Celebrating 50 years in real estate this year, Mr Plant has seen a lot of property cycles but fears that this current property correction is being driven deeper by a media whose revenue is driven by clicks and views.
“The person on the street could be forgiven for thinking the current property market in Victoria is headed for Armageddon – if they base their knowledge on the sound bites and headlines that some of our media outlets are unfortunately using,” says Mr Plant.
“Headlines such as ‘Property market falls off a cliff’ are just irresponsible. Yes, if you do read the whole article there may be some qualifying data buried in it, but the danger is that people are not delving deeper for their information.”
Mr Plant believes that some media outlets need to exercise some social responsibility and understand that their actions affect all-important consumer confidence.
“This headline driven reporting makes buyers nervous and unwilling to buy. The lack of properties selling means that not only the real estate industry is depressed but there is effect to conveyancers, lawyers, landscapers, hardware stores, furniture stores and, of course, State Government revenues.”
“There’s definitely a market correction going on after a seriously long run of increasing house prices,” Mr Plant acknowledges.
“This downturn is driven to a large extent by a credit squeeze as a result of banks keeping their heads down after the Royal Commission. But banks need to lend money to make money so I am confident that now that the Royal Commission findings have been handed down, there will be more availability of finance.”
“If we can get rid of the media hyperbole, I think Victorians are really well placed to weather this correction,” the industry leader said.
When asked what he believed could be done about inaccurate reports, Mr Plant didn’t believe that anything could be done; that media outlets needed to self-govern.
However, he urged anyone interested in buying or selling their home to do their research into exactly what has happened to prices in their area. “Because it varies from suburb to suburb – our auction clearance rates so far this year have ranged between 65% and 74% so it’s not all doom and gloom.”
Mr Plant had a final piece of advice for those people worried about the market. “Property ownership is usually a long-term investment into security and lifestyle and shouldn’t be judged by short term hiccups bought about by economic conditions or politics. View property as a long journey towards financial security.”