The month of March 2003 will remain in many agents’ minds for quite some time. For some it eclipsed the all time record months, and for others it was a disaster. Such are the changing times of the real estate industry, and it has become quite obvious that unless agents re-assess their inadequate business strategies, they may very well become extinct. If one looks at the agencies that are standing head and shoulders above their peers, they are the agencies that subscribe to the theory of e-business. This relatively new form of e-business is still very much in the early eng@gement juncture. The only difference is that some are in pursuit whilst many remain in denial.

This Easter will be the first time in many, many years that some of us won’t be packing our ‘open for inspection’ boards, as we will become normal people and get to enjoy the full break. With March being a record month, April was basically a ‘do your best’, with Easter and Anzac Day interrupting the sales campaigns. All eyes will now focus on the May market which could even surpass the March market. I have a feeling that this will be a very strong market given that the recent global uncertainty has now been balanced. We are also seeing this with the renewed activity in the share market and even AMP is no longer the ‘ugly duckling’. If our markets remain positive and steady, the message is loud and clear, nothing beats an economy where the participants are, ‘simply, taking care of business’.

The property bank still continues to perform, and I read recently with interest, a Real Estate Institute of NSW report which identified that since the December quarter in 1994, Sydney median house prices have increased by an average of 10.5 percent each year. Overall, NSW house prices have increased by 9.1 percent compared to inflation, which has increased 2.9 percent each year over the same period. Even though the year 2002 had a mixture of extremes from terrorism, in Bali to terrorism in the print media about the bubble bursting, Sydney home prices still rose by 28.6 percent and NSW overall, rose by 21.0 percent.

For 2003, the picture continues to thrive with the latest Australian Bureau of Statistics revealing that new home loans approved in February rose by 0.1 percent. Even better news is that the loans approved for building new homes was up 3.1 percent which is a very positive sign for the housing construction industry. What we are seeing, is that the real estate industry and those who invest in it have faith, and one could not argue with the previous results. Real estate today, is all about building wealth through the security of bricks and mortar and making this valuable asset work. The main difference today is that the owners watch their assets as closely, as we watch our share portfolios.

We received some very interesting e-mails in response to recent editions, specially regarding the Internet, and how valuable it is to subscribers. So I spent an interesting week looking at just what role it plays for us, and how we can work to improve our e-business. It has been determined by reliable industry sources that a trillion dollars will be transacted over the web in the next few years, and it could even be there now. This will be shared by the business to business and consumers to business, who share the online resources that are available today, and it is an entirely new focus. What we are learning now more than ever before, is that it has been alright to have just the technology, however there now needs to be even greater acknowledgement of the customer relationship as this has been somewhat ignored. Our Internet business has to be more than just a property clothes line to hang pretty properties. Whoever discovers this missing link, will really change the Internet and deliver greater client interaction.

Not sure if it can be discovered over Easter, however I can assure you we will be working on it. Have a great and safe Easter, and remember don’t put all your eggs in the one basket!! Cheers and clink…^__^

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