Residential reform

It is a debate that’s as inevitable as the changes in market dynamics which seem to always prompt the discussion. Any conversation on public policy around residential property is as technical as it is emotional and for those of us who work in the industry, it obviously has wider implications. Here are my thoughts.

Look. It’s tough. Home ownership has been an aspirational goal for generations of Australians. It is therefore very relevant to acknowledge the current market makes that goal potentially out of reach for generations of Australians.

How to respond is tricky. But it is definitely a debate worth having.

The market is driven by the fundamental economic principle of supply and demand, but that economic principle is in itself influenced by factors such as interest rates and employment levels. Those elements ebb and flow over the short and long term and with them demand will inevitably rise and fall.

In contrast, policy and legislative changes will have a sustained influence on supply and demand for decades to come. And so, if current policies are presenting market conditions are unduly distorting access, then it is important to investigate options to minimise that impact.

The trick is how to minimise the impact for one segment of the market whilst not potentially creating another imbalance. And how to achieve that is the (multi) million-dollar question.

So, I’ll watch the debate with keen interest. I’ll engage with our team and our clients to hear opinions and ideas. I’ll probably have a view on the potential impact of some of the concepts outlined. Do I see a solution? Not yet, but again I welcome the opportunity to see different options being put forward with what appears to be a common goal to try to level the property playing field.

At this point, I will offer some words of advice. I have over thirty years’ experience in residential real estate, and I’ve learnt that in order to achieve a successful result you need two things. You need to be prepared to listen and you need to be prepared to compromise. As we embark on the next round of discussion about policy reform, I urge everyone involved to keep that in mind.