Australia, we have a problem – a very big one. Whether you are an owner-occupier or a tenant, this problem effects the roof over your head, and it is not a COVID creation.
It greatly concerns me that no one truly understands the extent of what can only be described as a horrible mess. Hoping to have a positive influence on future decisions, I have devoted 3-weeks of my life to producing this comprehensive report and submitted it to the federal government and Reserve Bank of Australia on 17 March 2021.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
There is clearly something major wrong when an advanced country such as Australia has umpteen thousand families who are unwillingly anchored to where they are currently living and unable to pursue life’s most important aspirations, all because they cannot gain access to alternative housing (to buy or rent). It is unAustralian!
Some of these people are already living in a home and want to move on but cannot. Others have moved out of one home and are now living in makeshift ‘accommodation’ such as cars, caravans, on couches and in tents. They have jobs and income, but there is no suitable accommodation available.
Housing construction is not the problem. To understand things, one must keep in mind that most people do not stay living in the same property all of their life. Regardless of population growth, one’s life circumstances change from time to time, prompting people look to upgrade, downsize or move town.
But not now. Australian real estate is locked-up, frozen.
Most of life’s biggest dreams revolve around real estate. The dream to accommodate a bigger family, the dream to upgrade to a nicer home, the dream to buy that first home, the dream to invest in one’s future, or moving town to pursue a lifestyle or career dream.
One’s home is one’s castle, unless one no longer wants to live there. For those in that situation right now, it is one’s ‘prison’. Thow shalt not leave even if thou wants to.
There are currently two (2) separate seriously important issues. In both cases, Australian real estate has never before experienced worse conditions than right now:
- Grossly insufficient national rental stock to accommodate the 35 percent of Australians who choose to rent (Sydney and Melbourne are the exception to the rest of Australia); and
- Of the 65 percent of Australians who live in owner-occupied accommodation, there is a horrible mobility crisis for anyone with aspirations to move. For several years, the volume of properties listed for sale right across Australia has reduced to such a small volume that the system is now gridlocked.
As a very concerned Australian and one who’s profession requires an intimate understanding of the machinations of property markets, the author of this report has devoted tens of hours to compile this document in attempt to influence the right reins being pulled [refer ‘About The Author‘].
2. Popular opinion does not mean ‘correct response’
This time 12-months ago, to minimise potential COVID-19 contagion, Australia had just entered a national lockdown. A big bunch of so-called ‘clever financial cookies’ rang the alarm bell by immediately predicting that COVID-19 would tip Australia into the biggest ever property market downturn.
Within just 6-months of that prediction, property markets all over Australia were back running at the boom pace which started a few months before the arrival of the germ. And today, property markets are running hotter than anything seen in an entire generation.
Suddenly, the same so-called ‘clever financial cookies’ are again ringing alarm bells, this time for a different reason. According to them, APRA needs to (yet again) tighten credit policy.
There is one concert of people whom, whenever property prices rise, believe the solution is to call the police (aka ‘APRA’) and make it hard for Australians to borrow money. And there is a separate concert of people that believe a sugar-fix (aka ‘government grants and incentives’) needs to be administered whenever markets are sluggish. Neither strategy will ever be sustainable, both will cause unintended consequences.
Let’s all get one thing crystal clear. Real estate will always be the centrepiece of the national economy!
In addition to providing shelter for the (everchanging) needs of Australia’s growing population, a real estate system that is fluid is one which underpins household confidence, household finances, demand for a wide range of professional services and retail spending.
Real estate transactions generate a high proportion of government revenues, in turn used for funding infrastructure and the provision of public services. And household investment in real estate plays a critical role in rental supply, wealth creation and reduces Australia’s welfare / aged pension liability.
Out of concern for the national economy immediately before and again after the arrival of COVID-19, the RBA reduced the cash rate 5-times between May 2019 and November 2020. And state and federal governments have borrowed big to invest record amounts into restoring economic growth.
