2015. More Of Not The Same

That hoot you’re hearing is the siren sounding. It’s all over for the real estate year (although there’s still a little post-season trading).

It’s been a year just like all the others, which is to say a year uniquely its own. No two are ever quite alike.

Yup. Things went up. That’s the (this year, king) tide. Tides rise and fall.

Then there are some developments that are arriving with the force of gravity. Hardly noticeable at first, but they’ll be with us for a long, long time and they’ll change … everything.

Hello, Asia

We saw Chinese interest rise until it hit the headlines and then it seemed to fade.

But the forces that drove it are not going away — and they’ll be felt from well beyond China.

Growing wealth in Asia is leading to the desire for safe havens. The US, Canada, and much of Europe are also feeling its effects.

Is that a threat or an opportunity? Much depends on how we play it.

It could, for instance, turn into overseas-driven housing price unaffordability or, handled well, into new homes and the jobs that go with building them. It shouldn’t be allowed to turn into more examples of the debacle on St George’s Road where an extraordinary home was demolished to satisfy FIRB rules.

They’ve tightened the rules but they haven’t changed their direction.

There needs to be some vision of the town we’re building and how foreign investors (not residents, they’re not the problem) can make a positive contribution.

0’s and 1’s Tsunami

True digital disruption in real estate is yet to happen. What we’ve seen so far is little more than newspaper classified sections transferred to the web. More colour and movement, but the same old agent-driven advertising.

There’s a tsunami is on the horizon and it’s getting closer. It will put buyers and sellers in charge, just as it has in jobs and car sales.

The insights of our love child, realAs, become more and more amazing. It’s not just that the algorithm is now predicting most sale prices within 4% of actual results, it’s producing data which provides a running tally on which agents are working on the side of truth and which are not. And that’s only the tip of the big data iceberg.

There’s just one reason vendors hire agents: to get the best prices — but if buyers and sellers both know what the price will be, who needs an agent?

There may be facilitators, but the days of manipulative prices and excessive fees are surely numbered.

That’s the nut which is being cracked.

The Shooting Blanks Of The Year Award Goes To…

Private auctions. Heralded as the Great New Thing at the start of the year, they were almost dead by its end.

The problem? Too often, so private that nobody came.

The Who Needs Red Faces? Award

Agent goes all out in a bidding war. Against himself.

Bidding on behalf of a client, he twice raised his bid when the last bidder was … him.

(Let to himself, he could have set a new record in South Yarra.)

Next Year

We have it on excellent authority that it will follow this year.

Here’s hoping yours is a great one.

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