Once again interest rates were left alone following this week’s meeting at the Reserve, however there is now mounting pressure on the ‘Governor of Moolah’ to explain why this is so. Just another storm in a tea cup, as most are of the opinion that it is business as usual and who cares. Since December 2001 the Reserve has met forty seven times and rates have been adjusted on six occasions, so instead of wasting time by going into all the mechanics that determine interest rate levels, the big clue is that nothing has changed. So with nothing to write about rates, the media circus then moved on to the building approvals which for the month of March were down 6.8 per cent. These figures are basically the most volatile and jump and shift each month so they are hardly seen as reliable indicators. However, the ringmaster would have you believing that the economy is definitely on a path of destruction. Week in, week out the pessimists keep absorbing the sunshine and radiating gloom !!

There is a foul wind whenever the word tax is mentioned and great to see that ‘Bobby Dazzler’ still remains in absolute denial that he is on the nose. Intent on spending more taxpayer funds by getting a legal opinion that confirmed his compliance with the GST agreement, he keeps missing the point that he is no longer in compliance with the constituents of NSW. Recent surveys all but confirmed his worst fears (if he was paying attention) that his heartland voters are the ones worst affected by land tax. The irony is that Liverpool came in numero uno with the greatest number paying land tax, and Mosman came in tenth. This is hardly a surprise as with our property management portfolio, the greater majority reside outside our municipality. The Mosman residents are well represented and prefer to ‘drive’ their principal place of residence as they are all only too well aware that profits here are tax free. Whilst ‘Dazzler’ does have an argument that he collects $13 billion a year in GST and only gets $10 billion back, if he did pocket the extra $3 billion, the question is where would he spend it ? The people of NSW are sick and tired of watching the way he spends their hard earned money by continually sending it ‘into the wind’.

It is an interesting balance these days between the online and offline components of our business, and most know that I have a greater fascination with online. However, I must admit that we are looking forward to tomorrow’s edition of Domain in The Sydney Morning Herald as we will be running thirteen 10 X 2 colour advertisements which is a first for Mosman. These days, real estate businesses have to adopt a more hands on approach to stay alive as the industry is presently taking plenty of casualties. The big killer will always be overheads and we all know that online is most cost effective when we look at our selling ratios. It is interesting to note that our Apartment Division has a much healthier relationship with purchasers online than our House Division. This online relationship allows them to handle a volume which currently represents 36 properties. This week, we exchanged 14/8A Rangers Road, Cremorne, 14/464 Military Road, Cremorne and 7/72 – 76 Spofforth Street, Cremorne. We have a further two awaiting exchange (both were with other agents for up to six months). We sold them both within 48 hours by email alerts. Database is the next big business killer after overheads. If you are not working it, you have not worked it out. Once upon a time a whole page colour advertisement was a vital ingredient in a marketing campaign. Today it is not as important, as it is simply there to point the enquiry to our website, and that is how it works. We then capture the enquiries and enter them into our growing database. To run an e-business in real estate is expensive ( I hate to think how much we have spent on it) however we are well and truly in the black. Vendors, today are asking agents ‘what can you do, without me having to throw a cheque at you so you can find a buyer’. Our point of difference is that we can confidently answer that question. Given that it can now take up to ninety days to sell a home, vendors are asking ‘why spend that amount in the first thirty days when it could take another sixty?’ Our Apartment Division on average, sells a property every 48 hours (80 per cent of its advertising is online), and it has another nine properties to hit the market in coming days.

The landscape keeps changing and it is more interesting when you know what lies ahead. Where will our industry be in five year’s time ? Not exactly sure yet, however we have a pretty good idea. Those who are currently buying apartments will then be buying houses and therein lies another clue !! Cheers ^__^

Oh! and our all time record hits in a month were 575,510 until April, when we did 776,260 (and that was a quiet month due to school holidays!)

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