Only a narrow-minded simpleton could seriously think that tightening credit policy would be anything other than detrimental to all this.
As for the significant upward pressure currently on Australian real estate values and rents, it was APRA’s refusal to properly consider the full consequences of tightening credit policy between 2015 and 2019 that became the primary reason for Australian real estate today being locked-up. To again tighten credit policy will further compound today’s enormous problem, not fix it!
3. Summary of recommendations
Later in this document we will present facts and commentary in support of our recommendations. Below is a summary of our recommendations:
- The single most important issue in Australia right now is the horrendous undersupply of rental accommodation. There is no ‘quick fix’, but the only viable solution is to reduce barriers of entry for the everyday Aussie property investors who generate the rental supply [refer ‘Worst Rental Crisis In History‘].
- The much-needed WD40 to enable households to move freely again is to immediately stop introducing policies that block the system, to restore stability and public confidence, and to announce to the Australian people that they need not fear APRA again pulling the rug out from borrowers like they did a couple of years ago. Control the message, start removing blockages as opposed to adding more friction to a locked-up system [refer ‘Human Mobility Crisis‘].
- Significantly improve credit application efficiencies. With modern technology, banks should be able to assess and approve a borrower’s application for credit within hours of receiving it [refer ‘ Housing Finance‘].
- Both sides of government must commit to keeping real estate out of all debates for the next federal election. Real estate was used as a political football for the last two federal elections. The continuous policy changes plus intense speculation surrounding other proposed changes creates considerable uncertainty, thereby discouraging property owners from listing real estate for sale. [refer ‘ How To Unlock Australian Real Estate‘].
- Provide first-time property buyers with a fair and predictable framework that includes a long-term commitment from state governments for a stamp duty exemption on the first $400,000 of a property plus a one-off grant of (say) $20,000 towards the purchase of one property. Governments must stop trying to incentivise vulnerable people into buying brand new dwellings (often built with poor quality controls) and instead provide the aforementioned support for whatever property best suits each buyer’s needs, whether it be new or established, owner-occupied or rent-vested [refer ‘ Housing Affordability‘].
- Promptly increase the RBA cash rate by 0.5 percent and then completely leave it alone until such time that wages are growing by more than 3 percent per annum.
- Remove the premium that property investors are currently charged on investment home loans (currently a loading of circa 1 percent).
4. Damning Set Of Numbers
Over the last 15-years, the extra 958,000 dwellings added to the national housing stock is more than enough for the 1,871,000 increase in the national population.
But with a heap more people and a truckload of extra dwellings, the volume of real estate transaction in recent years is 16 percent lower than 15-years ago.
Australia’s annual real estate transactions have been on a progressive downward trend from circa 500,000 15-years ago to 420,000 in the years directly before the arrival of COVID-19. You are right if you think that does not make sense!
Australia typically adds 180,000 extra dwellings to its national housing stock each year and total stock currently sits at 10.6 million.
There are 82,350 fewer dwellings listed for sale today than 9-years ago even though Australia’s total dwelling stock is 1.5 million greater. Houston, this is your problem – insufficient sales listings, as opposed to insufficient total dwelling stock!
This year, as with every year, plenty of people want to buy real estate, but the record low volume of dwellings listed for sale is underpinning the intense upward pressure on asset values all over Australia.
Do not blame the germ, national listing volumes have been on a sharp decline for 6-years and were already very low before COVID-19 arrived. Here’s the proof!
Propertyology’s analysis of historical evidence suggests that a property market which has between 3.25 percent and 3.75 percent of total dwelling stock listed for sale is quite healthy.
Nationally, Australian real estate has not been healthy for 5-years. And the current record low 2.4 percent is akin to an emergency ward. The dreams of tens of thousands of Aussies are being squashed because of it.
Currently, there is an all-time record low volume of dwellings listed for sale in Hobart, while Adelaide, Brisbane and Canberra are also fast approaching record lows.
