Stacey Lewis will be speaking at Prop20 in March and April. To register for this event visit proprea.com.au.
What’s your background?
I’ve been with REA for about two years. Previously, I worked in research for 10 to 12 years across a really broad range of areas. Anything from policy research through to advertising effectiveness, but really focusing on consumer research where you explore what motivates people to do the things that they do and how other kinds of external factors, mindsets and values play a role in that.
That’s what I’ve focused on at REA. I’m heading up a research project about new home buyers, focusing on new apartment buyers and house and land buyers and what they want and what motivates them.
What will you be talking about at Prop20?
What I want to focus on for Prop20 is some of those topical things that we’ve seen come up. We’ve had a lot of talk, particularly in the apartment market, about quality. So that’s something that I want to deep dive into a little bit more to understand more about what that means to people and what they think about it. Is that having an impact on their decision making?
Also, what has been the impact of market conditions, particularly in the new home buyers space? Is that something they’re concerned about, and how has that impacted how they go through the journey to purchase a home? Does it mean that they’re dipping their toe in the established market or not? Has it lengthened the amount of time they’re taking to purchase a home?
You mentioned quality as a hot topic, has the cladding issue affected the way buyers are thinking about apartments?
For this research program we did a quantitative survey, but we also went out and had some conversations with buyers to try and understand what that means. Obviously there is a huge awareness about that, and people are being careful about how they make decisions. But one of the things that we heard a lot from buyers is that it’s relative to the established market.
When people are looking to buy an established property, they actually don’t know what they are getting. There was mention of asbestos, and wiring problems and that kind of thing.
I think the key thing that I would encourage all of our customers to think about is how we communicate to them and be transparent about quality and help them understand and bring them on that journey through how the property is built. How do you go through that process so they are assured and have a good understanding of what they are getting.
What trends are you noticing in terms of what buyers want?
We have looked a little bit at sustainability and wellness. Sustainability is not anything new, but when I looked at that over time, I felt like there’s a little bit more to it than just having solar panels. Sustainability can mean a multitude of different things to different people.
Similarly, wellness has been the new buzzword for the past couple of years. So I tried to dig underneath that and understand what wellness means to people as well. Fundamentally I think what it comes down to is having that really nice space. A place that feels good.
If you think about the yoga studio, that’s what that is. It’s delivered in a different way, but 100 per cent the home can provide that based on really good design, good shared spaces and having gardens and things like that close by.