REIA President Hayden Groves to hand over the reins

Real Estate Institute of Australia (REIA) President Hayden Groves is set to finish his term as head of the industry body after two years in the role.

Mr Groves, who has been on the REIA board for nine years, will also step down as a director after successfully leading the industry through the tumultuous COVID-19 period and ongoing housing crisis.

The next president is expected to be announced in early December at the annual general meeting.

“I’ve been lucky enough to have a lengthy term of service and typically presidents only serve two-year terms,” Mr Groves said.

“We’ve had a very eventful housing market over the last couple of years coming out of the peak Covid period, plus the housing crisis and the significant supply problem,” he said.

“But REIA is in very good hands with a very solid board of directors as well as an exceptional CEO in Anna Neelagama.”

Mr Groves said that during his time in charge, he was most proud of the escalation and elevation of the REIA as an advocacy body. 

“We really do now have the ear of government,” he said.

“Our policies, positions, and research papers are taken seriously by government and we’re across all sectors.”

He said the REIA had also been able to expand its reach with other housing industry bodies.

“We’ve never in the past really been that well engaged with the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute (AHURI), whereas this year, I was invited to speak as part of a panel discussion as part of that group, we have very good relationships with the Federal Housing Minister,” he said.

“The fact that we do have a Federal Housing Minister in the Cabinet now, which is the first time ever that’s happened and we advocated for that and achieved that. 

“Then when the Prime Minister thanked me personally for the work the REIA had done around the rent caps and rent freeze calls from the Australian Greens.

“You know that you are an effective advocacy group when the PM knows who you are and what you do.”

Mr Groves said he was also pleased that the REIA had been able to expand its focus.

“We’ve really expanded our reach into other sectors that perhaps we hadn’t done so much of in the past, including sustainability and commercial real estate and we’ve done some signature reports around short-stay holiday accommodation in Australia,” he said.

“I’m really proud of the work that the REIA has been able to achieve and I’m very happy to step aside and let others take up the challenge.

“We’re really making sure that all Australians have a voice in the housing spectrum and we want to see houses for all Australians.”

Mr Groves said he hoped his successor would be able to take over the work the REIA had been putting in place on the environment.

As well as continuing to help develop the reputation of the industry as a whole.

Mr Groves said he was looking forward to putting more attention back into his real estate business, DGRE.

“The rigours of the role as REIA president are pretty significant and it does take you away from the business and doing the work from Western Australia is also an extra challenge,” he said.

“I’ve loved the relationships that I’ve been able to build with the people in the industry, as well as people in government and the media.

“I’ve really met some terrific people and have loved my exchanges with everybody.

“I will certainly miss it.” 

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Rowan Crosby

Rowan Crosby is a freelance journalist specialising in finance and real estate.