The resale undersupply pressures are even greater in dozens of regional locations (big and small) right across Australia. Just some of the regional locations currently with all-time record low resale supply include Bendigo, Coffs Harbour, Dubbo, Kempsey, Launceston, Mount Gambier, Rockhampton, Shepparton and Warrnambool.
The problem is widespread!
Let us not forget that overseas migration (which typically contributes 220,000 to Australia’s population growth each year) was ground to a halt 12-months ago.
Meanwhile, construction of new dwellings (typically adding 180,000 to national stock levels per year) has continued – in fact, with initiatives such as HomeBuilder, it is accelerating.
Australia’s rental supply is even worse than resale supply. The anecdotal reports of families all over Australia with incomes but cannot find rental accommodation is not an Australia to be proud of.
A healthy rental market typically has a residential vacancy rate of between 2 and 3 percent. Anything below 1.5 percent is seriously unhealthy.
Research conducted by Propertyology confirms that, as at the end of February 2021, 136 out of Australia’s 150 biggest towns and cities are officially in rental crisis (their vacancy rate is below 1.5 percent). Thanks APRA!
Anyone currently looking to find rental accommodation and are fortunate enough to win the bidding battle are paying a hefty premium because Australia’s pool of rental accommodation is grossly undersupplied.
The thing is, decisions lead to actions and actions leave footprints. Australian real estate is locked-up because of past decisions by a collection of government departments.
5. Cause And Effect
A series of poor policy decisions since May 2015 has created blockages in both of the aforementioned systems.
One must understand that housing supply, housing finance, consumer confidence and the national economy are all directly linked. Tinker at the edges of one and there will be a knock-on response somewhere else in the chain, often a couple of years later.
Over the last 6-years, the actions of APRA (the government department chartered with the responsibility of regulating the behaviour of banks), the incumbent Liberal government and the opposition Labor government all have played a role in locking up Australian real estate.
The root cause of today’s mess stems from ill-informed policy decisions between 2013 and 2017 that were made as a reaction to Sydney and Melbourne’s last property boom.
Back then, those two cities had strong property markets and high confidence in their respective local economies but most of the rest of Australia had soft conditions.
Nonetheless, a series of new (national) policies were introduced without regard for the huge disparity from one location to the next in respect to the cost of housing, the level of activity from each buyer demographic (owner-occupier, investor, etc), the size of the rental pool, the new construction supply pipeline and the strength (or fragility) of local economies.
The graphic below is a stark reminder of the avalanche of policy changes that progressively squeezed the confidence out of homeowners and property investors. The trendline associated with the series of events in this graphic is compelling.
Today’s record low rental supply in locations all over Australia (exc Sydney and Melbourne) is a consequence of 6-years of consistently squeezing those who fund the nation’s rental accommodation.
Similarly, today’s mobility crisis is a consequence of the same series of events. Persistent squeezing reduced homeowner’s desire to transact in real estate, while tighter credit policies reduced the ability of those prepared to participate.
If those who own the assets are not afforded an environment that provides confidence, they will not list their existing asset for sale. Instead of a regular grease and oil change, grit has been added to the system. It is now locked-up!
Now, for the first time in well over a decade, a big critical mass of people from locations all over Australia have aspirations to move home (either to somewhere else within their hometown or to completely relocate to another town). But they are presented with no housing stock to buy. They are locked up!
The people in high places who, a few years ago, pulled the wrong reins in response to rising property prices in two cities, did so by introducing policies that created other problems. There is no quick fix for today’s mess, but we must ensure we do not make it worse.
6. Worst Rental Crisis In History
The current rental crisis that exists in 6 out of 8 capital cities and circa 200 regional towns and cities (big and small) is the single biggest unintended consequence of 6-years of poor governance of Australia’s housing finance.
One in three dwellings in Australia are rented. 98 percent of Australia’s rental stock is supplied by everyday Aussie property investors.
It will always be that way – governments can barely afford to fund essential infrastructure; it will never be their role to fund rental supply.
