as interpreters of the relationship between housing aesthetics (taste) and price. The research includes an analysis of housing advertisements, observation of housing auctions, and interviews with real estate agents in the gentrified inner western suburbs of Sydney, Australia. Adapting the work of Pierre Bourdieu on social class, the article argues that the relationship between housing taste and price captures the interaction of cultural and economic capital and that the intermediary role of the estate agent can be used to explore this. It concludes that the gentrification aesthetic is dynamic and increasingly demands economic capital at the expense of cultural capital (a gentrification premium) to maintain class distinction.