View from the top

January/February 2016 edition
Read the Journal’s exclusive interviews with industry leaders to find out what they thought of the year that was and what lies ahead.

Tim McKibbin

Q1. What is the biggest challenge the market faced in 2015?
The biggest challenge the market faced in 2015 was stock. The stock shortage was driven in part by vendors not wanting to be out of the market. We saw vendors buying before they were prepared to sell their existing property, such was the belief that they could sell their property fast and achieve a good result. There was a view held that it was more risky to sell and cash yourself up to buy than it was to acquire a bridging loan and stay in the market. This for me was clear evidence of a most unusual market attitude, with vendors treating their existing properties effectively as a liquid asset.
From the agent’s perspective, it became increasingly challenging to demonstrate value, when the media and other commentators were suggesting that anyone could sell property and achieve a great result in such a market. That media generated misguided perception was an unfortunate by-product of the buoyant market of 2015 that agents had to deal with.

Q2. What is going to influence or impact the way you do business in 2016?
The market is returning to a more traditional footing, which I believe is a positive outcome. There has been market and regulatory turmoil during 2015, generated largely by the unusual market conditions. Not having to deal with the by-products of such a market will improve the competent agent's value in the eyes of the vendor.

In 2016, agents will need to revisit their strategies to deal with the cooling market, particularly vendor expectations.

We cannot of course look into the future without giving due respect to the threat posed by the disrupters. We saw the impacts of Airbnb and Uber during 2015 on the industries that they attacked. We would be very naive indeed to think we will be exempt, so in my view this threat is not an if but a when, and in what form it will take.

There is of course no silver bullet to the disruptors threat. I do however firmly believe that substantially increasing the education, and therefore the skills and competencies of the agent, provides us with an initial, albeit a fragile, shield.

Currently a student can enter the profession with as little as a few days training. I ask rhetorically “what value can that person bring to the property transaction and how quickly can they be replaced by an App?”

Q3. What is your prediction for the market in 2016?
If interest rates remain stable and the market cools, I think we will see a greater volume of transactions that agents will no doubt welcome. The wild card is of course interest rates. If there is a cut, as some are predicting, then the cooling market we have seen during the latter part of 2015 may very well get another kick despite the efforts of the Australian Prudential Regulatory Authority to put pressure on the lending criteria of the banks.

There is however one thing that I am certain of, save any major external influence we will not see the market severely correct during 2016 as the ‘bubbleists’ predict. 

Andrew Cocks
Managing Director at Richardson & Wrench

Q1. What is the biggest challenge the market faced in 2015?
There has been plenty of commentary on the dynamics of the market during 2015. But one of the biggest challenges has been the influx of people entering the real estate profession who lack the experience to properly serve their clients. The impact of this on the reputation of the industry cannot be underestimated. Despite all of the major changes in the market and advances in technology, low education standards and poor performance by the under-qualified and inexperienced affects all of us.
Q2. What is going to influence or impact the way you do business in 2016?
The expectations of our clients have changed and will continue to rapidly evolve. The successful real estate operators will be those who structure their business to match their commercial objectives and adapt their services to best suit the needs of their clients.

Richardson & Wrench is focused on offering flexible services and business solutions that allow real estate professionals to operate their businesses to best suit their own goals, as well as providing complementary value-add services in all areas including finance, insurance, relocation and more.

Q3. What is your prediction for the market in 2016?
The unsustainable price growth experienced in major markets over recent years has been replaced by more typical market behaviour. Price movement in all markets will be constrained, with buyers having far greater negotiating power than has been the case in recent years.

The underlying performance of the real estate market will reflect broader economic and employment conditions. The transition from the mining and resources investment phase to more broadly-based economic activity is building momentum and international investment is improving. In combination this means a major downturn in the Australian economy or national real estate markets is unlikely.