Investing in residential real estate is a discretionary action which approximately 2.3 million Australians have already pursued, thereby supplying almost all of Australia’s current 3.5 million rented dwellings.
One cannot expect investor participation (rental supply) to keep pace with rental demand when:
- APRA’s overzealous credit policy results in investment loan applications from thousands of responsible borrowers being declined,
- banks are charging investors a 1-percent higher interest rate than owner-occupiers,
- the federal government removes legitimate (depreciation) tax deductions,
- Australia has two federal elections centred around scrapping negative gearing,
- state governments are charging investors higher stamp duties than owner-occupiers, and
- recent changes to state-based rental legislation means that investors no longer have the right to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ for something that they own.
With the total value of home loans to purchase residential investment dwellings in recent years being the same as 18-years ago (when the population was smaller and property prices were lower), it is no wonder that Australia currently has an enormous rental crisis.
There are anecdotal reports from real estate agents all over Australia of fed-up landlords selling properties to owner-occupiers (not first home buyers). For every person that does that, that’s one less rental property in the pool and additional upward pressure on rents.
At the end of February 2021, there were only 18,920 dwellings advertised for rent for the 15.1 million Australians that live somewhere other than Sydney and Melbourne. This is ‘Exhibit A’ of unintended consequences.
The sharp decline of the green trendline in the below graphic is proof of the harmful consequence of the aforementioned policies, with APRA’s actions being the most damaging.
While Sydney and Melbourne are currently dealing with the challenge of its highest ever vacancy rates (a combined 52,624 vacant dwellings advertised for rent), the combined rest of Australia is confronted with the biggest housing crisis in our nation’s history. Thanks APRA!
Over the last few years, Propertyology has provided a running commentary of the consistent tightening of rental markets. The green trend line in the above graphic has been on an incredibly sharp decline since 2017, directly after the crazy policy stuff started.
As a consequence, people who want to pursue an employment opportunity that involves moving town are locked-out, young couples who are ready to move out of home are locked-in, it’s a sad case of ‘too bad’ for those needing to find alternative accommodation due to a relationship split, while others looking for a bigger and / or nicer property are also stuffed.
Today’s intense upward pressure on rents and the horrible stories of hardworking people all over Australia living in makeshift accommodation can only be addressed through increased investor activity.
A majority of tenants who have remained living in the same rental property will have seen very little change in rent expense for several years.
On the other hand, the current shortage of dwellings advertised for rent in large parts of Australia has resulted in those looking to move having to now pay circa $40 per week more than (say) 18-months ago.
The cumulative rent increase over the last 10-years, particularly in capital cities, has not been unreasonable.
Interestingly, over the last decade, the locations that have produced the biggest rent increases and the specific years when rents increased most is indisputable proof that the volume of properties purchased by investors (rental supply) directly translates to the change in rent prices (rental demand).
For example, cities like Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth are generally front of mind for investors and rental supply has therefore been largely in line with demand for much of the last decade. The increase in rents for houses in these high-profile cities is similar to CPI while the cost to rent an apartment has barely moved over the 10-years.
Numerous regional locations all over Australia have seen higher rent increases than capital cities, largely due to lower participation by investors in these locations.
An increase in rental supply is required to restore balance to the cost of rents. If governments respond to public outcries with yet another round of legislation to regulate landlord behaviour, that will make the matter worse (not better) through further discouraging investor participation.
The only sustainable solution is to learn from past errors, remove legislative and housing finance blockages, and provide a system which encourages higher investor participation (rental supply).
7. Human Mobility Crisis
Now and always, an overwhelming majority of buyers want to purchase established dwelling stock. And many of those same buyers also need to sell, but as illustrated in earlier graphics, vendors have increasingly lacked the confidence to list their property for sale.
Australia’s ‘Lucky Country’ tag was earned through our population being able to pursue their dreams. A fluid system for acquiring real estate is absolutely fundamental to this. A fluid system is one which is predictable to all stakeholders and prioritises efficiencies.
