What should real estate agents expect in 2021?

21 Jan 2021
Estate Agents Co-operative
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The start of another year is always exciting. No matter what has happened in the last year, a new year always means new opportunities.

Despite the challenges of last year, 2021 offers much to look forward to for agents.

It will be a year of plenty of ‘new’ and ‘exciting’, and if agents are prepared to adapt and evolve (which 2020 taught us we all can do), it could be a year of flourishing businesses and big wins.

What does the market have in store?

Over the last few weeks, like many Australians, we have been reading the papers (online of course) and working through the various market predictions for this year.

At times, again, like most, we couldn’t help but laugh at how incredibly different the predictions are and question how any agent is supposed to make a plan based on their various assumptions.

If you read the predictions mid-Covid last year, the sky was falling, values were predicted to tumble, and sales were going to be non-existent.

Here we are, almost 12 months later, and in most places, little-to-none of that occurred. While April to September saw a relatively modest 2.1% drop in housing values nationally, the year to November actually saw an increase of 1.1% across the country, with only Melbourne coming in at -1.3%.

Interest rates remained historically low, which no doubt provided confidence to those willing to buy and sell during the height of the pandemic, and first-time buyers saw an opportunity to get in while competition was perceivably decreased.

This year, we again see radical predictions, like the recent ‘confidential analysis’ from the Reserve Bank that ‘suggests house values could jump 30% over three years’, combined with more grounded forecasts, such as the 5% rise suggested by NAB.

One thing we do know now – and have for a long time – is our property market is resilient.

In planning for this year, draw on your local knowledge, paying only small mind to the various predictions out there.

As you know, each locality is its own niche market, and as experienced agents, you are in one of the best positions to pay attention to the trends and forecast local performance for the next quarter or year.

What technology should we keep an eye out for?

As we noted in our 2020 annual wrap up, there is a lot happening in the proptech space, but despite all the new apps and opportunities, one of the most important spaces to watch, is data – how it’s used and how it’s provided to you.

If we look at other industries that have moved faster than the real estate industry in this space, it’s clear we still have quite a way to go before we are using the data to which we already have access, to its full capacity.

While we output CMAs, retail is creating detailed, data-driven buyer profiles, intricately mapping behaviour and making informed decisions about business, investment and marketing.

This year, don’t just look out for new data platforms, look out for what you can learn to do with them.

Embrace courses, seminars, online articles and mentors that introduce you to this ever-evolving world, and become a truly savvy, data-driven property consultant.

For many of us, undoubtably, this prospect sounds frightening or even beyond us, but there is no shortage of teachers out there – even those patient enough to deal with us slow adaptors!

How should we be evolving our business practices?

Data aside, many smart businesses are changing to accommodate the demands of new, more technically savvy, busy buyers and sellers.

They recognise this new generation does business differently and expects an evolved service that meets their needs.

In 2019, we published an article about agency business structures, still one of our most popular articles to this day.

Within, we explored and compared the traditional agency structure, with the increasingly popular pod structure, the ad-agency style structure and more rare, non-commission, hourly consultants.

While Purple Bricks came and went from our shores quickly, consumers continue to question high commission structures and really look to see value in the service provided to them.

The ad agency style structure, in which a team of specialists works on different parts of the sales and marketing process, offers an interesting opportunity for agencies looking to evolve to better reach and please millennials and Gen Y.

How will requirements of agents change?

Last year, was a big one for regulatory updates in our industry, with long-awaited changes introduced to licence and ongoing training requirements.

With these changes now in place, expect a lot more study this year, hopefully with an emphasis on quality.

Over recent years, we’ve seen the rise of ‘quick and dirty’ online courses within which agents can essentially buy their CPD points, challenging organisations that focused on providing training designed to really improve the agent.

We’re excited to hopefully see a return to a focus on quality education and even more diversity in what agents are learning.

With CPD now challenging you to fulfil your core requirements, then use electives to really enhance your skills in an area of your choosing, we are moving back to real education.

We’ve said it once (twice, three times!) and we’ll say it again, 2021 stands to be a very exciting year, of course not short of challenges, but seemingly already, filled with opportunities.

We look forward to supporting you and your teams!

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