Dr Andrew Wilson
Chief Economist at Domain Group

Q1. What is the biggest challenge the market faced in 2015?
The Sydney housing market experienced an unprecedented roller-coaster ride of buyer and seller activity through 2015 as confidence and market sentiment waxed and waned erratically.

Dramatic changes to interest rates clearly challenged the market with sharp cuts during autumn setting the market alight through the lowest mortgage rates since the 1960s.
Record price growth during the June quarter pushed seller expectations beyond buyer capacity, with an emerging blame game from disappointed bidders in booming auction markets focusing on China buyers and agents over-quoting. Strong prices growth was naturally fertile ground for the revival of the doomsayers housing bubble predictions.

Sky-high market sentiment however quickly reversed following unprecedented policy initiatives by the Australian Prudential Regulatory Authority that resulted in higher interest rates firstly for investors and then for owner-occupiers later in spring. A sharp decline in investor activity and growing buyer wariness generally pushed the market down from record highs over autumn to its lowest levels since 2012.

Q2. What is going to influence or impact the way you do business in 2016?

Although the housing market ran out of steam through 2015, there were clear signs through December that the market correction over spring had bottomed out with auction clearance rates stabilising. 

The Sydney housing market will continue to operate in a positive economic environment with the local economy clearly continuing to be the best performer of all the capitals. Unemployment rates continue to fall, jobs growth is strong and job seekers and investors will continue to be attracted to Sydney despite the barriers of relatively high cost of housing.

The Sydney housing market remains undersupplied despite significant construction, particularly of units, over the past 3 years. Vacancy rates for houses remain tight providing upward pressure on rents, although higher numbers of units will provide more choice for tenants for this dwelling type.

Demand from international buyers, particularly from China, can be expected to increase through 2016 driven by perceptions of a capital safe haven, solid property markets and continuing close economic and cultural ties to the local market.
Interest rate outcomes through 2016 are likely to be largely benign overall following the dramatic changes through 2015.

Q3. What is your prediction for the market in 2016?
The Sydney housing market has recorded three consecutive years of prices growth of 15 percent per year which has resulted in a remarkable median house price above $1 million.

Prices growth through 2016 however, will be considerably less than recent boom time results with the Sydney median likely to increase by around 4 percent over 2016.

Decreased activity from investors plus affordability barriers through recent record prices growth will see outer suburban regions to the west of the city as underperformers through the year.  Prices growth however in these areas will still be expected of between 2 and 3 percent over the year.

House prices in inner and middle suburban regions to the west, north and east of the city can be expected to record the highest prices growth generally next year of between 4 and 5 percent.  Sydney’s prestige property market, having revived through 2015, can be expected to continue its recovery with solid prices growth emerging, particularly if the stock market lifts on the back of a lower Australian dollar.

Following the extreme peaks of recent housing market cycles, the Sydney can now be expected to record more moderate outcomes from cycle to cycle.  This reflects the general low growth, low yield, low income and low interest rate environment of the national economy.

Moderation in the nature of house price growth cycles however will provide more certainty to buyers and sellers, with stable sentiment reflecting individual buying and selling decisions rather than concerns over the state of the market.  This can only be a positive for the sustainability of the local real estate industry.


Angus Raine
Executive Chairman at Raine & Horne

Q1. What is the biggest challenge the market faced in 2015?
For the majority of 2015, listings in metropolitan and regional NSW markets were as scarce as hen’s teeth. As a consequence, we had very strong selling conditions for the first eight months of the year.

In the last few months however there’s been a swing in market conditions, which is attributable to a wider perception among property owners that the market as peaked. 
The upshot is that more listings have hit the market and vendors need to be more realistic about their price expectations as buyers, buoyed by continuing lower interest rates, now believe the market pendulum is moving in their favour.

At the same time, one of the biggest structural challenges is the large number of baby boomers who continue to sit on large empty nests. In my opinion, once a larger family home becomes surplus to requirements it’s our civic duty to move on and give younger buyers the opportunity to enjoy its family-friendly features. Governments need to make it easier for older Australians to downsize by removing some of the costs, such as stamp duty.