Mobility in Australia has progressively become more difficult over recent years due to consumer confidence being damaged by several big policy changes and a horribly inefficient process for accessing housing finance.
The state government taxes on mobility (stamp duty) are also onerous. Depending on which state they buy in, an existing owner-occupier that was looking to ‘replace’ their current dwelling with another property that costs $650,000 will pay between $15,000 and $35,000 in stamp duty.
The current real estate mobility crisis is akin to a multi-lane highway and everyone having access to a set of wheels, but some goose has decided that peak-hour is a good time to close 2-lanes for random-breath-tests. The solution is to unblock the lanes, not to tell people to get out and walk.
Today’s upward pressure on asset values is largely attributed to low listing volumes.
One could argue that mobility has never been more important in Australia than right with the increased interest in relocating away from our big cities to all corners of regional Australia. In addition to having a real estate system which supports those who want to pursue relocation dreams, regional relocations play an important role in:
- releasing pressure on big city infrastructure,
- help fill labour shortages (total job advertisements in combined regional locations were 72 percent higher in March 2021 than immediately before COVID whereas it was only 10 percent higher in the combined capital cities), and
- Australia’s affordable housing challenge.
The ideal scenario is for household dreams to still be possible, economic growth to be allowed to occur and pressure on asset values to progressively normalise.
The only sustainable way to achieve all three is for regulators to keep out of the way. It will probably take a couple of years but listing volumes will eventually return to normal levels if the system is given time to breathe.
8. New Dwelling Supply
The evidence certainly confirms that today’s intense upward pressure on property prices is not as a result of Australia not building a sufficient number of dwellings in recent years.
It is important that one can distinguish between total dwelling stock, supply of new dwellings, and supply of established dwellings that are listed for sale.
People are not homogenous, real estate is not homogenous either. Contrary to what those so-called clever financial cookies think, ‘housing supply-and-demand’ has never been a simple formula of 3 minus 2 = 1. [refer ‘True meaning of housing demand’]
People do not remain living in the same dwelling for their entire life. People like whatever they like and will occasionally want to move.
The abundance of inner-city apartments that remain unsold in Australia’s big cities is proof that people won’t buy what they don’t want.
For similar reasons, it would be foolish for one to think the solution for today’s real estate challenge is to build a heap of new house-and-land packages on the outskirts of every town.
Circa 65 percent of real estate transactions each year are for the purchase of an established dwelling, mostly for owner-occupier purposes.
Assuming that overseas migration recommences soon and Australia’s population gets back to growing by circa 380,000 per year, the historical monthly average of 15,000 extra dwellings added to Australia’s total housing stock is more than adequate.
9. Housing Finance
Just in case it is not already abundantly clear, the single biggest blockage in the ecosystem of Australian housing is related to housing finance.
The current housing finance system is invasive, unproductive, highly inefficient and does very little to instil confidence in those wanting to transact in real estate.
It beggers belief that, if home loan applications could be approved within a day or two when the world did not have modern technology, it now takes two or three weeks.
Any system that fails to fully assess something as simple as a borrower’s credit application within 2-days of receiving it is a failed system.
The biggest blockage in the finance system relates to assessing a borrower’s ability to service debts.
An intelligent credit system confirms a borrower’s employment, uses judgement to determine a reliable annual income amount, calculates whether that income is sufficient to pay all financial commitments, taxes and general living expenses, and places some value on an adult’s ability to make adjustments to budgets if / when circumstances change.
The fact that a modern society embraces a digital economy (there are very few cash transactions these days) does not mean it is suddenly irresponsible for a bank to assess a credit application without an invasive investigation into exactly how a borrower spends their discretionary income.
Australian banks have been providing finance to purchase real estate for more than 200-years. We have turned a relatively simple exercise into something that now takes borrowers and banks significantly longer than necessary to collate the relevant documentation and then assess it.
