Whether you’re keen to invest in your very first property this year, are a property developer or an individual with multiple dwellings looking to add to your portfolio, it helps to keep up to date on all the latest property data, trends, statistics, and forecasts coming out about the market.  

However, with few regulations about who can proclaim themselves to be experts, and so many people looking to profit from so-called ‘property forecasting, it can be challenging to know who and what to believe.

Experienced national property advisor, Debra Beck-Mewing from The Property Frontline, shares her tips on how to take in only relevant, trusted information about property estimates and markets.  

With over a quarter of a century of experience in property investing across Australia, Debra is a licensed real estate agent. She’s also a Qualified Property Investment Advisor (QPIA) and has completed a Bachelor of Commerce and Master of Business degrees. She began The Property Frontline to provide trusted property strategy and buyers’ agent services to individuals wanting to build their property portfolios.  

Debra cautions property buyers to be careful when seeking advice, particularly in relation to market and property predictions and has some advice for investors when it comes to discerning who to pay attention to. It starts with understanding what kinds of qualifications and licenses people possess.  

“Quality advisors are members of the Property Investment Professionals of Australia (PIPA) and will be listed on that organisation’s website,” she said. “The highest level of accreditation is a QPIA. Advisors who achieve this level can use the QPIA logo on their websites and other marketing materials. QPIAs undertake a detailed training course, uphold the highest standard of service, and must maintain regular training.”  

There’s more to it than simply having these qualifications, though. “Buyers shouldn’t just rely on the qualification alone. Always check an advisor’s experience and follow them online before taking their advice.” 

Finally, cover yourself with some protection to reduce risk. “Get a written guarantee so you can obtain a full refund if you find the advisor isn’t delivering as expected.”  

When asked whom she turns to for quality information herself, Debra had some suggestions. It’s all about going straight to the direct source whenever possible. “I use the purest form of data as my base point. This includes the Australian Bureau of Statistics, Reserve Bank, Australian Tax Office, plus a range of State and Council generated information.”  

As for sales data, Debra relies on RP Data (CoreLogic) and Pricefinder. “I use the data in these sources to analyse targeted markets for each of our clients.”

As for forecasters, she has one main trusted resource. “The only one I rate is Louis Christopher from SQM Research. He has the best track record of the most reliable forecasts, he’s independent, and focused on delivering clear information to the market,” she said.  

Louis publishes a detailed report each year outlining his forecast for the property market – ‘Housing Boom and Bust Report’. The report is released in November with a view for the coming 12 months, but monthly data is regularly published on the SQM Research website.

Forecasting 2020 has turned out to be the ultimate challenge and, yet again, the report has proved to be the most reliable predictor of market performance. 2020 started with selling prices really heating up resulting in Sydney and Melbourne on track to achieve 10% increases. Of course, the virus crisis then changed that trajectory and Louis’ alternative scenario kicked in.

He was also right about Perth as he expected the west to finally get some upward price movement due to mining investment recovery. He forecasts Perth property prices will lift by between 3% and 6% this year. Brisbane is another city that will be assisted by the recovery in mining. Christopher believes the Queensland city should record prices rises in the same range as Perth.  

When you’re ready to make your next purchase, Debra suggests being on the lookout for people who proclaim to “find” properties for clients, but who are only really selling properties. “These people are commonly referred to as “spruikers”. Usually, the property they recommend will be off the plan, either house and land or recent builds.” 

“Spruikers receive big kickbacks from developers, so the property will be overpriced to cover this cost. Spruikers tend to be great at marketing and attract buyers through supposed education or coaching that’s actually more about conditioning people to buy what they want to sell.”   

To protect yourself, ask advisors about what kinds of payments they receive. “Check whether they receive commissions for sales, or pay for leads. If they take money from anyone else but you, their priorities will be with the person or company that pays them the most. That usually won’t be you,” she said. 

About the author

Debra Beck-Mewing is the Editor of the Property Portfolio Magazine and CEO of The Property Frontline.  She has more than 20 years’ experience in property investing Australia-wide and has used a range of strategies to build her property portfolio including renovating, granny flats, sub-division and development. Debra is a skilled property strategist, and a master in sourcing properties that have multiple uses and multiple exit strategies. She is a Qualified Property Investment Advisor, licensed real estate agent and also holds a Bachelor of Commerce and Master of Business. As a passionate advocate for increasing transparency in the property and wealth industries, Debra is a popular speaker on these topics.  She is also an author, podcast host, and participates on numerous committees including the Property Owners’ Association.

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