Q2. What is going to influence or impact the way you do business in 2016?

I’m confident that it won’t be doom and gloom in 2016, despite many media commentators and the investment banks talking down bricks and mortar. There is still a lack of stock, because there will be homeowners who believe they’ve missed the peak of the market. I can’t see prices softening, as many homeowners will make a decision to sit tight until the right buyer comes along. A low interest rate environment makes this possible.

I also believe that overseas investors will prove to be a driving force in the coming year. However, with the Chinese economy stumbling a little, it’s fair to expect that Indian investors will become more prominent at open homes in 2016 thanks to opportunities afforded by the Significant Investment Visa. Indian investors are seeing opportunities to buy affordable businesses and properties in regional centres that are cash flow positive, with a view to then moving their focus to our capital cities.

Q3. What is your prediction for the market in 2016?
The doom and gloom has been overcooked. Larger regional markets such a s Bathurst, Orange, Tweed Heads and Armidale will enjoy plenty of attention in 2016 as investors seeks cash flow positive investments.

There will still be plenty of competition in the Inner Sydney apartment market from homeowners who want to stay close to work, entertainment and the other excellent amenities offered by a global city such a Sydney. I’m tipping average price growth for Sydney of 8-10% in 2016.


Cameron Kusher
Senior Research Analyst at CoreLogic

Q1. What is the biggest challenge the market faced in 2015?
The NSW housing market generally saw fairly favourable conditions during 2015. The biggest challenge has been the changes to the lending environment and the impact this appears to be now having on housing demand. Investor demand in particular has slowed and recently it looks as if demand for homes in Sydney in particular, is starting to wane. This has been highlighted by the declining clearance rates since April and stock levels reaching their highest levels in more than three years.
Q2. What is going to influence or impact the way you do business in 2016?

Our business is national, but NSW is obviously a big part being the most populous state. What happens with housing transactions will obviously impact on the demand for our products and services over the next year. A lower level of market activity also provides opportunities as customers have more time to engage with new solutions that may help them to growth their businesses in changed market conditions.

Q3. What is your prediction for the market in 2016?
This is really quite tough, home values have fallen in Sydney over recent months but I still think it is too early to say values are falling and will continue to do so. Nevertheless, it is clear that the market is not as strong as it was earlier this year, there are fewer buyers and in particular fewer domestic investors. This will result in a reduction in sales, slowing of the rate of growth and overall more moderate housing market conditions across the state in 2016.


Charles Tarbey
Chairman and Owner at Century 21 Australasia

Q1. What is the biggest challenge the market faced in 2015?
One of the biggest challenges in 2015 was the presence of vastly different marketplaces across the country. Some areas rushed ahead in growth and others were much slower. This created a difficult environment in which to provide a training platform that catered for the different marketplaces.
Q2. What is going to influence or impact the way you do business in 2016?
We believe there is a need for more technology to be integrated into the everyday activities of real estate practitioners. This means that our business will become more of a hybrid, with traditional operations being complemented by more innovation and technology. I don’t think that technology will ever replace agents, but agents will have to become better at using it in order to provide the experience that consumers are looking for.

Q3. What is your prediction for the market in 2016?
I believe there will be a strong change in the number of people in the industry. Anyone who has joined the industry in the last three years has not experienced a true real estate market – many properties have almost sold themselves. In my opinion, real estate agents will start to earn their keep now and undertake their role of negotiating between a buyer and seller. This could lead to attrition in the industry.


Damien Cooley
Director at Cooley Auctions

Q1. What is the biggest challenge the market faced in 2015?
The market boomed in 2015, peaking in April and May. Since then, the conversation around selling has changed. The unreasonably strong winter produced good sales results, but put more pressure on agents to get property sold in spring.

