Short-term pain means long-term gain

Short-term pain means long-term gain

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Douglas Driscoll

Sydney’s property market may be cooling but that doesn’t mean the real estate industry should be panicking.

Real estate industry professionals need to look at the big picture, especially when market conditions change. Our industry seems to be full of unnecessary doom and gloom at the moment, but I really think that we need to take stock of our current predicament and focus on the many positives that still exist. I believe that any short-term pain will lead to long-term gain, as a change in market conditions actually affords our industry some unique opportunities.

Yes, the market is cooling, but it’s far from being the end of the world. We have recently become obsessed about whether the market is going up, down or sideways, but the reality is we cannot control the uncontrollable, so should just knuckle down and get on with it. It really doesn’t matter whether the glass is half empty or half full; the main thing is that it is refillable.

Here are six positive opportunities that could happen as a result of a cooling market:

1. Demonstrate value

A cooling market forces agents to get back to the basics and allows them to demonstrate value.

2. Demise of discounted fees

Discounters don’t do us any favours, and when the market softens, it will hopefully signal the end of agents continually slashing their fees.

3. Success for strong agents

Some of the burgeoning underbelly of our industry will succumb to natural attrition.

4. Better education and higher entry levels

This is the perfect opportunity to introduce improved education standards and set higher entry levels which will help rid us of the ‘fly-by-nights’ that have given our industry a bad name.

5. A return to databases

Agents will need to work their databases harder and will hopefully become less reliant on the web portals.

6. Harder for disruptors to enter the market

Everybody seems to be talking about disintermediation at the moment, but in my opinion digital disruptors are more likely to thrive in a seller’s market while vendors struggle to see value for money. In a softer market, however, agents are in a position to really come into their own. The Joneses in New Zealand is a perfect example – this company had all the key ingredients to disrupt the traditional model, but were floored by an unfavourable change in market conditions.


Douglas Driscoll is CEO of Starr Partners, and was named Industry Thought Leader of the Year at the Real Estate Business Awards 2016. Originally from the UK, Douglas is widely regarded as one of the industry’s preeminent thought leaders, and is lauded for his dynamic and pioneering approach.

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