Some interesting learnings from my fleeting visits to England and Australia lately; both markets are troubled, the UK flat for several years now, with flat line values in all areas except London, where, within an hour of the centre, there is still value growth and yes, the leading sales professionals are doing almost as well as they did five years ago. The market is back by half compared with those good old days.
Across the ditch and things are going downhill in most markets…both numbers and prices, although good property in Sydney and Melbourne still attract strong offers. Auction clearance rates are certainly coming back and exceptional bargains are being seen at discretionary venues as was the case here… at prime tourist spots….Port Douglas, Cairns, Surfers etc.
What interested me most though was, through discussions with a wide variety of people in the industry and in both countries, that in the cities and especially those with traffic issues, small offices in retail streets and main thoroughfares are the current focus; four through six staff, management functions back at a base elsewhere and the rationale? People walk to most places or catch cabs….so, offices are no more than a comfortable walk away from anyone.
To give you an example, one group is targeting a further 150 ‘small format’ offices in the city but only half that number in the rest of the state where they favour larger, regional offices. Other groups support offices with effectively sole trading areas, so these are larger is size and further apart.
In London, the market is dominated by several very large and often family-owned companies with up to 100 offices, though several with 50.
Everyone is seeking to double their property management portfolios and most focusing on internal growth with known landlords.
What was pleasing I guess, and this is the competitive streak in me, is that we are without doubt through the mill further than either country. While we all wonder what the Euro-mess is going to deliver, we are to some degree, outside it and do have products many buyers across the world want…so just maybe we are more secure. When industry slows, nobody buys coal, gas or ores…but they still gotta eat!
All commented that NZ as an investment market cropped up from time to time in their offices…and we know there are some cashed up Aussies poking around and if you read up on move2nz.com you will see their reports on increased enquiry from the UK.