John Hellaby: Another massive quarter

Now in its sixth year of operation, online offer management platform Market Buy continues to go from strength to strength. Here, CEO John Hellaby shares his thoughts on the company’s performance over the past few months.

If the record-breaking highs of 2021 taught us anything, it’s how we can better help agents operate more effectively and efficiently. 

For Market Buy, January and February were all about implementing these solutions during the traditionally quiet months, with the expectation that come March the market would remain strong for high-quality agents.

We expected agents around the country would take some time off to reset after the manic finish to 2021, and we wanted to ensure they came back to a raft of new features, to help them operate even more efficiently in any market.

As a result, it was a really strong quarter and innovation once again led the charge.

Strong growth

We’re expecting another massive quarter of the back of significant growth in transactions and agent uptake to start the year.

The ‘quality of life’ innovations released last quarter are also fuelling greater uptake and usability for agents – especially onsite messaging.

With onsite messaging, agents can now communicate with all participants in a sale, from within the Market Buy system, keeping all their communication, including messages, in one location.

To get a more accurate idea of what agents loved about Market Buy, we asked them why they chose to use Market Buy during February/March ’22 and the feedback was unanimous.

The reason is simple. Market Buy just makes dealing with buyers so much easier, freeing up the agent to engage in more dollar productive activities.

“It makes dealing with buyers so much easier and hassle free,” Gold Coast agent, Edward Smythe said.

Right now, there is still a supply and demand issue in our market, meaning there are more buyers than properties for sale, and this creates a high stress environment for people buying properties.

Bringing transparency to that process brings trust and helps alleviate much of that stress.

Even with interest rates going up and an election (all traditionally market handbrakes), the core issue for the drive behind the market’s property growth hasn’t been addressed.

During the two years of Covid, the demand issue grew ever more pressing, with some reports stating that as many as 500,000 ex-pat Aussies had returned home.

With the ABS reporting an average of 2.6 people per household in 2016, that meant Covid-induced homeward migration resulted in demand for an additional 200,000-odd properties. That’s somewhere in the vicinity of a 30 per cent increase in demand on an already demand-heavy market.

It’s going to take some time for that demand to abate, whether through immigration out of Australia or the increase of interest rates making it harder to access funding for property purchases – the latter of which will only shift the demand from the buying market to the rental market (which is also heavily undersupplied).

Looking ahead

I think we’ll see a slowing of growth in most markets, with the exception of Queensland, which will likely continue to grow for a further six to 12 months.

Everywhere else in the country will remain in a healthy and strong market despite demand lessening a little off the back of interest rate rises.

The declarations of 20 per cent or 30 per cent price drops seem excessive and designed to chase headlines – a correction will come at some point, but any that occur in the next six to 12 months will purely be a correction of seller expectations, rather than a market correction.

After 2021, agent feedback suggests sellers are expecting that record level of growth to continue, and are setting prices in excess of what the market will bear.

But properties priced at the point the market is willing to consider, are still seeing an average of 7.6 buyers registering per property and an average of three active buyers competing to purchase each property on a nationwide basis.

So all the hallmarks of a demand versus supply fuelled competition still exist and can only stand to benefit the correctly informed seller.

That said, this view doesn’t consider the incessant lobbying of the buying public by the general media – promoting the idea that house prices will in fact fall drastically and doom and gloom will prevail.

In the meantime, Market Buy continues to grow, ensuring agents, vendors and buyers are provided with a transparent, easy, and effective method of buying and selling.

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John Hellaby

John Hellaby is the Chief Executive Officer at Market Buy.