Buyers today have more knowledge, higher expectations - and a liking for digital media

Posted on 20/09/2011  

The recent Matusik Property Insights online market survey confirms that residential property buyers are armed with more knowledge and hold higher expectations than their predecessors.

Buyers confirmed a dramatic move towards digital media as the primary source for property searches, and expressed some dissatisfaction with one or more of the professional services they encountered in the sales process.

The survey found 42% of buyers   sourced      their  property online, followed by television (29%), radio (20%), and print (10%).

The survey also highlights the current mis-match between locations in which consumers    search for property and the amount of advertising dollars spent in those locations.

From this, it would seem that digital media is set to grow as an advertising vehicle, while the use of print media may further decline as a means of advertising property for sale.

Figures from the REA Group indicate that currently, 85% of people looking for property use the Internet and 49% will look at newspapers.

Interestingly, REA also reports that on average per week we spend 25 hours looking at the Internet, 15 hours watching television, and 5.5 hours reading newspapers and magazines.

The data suggests that buyers are waiting and watching in the wings, ready to move when the right location and property become available at the right price.

Our survey confirmed, however, that when it came to buying property, many buyers were dissatisfied with the professional services they received. Here’s what they said needs improvement within the sales process:

No sales price shown

Many buyers indicated a reluctance to follow up on advertised properties where the sales price was not shown. For some, it creates a trust issue. Others said they simply would not consider a property without a price indicator.

Customer service lacking

The majority of buyers (90%) received no follow-up after initial contact, from at least one professional group in the sales process i.e. agents, solicitors, conveyancing and financial firms, etc. This would seem to us, opportunity lost, indeed – and amazing, given the frequent gripes we hear about lack of business.

Better information

Buyers are savvier these days, already armed with their own research, they are looking for better information from agents – not just about the property, but about comparative sales, general location, amenities etc. Many would like agents to be more proactive.

Honesty

What can we say, other than it pays, and our buyers indicated that they would like more of it. They want honest answers.

Where to from here?

The majority of buyers indicated an optimistic outlook for the future.

Most buyers see the property price free-fall as slowing to a halt: 42% say prices will drop a little; 30% expect they will remain the same; and only 6% think prices will rise. Just one-quarter of those surveyed think prices will drop a lot over the next year.

The majority of buyers appear to be optimistic, with around 60% anticipating rental growth over the next 12 months.

The article is reproduced with the permission of Matusik Property Insights.

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