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REIWA CEO celebrates 40 years in the job and reflects on evolution of Perth property market

The Real Estate Institute of Western Australia (REIWA) longest running employee and CEO, Neville Pozzi, is amazed at how the Perth real estate market had transformed since he started working for the association 40 years ago.

“When I began at REIWA in 1977 as an accountant, Perth’s median house price was just $33,800. A far cry from the prices we see in Perth today,” Pozzi said.

He said Perth’s rental market was also a much smaller aspect of the real estate industry and that it no longer followed the East Coast markets.

“Back then, principals took little interest in the rental side of the business. While there was still demand for rental properties in Perth, within the industry it was considered something of a ‘poor cousin’ to residential sales. It wasn’t until the mid-2000s that real estate businesses started to focus their attention more towards the rental market, and now this sector of the industry is arguably bigger than sales,” Pozzi said.

“It used to be that Perth would always follow behind Sydney. We could see where the Sydney market was at and know in a year or two we would be experiencing those same conditions. This is no longer the case. Sydney operates as its own market now, and has little to no bearing on our local market.

Over the years, Pozzi said he had witnessed many highs and lows in the Perth real estate market.

“I’ve seen a number of real estate cycles come and go in my time. In the early 90s, the market saw a fairly significant slowdown, and then a little over a decade later we saw the biggest boom in house prices we’d experienced in WA, before turning down again over the last couple of years.

“One thing I can say with confidence is that no cycle lasts forever.

“We are in a unique position now, though, as this is the first time both the sales and rental markets are facing challenges simultaneously, with listings for both being very high. Historically, it’s usually one or the other, so this is unprecedented territory which has made it more difficult to adapt to,” he said.

Pozzi also cites the digital age with bringing about the biggest revolution to the real estate industry in his time.

“The rise of real estate portals in the last 20 years totally transformed how we buy and sell property. The public have far more power in the transaction now, with so much information accessible to them online on portals like, which launched in 1995.

“Where property sellers and seekers used to rely more heavily on the real estate agent for market information, they now go online. It’s changed how agents do business too. They are much more than tour guides. They know the market inside and out and have an intricate understanding of trends and prices in their local area to better help their clients,” Pozzi added.


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June Ramli

June Ramli was a in-house journalist for Elite Agent Magazine.