The challenge for real estate agents has been the transition from a boom market to a more normal market, with auction clearance rates around 60 per cent. Agents have had to have tough conversations with sellers around their price expectations.
Q2. What is going to influence or impact the way you do business in 2016?
The new underquoting laws will influence the way we do business in 2016, as agents and auctioneers adapt to price guides on auction listings now that terms such as “offers over”, “offers above” and “bidding from” have been abolished. No longer will an agent be able to give a loose price indication to a seller. It’s time to get it right.

Q3. What is your prediction for the market in 2016?
I see a good year ahead for agents and auctioneers. Auction is the most transparent way of selling real estate in any market. While interest rates remain at all time lows and the ever-growing popularity of Sydney prevails, our local market will continue to see transactions and a more normal growth outlook for the next 12 months.

Douglas Driscoll
CEO at Starr Partners

Q1. What is the biggest challenge the market faced in 2015?
The biggest challenge was that the balance of the market was out of kilter. We saw a hugely disproportionate level of investors purchasing property, leaving scores of owner-occupiers on the sidelines. Although this was good for the short-term, if this trend had continued it would have had inevitable ramifications going forward. The investment boom was also artificially inflating prices, adding fuel to talk of a ‘bubble’.
Q2. What is going to influence or impact the way you do business in 2016?
The changes in the market are really going to influence how we do business in 2016. As the market has started to cool, properties will inevitably be slightly harder to sell. So I think for agents the key, as it has always been, is to ensure that they get back to basics. This will mean providing clients with honest and robust advice to help align their expectations with current market conditions. It is the perfect opportunity for agents to exhibit exemplary service, demonstrate their skills and show value. Agents will also have to work their databases harder and become less reliant on the web portals.

Q3. What is your prediction for the market in 2016?
Despite some market commentators being pessimistic, I think there are some very encouraging signs for the year ahead. It is highly likely that interest rates will remain stable and there is nothing to suggest that property prices will fall over the next 12 months. The recently introduced macro-prudential measures will also inevitably lead to fewer investors. But conversely, that might see the re-emergence of first home buyers and other owner-occupiers.

As the market grew more robust over the past year, more people opted for sale by auction. But as it softens and clearance rates fall, I anticipate that some people will start walking away from the process.


Ewan Morton
Managing Director at Morton

Q1. What is the biggest challenge the market faced in 2015?
The great strength of the market in 2015 created even greater vendor expectation, which can be dangerous. Fuelled by the ongoing media fixation on the property ‘bubble’, the challenge was to manage vendor expectations that it is possible to break property price records every day, week or month. It was essential to ensure vendors didn’t lose focus on a great offer because they believed they could get an extraordinary offer. Even as the market changed, the expectations didn’t.
Q2. What is going to influence or impact the way you do business in 2016?
In this industry our strength is our people. But better technology and improved systems and processes have the potential to add real value, because they will allow more time for personal interactions. At Morton we are looking at how, by embracing the efficiencies, we can give our people more time and more ability to offer a better level of personal service to our clients.  One example of this would be offshore support.

Q3. What is your prediction for the market in 2016?
There is no longer an understanding or awareness of ‘normal’ or ‘average’, and that will continue to create a difficult environment to negotiate. Is an auction clearance rate of 65 per cent a buyers’ or a sellers’ market? If both believe they are in the position of strength, the key will be to manage realistic expectations. That also reflects the reality that increased access to information will challenge the value proposition of agents. The consumer is coming to the agent more informed than ever before, so our industry has no other option but to work hard to promote the skills, integrity and value we contribute to the sales and management process.

Grant Harrod
Chief Executive Officer at LJ Hooker

Q1. What is the biggest challenge the market faced in 2015?
In NSW throughout 2015 it was a tale of two markets. It started with a distinct lack of listings, strong price growth and record high auction clearance rates. The second half saw the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority begin to rein in the strength of investor demand and the banks increased interest rates out of cycle which in turn saw some heat come out of the market. 

