The Real Estate Institute of Western Australia’s longest-serving employee and now CEO, Neville Pozzi, celebrated 40 years at the institute yesterday.
Pozzi took the opportunity to reflect on the changes he's observed in Perth’s real estate sector over that time.
The most glaring difference, of course, is the prices achieved in today's market.
“When I began at REIWA in 1977 as an accountant," he said, "Perth’s median house price was just $33,800 - a far cry from the prices we see today.”
Perth’s rental market was also a much smaller component of the industry back then, he said.
“Principals took little interest in the rental side of the business," said Pozzi.
"While there was still demand for rental properties in Perth, within the industry it was considered something of a ‘poor cousin’ to residential sales."
Pozzi said rentals became more popular in the mid-2000s.
"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,” he said.
Over forty years, Pozzi has witnessed plenty of highs and lows in the Perth real estate market.
“I’ve seen a number of real estate cycles come and go in my time," he reflected.
"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," he advised.
Pozzi said the current market is unusual because there are challenges for both sales and rentals, with listing for both very strong.
"Historically, it’s usually one or the other," he said, "so this is unprecedented territory.”
The other notable change Pozzi has observed is that Perth no longer follows the East Coast.
“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,” he said.
Pozzi said the digital revolution has brought about the most significant changes to real estate 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 reiwa.com," he said.
"Where property sellers and seekers used to rely more heavily on the real estate agent for market information, they now go online," he said.
Pozzi said technology has also changed how agents do business.
"They are much more than tour guides," he said.
Real estate agents "know the market inside and out and have an intricate understanding of trends and prices in their local area to better help their clients,” he said.
REIWA celebrates its centenary next year.
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