2020 – What a year for the Real Estate Industry

14 January 2021 Virginia Brookes

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 2020 – what a year for the Real Estate industry!!


Well, that was a year that I don’t want to live through again; a year of ups and downs, uncertainty and, to be quite honest, some frightening times were had by all of us. Thank goodness the last quarter of the year soared for many parts of the RE industry. With interest rates at a record low and international travel still very uncertain it looks like a strong year ahead for the Property Market – especially the Residential sector.


Throughout the last quarter of 2020 and the first two weeks of the working year, I have not seen the demand for talent any more robust than what it is. During this last year, we lost many great people from the industry (in particular Property Management) that were quite merely burnt out and exhausted. We are now starting to see some significant activity with people coming into the industry from hospitality, travel and retail. I was talking to a long-standing client of mine mid-December who had put two newcomers into a substantial Property Management business from travel and hospitality – with two days solid training in Leasing and then ongoing check-ins & training, these two new starters are flying. They are bringing some great energy and a passion for customer service to the business. And that’s, without doubt, the trend which I think we will see start to soar in 2021.


Further to that; never have I seen so much demand for Business Development Managers than I am right now. The value in these BDM roles has now been seen, and if you organically build a portfolio by 100-150 managements per year via a BDM this is much better than buying a rent roll where you are still paying between $3.50 -$4.50 per rental dollar. Currently, we are on the lookout for 7 BDM’s just in the Sydney Metro area alone. The demand for strong Sales Associates is also huge; and with the strength in the current market many Sales Agents and principals want to keep growing their sales teams to get ahead of the curve; and again we see some great movement within this area. Now is the time to ensure you are looking after your sales associates and providing them with the training and structure they need and then the opportunity to step up into a stand-alone sales agent role.  I have seen a few instances lately where Associates have been held back as Agents were busy and jumped to competing agencies as a result. They have done very well on their own and had they been offered this role with their previous employers they would have stayed. A subtle reminder to nurture your team otherwise they’ll nurture your competition. 


Property Management continues to see a real shortage of great people and demand is still high; as I have said so many times over the years - now is the time to take some fantastic people who have lost their careers through no fault of their own and want to start a career in Real Estate. Just remember; some of these people are coming from very customer-focused roles which are all about the attention-to-detail and who genuinely want to work in a position that can offer them a long-standing career. This couldn’t be more true in Property Management - its an essential service that I don’t think is going to change in demand any time soon.


The end of 2020 saw some talent movement but in all honesty so many people we’ve spoken to just wanted to get to December to have a break before thinking about making a move.  Now that they have had this break (or are currently having this break) we are now seeing some really strong movement and a great deal of candidate activity is happening right now! After Covid, and working through 2020 for some candidates, food for thought is that it’s not all about the money anymore. Moving forward it can be about some ongoing flexibility to work from home, varied work hours to have some family life balance whilst still getting their role done in its entirety or just a lesser role with lessor money for more balance and job satisfaction. Now is time to think about what sort of culture your business has, the training on offer, technology to allow flexibility, and how you will manage this moving forward.


This year has started off a cracker though, and I don’t see it slowing down anytime soon. Sit and think about your plans for this year, what staff you need, what skills they need to do the role effectively, and when you need them but start looking at options now. Above anything, your brand is your brand, but your brand is your people – make sure you have the best team you possibly can otherwise you’ll miss the amazing opportunity that 2021 has in store  with the RE market thriving.