The changing face of real estate

Since the invention smart phones, social media and the internet have become entrenched in our lives. Convenience and access to information changed perceptions of mobile phones from a device to communicate to a powerful computer in your pocket. This column isn’t written to focus on technology; however, technology is accelerating an interesting trend in real estate businesses.

In 2007 when I started my career, the biggest real estate businesses in Canberra were the most successful. Delivering solutions across multiple business disciplines to the market at scale required large teams, making it important to retain senior resources to maintain their knowledge and capabilities in-house.

In theory, this strategy was no different to businesses in other industries; however, technology, in particular smart phones and social media, has accelerated a trend away from this model.

Ironically, the reason is the same as what made these legacy businesses successful in the first place – brand.

Digging deeper, successful agents are proficient marketers and negotiators. In my experience, agents can be quite eccentric, making them interesting, and, combined with their marketing capabilities, enabled some to build audiences on social media far larger than the organisations they work within. The risk to businesses is an inability to compete with the agents individually as their corporate nature and structure for broad appeal is inherently flawed when trying to resonate with specific demographics of consumers.

This has shifted the power dynamic between organisations and their agents, accelerating an exodus of top talent from organisations in their twilight phase into start-ups.

I’ve written repeatedly in this column about the benefits of being ‘on the tools’ and maintaining an active role in the field when it comes to identifying trends as they are emerging within Canberra’s real estate market. Increasing the number of experienced real estate professionals in consumer-facing roles will increase competition and lift performance expectations. 

Hypothesising on how this trend plays out, I anticipate agency fragmentation will inevitably lead to success for many recent real estate start-ups; additionally, an enormous opportunity for agile mid-tier agencies to capitalise on changing business conditions by securing some very sophisticated developer clients.

With Sam Dodimead, local property professional and host of Canberra Property Podcast where you can get to know the consultants contributing toward delivery of new buildings. Stream from wherever you listen to podcasts.   

Read the market wrap from last week here.

Find property listings at Canberra Weekly Real Estate.