The biggest challenge was adapting to the changing market conditions. As a group we performed above market in both circumstances because in a fast moving and changing market vendors are always attracted to reputable, quality agents.

Q2. What is going to influence or impact the way you do business in 2016?
LJ Hooker will continue to put the customer at the centre of everything we do. Our network is focused on giving customers the best experience possible as we continue to strive to be recognised as the industry’s number one customer service brand.

Q3. What is your prediction for the market in 2016?

  1. Lending restrictions and higher interest rates for investors will see demand from this buyer segment soften.
  2. First home buyers will be the biggest beneficiary from lower investor demand so this should see first home buyer become more active in 2016.
  3. Despite banks recently increasing their mortgage rates, interest rates remain at record low levels; this will underpin demand during 2016.
  4. Listings have now begun to rise, helping to relieve some of the pent-up demand and providing more choice for buyers. This will in-turn generate more listings, as many vendors have been waiting to purchase another property before they sell.

The combination of lower levels of demand and higher listings is going to see price growth begin to slowdown. Some areas may in fact see prices contract, however the strength of the NSW economy is going to ensure that buyer demand remains in place and overall price growth remains positive.


Leanne Pilkington
Managing Director at Laing+Simmons

Q1. What is the biggest challenge the market faced in 2015?
It was a sellers’ market in 2015 with record clearance rates, low stock levels and rapidly increasing prices characterising the first half of the year in particular. As a result of these vendor-favourable conditions, an agent’s ability to sell a property became less highly valued, which placed significant downward pressure on commission rates.
Towards the end of 2015 there was a noticeable shift in market conditions and buyer sentiment, which sets the scene for 2016 as the most experienced and capable agents will have the opportunity to demonstrate the true value they can add to property transactions.

Q2. What is going to influence or impact the way you do business in 2016?
Our focus is always on providing the optimum level of service to our clients and to demonstrate the value we bring to the table. The rise of social media, online reviews and other emerging technologies make it increasingly important for every member of the team to provide a great customer experience across all transactions, without exception.

A more even power balance between buyers and sellers heralds greater competition for listings and puts the emphasis on being able to demonstrate – and implement – proven strategies backed by distinct local market knowledge and experience.

Q3. What is your prediction for the market in 2016?
Predicting the future of the market is always difficult, but generally speaking we expect that if interest rates stay stable then market conditions will also remain relatively stable. If there is a drop in interest rates it could serve to encourage more buyers back into the market, generating a resurgence in the demand that had previously tapered off.

Nevertheless, it is highly unlikely the double digit growth of 2015 will be repeated. While there is still significant underlying demand in Sydney, with increased stock levels across all types of property, buyers will be less panicked.

Mark Morrison
Chief Executive Officer of Harcourts NSW

Q1. What is the biggest challenge the market faced in 2015?
There were two major challenges in 2015. At the start of the year we saw auction clearance rates in the high 80 per cent range and subsequently the selling prices achieved were much higher than expected. This was followed in the latter part of the year by declining clearance rates due to buyer reluctance.
Both scenarios proved challenging for agents, as they needed to adjust their approaches when talking to buyers in a rising market earlier in the year and sellers in a cooling market towards the latter part of the year.

Q2. What is going to influence or impact the way you do business in 2016?
I think 2016 will be business as usual, and perhaps easier to deal with as we look to have a steady market. Technology will continue to be a key focus for the industry and certainly has been for Harcourts. Our suite of agent apps was recently recognised by Apple and I think this gives us a huge edge with systems and technology, so we’ll continue to evolve in this space. Growth will also continue to be a big focus, particularly in new areas, with our first office in the ACT due to open shortly.

Q3. What is your prediction for the market in 2016?
Sydney is such a diverse market with a lot of projects still taking place in the inner city and new homes being built in the outer suburbs. Sales will remain steady, but prices will probably begin to plateau at the current level.