From a government borrowing money to develop infrastructure, to a business expansion, or a household purchase of real estate, debt is not bad. When used wisely, debt brings dreams to reality.
Indeed, every state government and the federal government have recently increased their debt by more than ever.
There is a concert of highly risk averse people whom, every time property prices rise, quickly ring the alarm bell about rising debt levels. These lemon-suckers of life fail to understand that, of the very small portion of people who occasionally get into trouble with debt, it is the ability to service debt (not the size of debt) which causes the problem.
As a percentage of household income, the current interest expense within Australian household budgets has never been lower and the RBA has all but guaranteed that interest rates will remain incredibly low for umpteen years to come.
It is a complete nonsense to suggest that interest-only loans are ‘high risk’ or that volume increases in interest-only loans equates to a ‘drop in lending standards’. Most interest-only loans are for the purchase of an investment property, a discretionary action exercised by a small portion of borrowers with more financial discipline than most.
Investors typically request an interest-only loan structure as part of a strategy to accelerate debt reduction on their principal place of residence. Meanwhile, their ability to service borrowings is assessed on the basis of paying principle and interest and at a significantly higher interest rate (that’s prudent assessment, not a drop in lending standards).
For umpteen decades, banks have assessed a borrower’s ability to service debt by applying built-in buffers that include interest rates rising by between 1.5 percent and 2 percent (that assumes 6 to 8 RBA rate rises and no increases to a borrower’s income streams).
What is the point in applying these buffers if, every time property prices rise, the system allows the Nervous Neville’s at APRA to whack yet another clamp around credit?
The historical evidence confirms that, throughout decades of property booms and downturns, Australian home loan arrears have been consistently under 2 percent. Similarly, Australian bankruptcy rates have consistently been very low.
A property boom is not a bad thing, particularly when the criteria for assessing loans is as prudent as it is in Australia.
Right throughout Australia’s history, there has never been a situation of a property boom ending in widespread pain, but the last 6-years is proof that excessive regulatory constraints does create unintended consequences.
People forget that property markets in large parts of Australia have seen very little price growth for more than a decade. Even in Sydney and Melbourne, where the median house price doubled over the last decade, a large portion of apartments have seen modest price growth.
10. Housing Affordability
Real estate has always been the most expensive purchase one could make. But, as sure as the sun coming up tomorrow, periods of rising real estate prices always heightens the debate about housing affordability.
Society will always have a segment of the population who lack the motivation, the financial discipline or the preparedness to think laterally to get their first foot on the property ladder.
For the record, today’s median price of a detached house is below $600,000 in 350 of Australia’s 500 city councils and apartments are more affordable [source: CoreLogic, December 2020].
In the absence of generosity from a personal financial supporter, the biggest hurdle for first accomplishing property ownership is saving for a deposit and stamp duty.
As a means of demonstrating being sufficiently responsible to repay a mortgage, Australian banks have always required that a wannabee first-time property buyer must first demonstrate proof of financial discipline through saving a meaningful portion of a deposit.
While there are still large parts of Australia where one can buy a house or apartment for circa $400,000, there are various locations with a much higher entry price.
Meanwhile, there will always be people who can afford to purchase real estate but, for a variety of reasons, are not ready to put the anchor down on a mortgage for their principal place of residence.
Australia’s real estate system would benefit from recognising that rent-vesting is a fast-growing strategy that has legitimate merits for many aspiring property owners.
Governments and the broader industry can have a positive influence through breaking down falsehood stereotypes such as ‘rent-money-is-dead-money’. There is no one-fits-all approach to homeownership.
State and federal government funding for a one-off grant of (say) $20,000 seems a reasonable gesture of support. Whatever the amount of financial support any level government is prepared to commit to support a first-time buyer, it should not matter whether that first property is new or established, owner-occupied or rented out.
11. How To Unlock Australian Real Estate
Back when Australia’s population was between 19 and 23 million, 500,000 real estate dreams were realised each year.
