We love property

Friday 06 Sep 2019

Australians love property and especially residential property. The residential property market in Australia is valued at $5.5 Trillion. If you include commercial property it would come to $6.2 trillion and that does not include property held in SMSF. To put that into some perspective the Australian stock market is valued at $1.6 Trillion.

The property industry now employs more people than any other sector, according to analysis by AEC Group. Creating more than 1.4 million jobs, property has overtaken health care and social assistance as the biggest direct contributor to employment in Australia by industry. More than 1 in 4 wages rely on our industry – that’s a huge contribution to the livelihoods of individuals and families across the nation.

The Property industry is also a major contributor to GDP and is a huge contributor to combined Australian, state, territory and local government tax revenues.

Here in Cairns the story is much the same. The 2016 census shows us there are 68,749 privately held properties in the Cairns local government area, nearly 22,000 are investment properties.

Property is clearly a business for many, a cornerstone for private wealth creation, but it has become a past time for most of us. At open homes on the weekend I can see looking at real estate is more than just research – it’s an investment opportunity, a hobby and entertainment combined.

The media has caught on and caters heavily especially on TV. Shows like “The Block”, “Selling Houses Australia”, “Love it or List It”, and “Grand Designs Australia” cater for the property bug in all of us. There are countless magazines about home decoration and renovation and the newspapers are constantly bringing us up to date with changing markets and trends. This does not include the number of Australians that just surf the internet portals looking at property.

According to new research by HSBC bank, Australians clock up an average 2.5 hours a week preoccupied by the property market – more than twice the time they spend at the gym (1.08 hours) or speaking to parents (0.88 hours). Home renovations, property sales and market trends are common topics of conversation at social functions.

So, what does all this mean? I am not actually sure. I do think the interest we have in property will continue to drive our market and put pressure on our housing shortage. It also has developed some interesting side industries. I do think with the size and growth of the industry those employed within it will continue to specialise and there will be a need to keep pace with the growing sophistication and legislation of the industry.

David Forrest