Peter Hanscomb
Chief Executive Officer at Belle Property

Q1. What is the biggest challenge the market faced in 2015?
The housing market across all capital cities gained major traction this year, seeing consistently high auction clearance rates in NSW and Victoria respectively. In most marketplaces, up until the end of November, clearance rates reflected a fairly consistent market, but the media’s recent coverage certainly made it more challenging when talking with buyers. Across the country, I believe there is a general stock shortage in most areas, especially in high demand areas close to CBDs. Overall there have been plenty of buyers despite a hold up of stock due to vendors waiting for that ‘golden moment’ to sell. 
Q2. What is going to influence or impact the way you do business in 2016?
In a market that may potentially tighten in 2016, it’s extremely important that our network focuses on becoming trusted experts. We must deliver an exceptional service and customer experience, especially via our digital platforms. We will be focusing heavily on community and ensuring that Belle Property is at the forefront of relationship-enhancing technology; digital platforms that allow the customer to communicate and interact with the company and more importantly platforms that open a dialogue between the company and consumer.

Being successful in real estate is all about trust, communication and credibility. For real estate agents to really succeed and attain longevity and a long pipeline of clients in their careers, they must practice a higher level of care, ensuring they value the client relationship over and above the actual sale. It’s important everyone within our business is keeping abreast of new ideas, technologies and new developments to stay relevant and in the know. 

Q3. What is your prediction for the market in 2016?
Overall, I believe the property market may see a stabilisation across the board. This doesn’t mean I predict a decline in the market or that the market will enter a free fall like many are predicting. I think we will see less ‘out of line’ sales and more consistent results, where quality, well-priced property will still sell and sell well. I believe the international market will still remain strong as foreign investors see the Australian market a safe investment.

Rich Harvey
Managing Director at propertybuyer
Q1. What is the biggest challenge the market faced in 2015?
The highly competitive nature of buyers in suburbs where supply was constrained was a big challenge in 2015. The market at the start of 2015 was vastly different to how the market finished in December. While auction clearance rates peaked at almost 90 per cent during May, the clearance rate declined rapidly in October and November to just under 60 per cent, which meant sellers had to realign their over-zealous expectations to secure a sale.
The other key challenge we faced in a hot market was dealing with the expectations of buyers that had been out of the market for several years and helping them cope with the fear of missing out. Determining ‘current’ market value for buyers in a fast-changing market was also a challenge.

Q2. What is going to influence or impact the way you do business in 2016?
The way we perform our service will not fundamentally change in 2016. We will continue to provide independent advice to buyers, helping them search and negotiate for the ideal home or investment property. While a cooling market will have an impact on overall buyer demand, we anticipate that selling agents will be more proactive in contacting us with off-market opportunities.

We will continue to use technology, blogs, events and a wide range of marketing techniques to attract new clients. Ramping up our research analysis will also be a key priority to help investors pinpoint the best suburbs for long-term growth and yield. Investors can’t just rely on overall market sentiment to be successful.

Q3. What is your prediction for the market in 2016?
I expect to see slow to moderate growth in the range of 5-7 per cent in the Sydney market, and greater vendor discounting leading to a more balanced market in 2016.

The heat and intensity amongst buyers will be gone, due to a number of moderating factors: economic uncertainty, the slow-down in commodities trade, crimped investor lending, stricter capital controls in China, job insecurity and slow wages growth. Low interest rates will continue, but talk of rate rises or actual rises independent rises independent of the RBA will spook buyers.

Overall I see there will be better opportunities for home buyers and investors that have been sitting on the sidelines waiting for something to change. But prices are likely to gradually flatline, rather than go backwards.