On a pro rata basis, more than 550,000 real estate dreams should now be realised, but we are at least 20 percent short of this benchmark.
The role of government must be to provide a housing finance and tax ‘system’ which is stable, predictable, efficient and allows mobility.
The only way to achieve this is relevant government departments and key stakeholders in housing finance and real estate to be representatives of ‘the system’.
The risk of unintended consequences will always be very high when all stakeholders that may be influenced by key decisions are not present at the boardroom table.
Spasmodic policy constraints, stimulus packages and incentives that occur from time to time are indicative of desperate acts to either accelerate or decelerate housing and the economy. A truly efficient system would rarely need to do that.
Consequently, Australia is today paying a massive price in the form of grossly insufficient rental accommodation and a dire lack of mobility.
One can build a heap of new estates on the outer urban footprint of every town, but it will do little to release the pressure valve of the long queues at real estate open homes and auctions in the traditional middle-ring suburban streets.
The absolute worst thing that people in high places could do right now is to respond to this national property boom in a similar way to the Sydney-Melbourne boom of several years ago. APRA’s clamp around credit supply is the main reason that we are in this mess today.
Property booms and downturns are perfectly natural events which have always occurred periodically in literally every Australian town and city, regardless of their size.
Bearing in mind how entwined real estate is into consumer confidence, the economy, welfare expenses and wealth creation, there is significantly more good than bad to come from rising property prices.
Government departments must stop reacting to the worm on their dashboard. A system which constantly requires re-engineering is a faulty system. Good systems understand cause-and-affect, internally they maintain faith that built-in buffers will always be adequate, and the external messaging is always one of stability and predictability.
This report contains a plethora of evidence to illustrate the cause and effect of decisions that are made by a system that does not involve all stakeholders. One can only hope that today’s decision-makers learn from errors made by their predecessors.
12. About The Author
Simon Pressley is founder and managing director of Propertyology, a national property market research firm and Hall of Fame Inductee of Real Estate Institute of Australia.
Since before the GFC, Simon spends each day analysing the fundamentals of the property markets of every capital city and every regional location throughout Australia. Having studied Australian real estate history to the nth degree, Simon has an intimate understanding of the complexities of property markets, the machinations of the numerous inputs, and the knock-on effect that human actions have on property markets. There is no university degree or training course which teaches these things.
When, during the onset of COVID-19, every single bank and a big bunch of economists were predicting the biggest downturn in Australian real estate history, Simon was the only person in Australia to correctly predict that property markets would actually boom and that it would only take a few months for that to occur. The below graphic contains a visual summary of some of Simon’s other thought-leading forecasts.
Immediately prior to analysing national property markets full time, Simon gained invaluable experience at the real estate transaction level as a buyer’s agent. With the skills and appropriate licences to operate in five (5) different states, Simon was recognised as Australia’s Buyer’s Agent of the Year in three (3) consecutive years and subsequently inducted into the Real Estate Institute of Australia Hall of Fame.
Simon has recruited, trained and developed a team of buyer’s agents that have helped everyday Aussies to invest in real estate in eighteen (18) individual cities and towns across Australia.
An elite decision-maker, Simon is a graduate of Australian Institute Company of Directors and former elite-level AFL Umpire.
Prior to pursuing a career in real estate, Simon gained valuable knowledge about banking, finance and credit. A 10-year career with Commonwealth Bank of Australia included roles in assessing credit applications, a broad appreciation for commerce, and understanding the consequences of borrowers defaulting on credit.
Subsequent to CBA, Simon owned and operated a mortgage broking business. In 2004, Simon was awarded Australian Mortgage Broker of the Year Award.
Simon has tertiary qualifications which include property investment advisory, financial planning and housing finance.
Called upon most days by different segments of the media, Simon’s objective and often very direct commentary on property market matters are featured in print, radio and television. He is also happy to consider requests for being a keynote speaker at events.