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Unlocking confidence in Australia’s property market: agents hold the key to easing frustration and uncertainty

Australians are feeling frustrated, unbalanced and uncertain about the current property market, providing agents an opportunity to solve the confidence equation and get ahead of the competition as a trusted industry advisor.

According to new research from The Growth D_Stillery, in conjunction with research firms Nature and The Lab, one in two buyers and sellers are frustrated with the property market.

The Property D_Stilled Report, which surveyed more than 2000 Aussies, found buyers and sellers are feeling “pressure” from rising interest rates, low stock levels, soaring rents and record low vacancy rates.

Head of Growth Intelligence, Client & Commercial and report lead, Leigh Lavery, said buyers and sellers felt as though they had a “lack of control” when it came to the property market.

“At the heart of what we’ve learnt is that there’s a real desire and hunger for confidence,” he said.

“Two-thirds of people state that their most coveted ambition is confidence, however only one-third currently feel confident with the current state of play.”

But Mr Lavery said there were two sides to the property coin, with older buyers and sellers, who have been active in the property market before, feeling more content and satisfied with the market.

“With people new to the market, there’s this really uneasy sense of anxiety around where things currently sit,” he noted.

“They feel very stretched… and there’s almost this element of people, particularly first home buyers, feeling forced to enter the market, due to the rental crisis.”

The Property D_Stilled Report, found buyers and sellers are feeling “pressure” from rising interest rates, low stock levels, soaring rents and record low vacancy rates.

The research, which comes from News Corp Australia’s Growth Intelligence Centre, shows that Gen X and Baby Boomers have concerns about the property market too, with 60 per cent worrying about their children or grandchildren being able to enter the market.

Yet, Mr Lavery said 56 per cent of people are still “obsessed” with home ownership.

“Ultimately, 69 per cent of people believe there are opportunities and ways to be successful with property, if you adjust your expectations,” he said.

“I think a good example of that would be buying in a booming regional centre… rather than a walkup start to living in a dream suburb by the beach in the bigger markets.

“But the Great Australian Dream is still alive, it’s just evolving.”

First time buyers

The research showed first time buyers were feeling more under pressure and frustrated than experienced buyers and were less optimistic about achieving their property goals.

Mr Lavery said 61 per cent felt frustrated by the current situation, compared to 49 per cent of experienced buyers, while 61 per cent also felt pressured to buy given the rental crisis.

In particular, 62 per cent of Millennial first time buyers have decided they’re not quitting their property goals but are considering their options and pivoting to a new plan to enter the market.

That’s compared to 57 per cent of all first home buyers surveyed.

But Mr Lavery said despite the pressure all segments of the market was feeling, it also provided real estate agents opportunities to secure listings, build their brand and their business by instilling confidence in the different market segments.

“As a general rule, transparency is a key theme for all audiences,” he said.

“Helping people as best you can with the most accurate and transparent information is a really strong start.”

Mr Lavery said first time buyers wanted to see social proof and success stories of people who had navigated their property journey successfully.

“Hearing about past generations, their parents or their relatives that bought 10 years ago, probably won’t do,” he said.

“They want something more recent, that makes sense to them, in their situation, now.”

Agents can also help them become more confident in their transaction decisions by reframing market access and providing guidance on accessing subsidies and incentives.

Head of Growth Intelligence, Client & Commercial and report lead Leigh Lavery.

First time sellers 

The report showed 45 per cent of first time sellers were frustrated by the market, compared to 38 per cent of experienced sellers.

The majority (58 per cent) know they need to be more pragmatic because they won’t achieve their property goals in the short-term, while 57 per cent said they wished they had been more adventurous when they bought their first property.

But the research also showed 66 per cent realised there are numerous ways to invest in property and they are interested in new pathways to help them become successful.

To build the confidence of this cohort to transact, the research suggests agents use easy-to-understand graphs or other interactive tools to show first time sellers the financial impact of their decisions.

Mr Lavery said agents could also create confidence that now was a good time to sell through sharing success stories of recent sales of properties just like theirs.

“You need to give people confidence that the time is now to sell and buy, and to not sit on their hands,” he said.

“Relevance is something that’s very important.

“Consumers are increasingly aware of things that don’t feel authentic so having communication, information and data that feels authentic can make a big difference, particularly when it’s relevant to their market, their suburb or even their postcode.

“People want to hear the objective truth as it relates to their community, both the good and the bad.”

Experienced buyers 

Experienced buyers are more engaged and confident in the property market, with 79 per cent keeping a regular eye on what’s happening, while 71 per cent feel confident about their home ownership and investment plans.

Mr Lavery said the research also found 78 per cent of experienced buyers felt confident the effort they put in towards achieving their property goals would take them closer to achieving them. 

To help experienced buyers build even more confidence in the market, and that the right time to transact is now, agents need to become a trusted advisor.

“Experienced buyers have had time in the game and, to a degree, have runs on the board already,” Mr Lavery said.

“They have lived through their own highs and lows and they are taking a longer-term view.”

Easy-to-follow guides that explain the process of buying and selling a home are one of the strongest ways to build confidence among the experienced buyer cohort, as is being able to run clients through loss aversion and opportunity cost.

Mr Lavery said being able to explain to buyers the potential financial impacts of delaying property decisions, through reports and analyses, could help agents provide more experienced buyers the confidence to transact now.

“It comes back to gently steering people towards the idea that the time is right, right now and raising the question of what you’re sacrificing if you sit out of the market for a further 12 months,” he said.

“It’s about being as transparent as possible, without spooking people.”

Experienced sellers

Being a trusted advisor can also help more experienced sellers transact with confidence, Mr Lavery said.

The research shows 72 per cent of sellers that have sold previously are confident the strategies they have followed so far have helped them achieve success when it comes to property and will work again in the future.

The majority (75 per cent) also feel property success is about getting ‘more’ but about getting just what their family needs. 

They prefer not to borrow too much and to live within their means so they don’t run into money worries and can enjoy life to its fullest.

Agents can help this group feel even more confident to transact in the current market by prompting urgency with accurate, real-time information on market trends, as well as sharing information about similar properties that have recently sold.

The key here is to highlight the successful angles such as the sale price or the speed at which the transaction occurred.

Mr Lavery said many agents were already using such methods but “the more wood you can throw on that fire, the better”.

“You can’t do too much of this. We recognise that agents do a good job in this regard but more is definitely more,” he said.

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Kylie Dulhunty

Kylie Dulhunty is the Editor at Elite Agent.

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