Richard Horne
Managing Director NSW of Knight Frank

Q1. What is the biggest challenge the market faced in 2015?
2015 has seen a huge move forward in cap rates in the investment market in Australia.  A growing pool of international capital is chasing assets, and interest rates and bank lending rates have been at all-time lows. These have been excellent conditions for core property, however the biggest challenge is around the leasing market and especially secondary assets where incentives, capital expenditure and leasing up periods play havoc with cash flows and IRRs.
Global uncertainty faced by potential geopolitical issues has at times tempered the sentiment in the market. The weak general Australian economic conditions has also at times softened sentiment. 
As a business, still a major challenge is finding people with the right level of passion, experience, training and attitude to help drive the business forward, in what is an extremely competitive agency arena.

Q2. What is going to influence or impact the way you do business in 2016?
At Knight Frank we’ve seen some big culture shifts in the last few years, growing exponentially and employing large numbers of new people.

We are seeking to be more professional and coordinated in the way we service our clients. The ever-changing requirements and needs of our clients influences the way we do business. They are seeking a high level of proactivity in the leasing market, continued demonstration of global networks in capital markets and a much greater emphasis on partnerships. The requirements of our own staff also will influence how we do business – we need to offer increased engagement, flexibility and continue to build a great culture.

Q3. What is your prediction for the market in 2016?
I expect there to be continued heat in the capital markets especially for well leased, good quality assets as interest rates are likely to remain at all-time lows. The leasing market appears to have turned, so we are predicting rental growth in certain key areas, such as the B-grade Sydney CBD office market and the city fringe market.

Uncertainty around the global economy and the wider Australian economy may mean that secondary stock is adversely affected by weaker pricing and lower levels of buyer demand. Although we remain optimistic there could well be some challenges in the residential apartment markets, which may impact on residential land values.

We continue to be bullish on China, and the opportunities to do business with their ever increasing in-bound capital. Global uncertainty could well present issues for our listed competitors, which places Knight Frank, as the last privately owned major agency in a unique space and the masters of our own destiny.

Stewart Bunn
National Communications Manager at First National Real Estate

Q1. What is the biggest challenge the market faced in 2015?
One of the biggest challenges for First National Real Estate’s members was sourcing housing stock that was suitable and affordable for owner-occupiers and first home buyers, such was the demand from investors for property on the eastern seaboard. However, it was the exact opposite for agents in Western Australia. Adjustments in mortgage lending criteria by banks also affected loan to value ratios in some areas of Australia, adding to the challenges buyers faced.
Q2. What is going to influence or impact the way you do business in 2016?
Our industry is always confronted with new challenges and opportunities, but 2016’s anticipated digital disruption will simply highlight what the best in the profession bring to the process of selling or managing real estate. Competition keeps the profession healthy and innovation will continue to be the hallmark of the leaders.

Q3. What is your prediction for the market in 2016?
As long as economic conditions remain consistent, agents on the eastern seaboard can anticipate similar market conditions and ongoing prices growth, albeit at slower rates. South Australia will continue to offer investment opportunities and affordability advantages. Tasmania is likely to see tentative improvements and a continued revival of mainland buyer interest. West Australia’s market will continue to moderate as the economy transitions from the mining and resources boom and opportunities will abound.

Tony Brasier
Chairman and Managing Director at PRDnationwide
Q1. What is the biggest challenge the market faced in 2015?
The 2015 property markets have run at multiple paces. The major markets in Sydney and Melbourne have been exceptionally strong, whereas many of the regional markets haven’t reached anywhere near the same levels. In the major markets, the biggest challenge agents have faced has been securing listings, which have sold in record time and at record prices.
Q2. What is going to influence or impact the way you do business in 2016?
It is going to be a less heated market in 2016. Agents will need to adjust their strategies in relation to sales methodology and achievable prices levels. The efficient utilisation of technology and the availability of good market intelligence will be essential in 2016 to give their clients the best possible advice.

Q3. What is your prediction for the market in 2016?
With interest rates being maintained at around their current levels, we will see a more traditional, stable market. Property prices will return to good single digit growth with buyer demand steady rather than spectacular.