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Why data is important, even if you’re ‘not much of a data person’

By Bianca Dabu
30 July 2021 | 10 minute read
Eliza Owen reb

Property data — and creating stories from that data — can better help agents and property managers navigate the ever-changing market, according to a research expert.

Speaking on a recent episode of The WIRE, CoreLogic’s head of research, Eliza Owen, emphasised how data always “tells a story”.

It was a sentiment that The WIRE host and REIP CEO Sadhana Smiles picked up on, acknowledging it as “so true that no matter what level of data or what type of data you’re looking at, it tells the story”.

“For real estate agents, I think that’s something that we probably could connect with a lot better,” Ms Smiles stated.

Realising that agents “probably should be more focused on the types of data that we collect and what story the data is telling us”, the CEO noted that agents and property managers alike are collecting information from clients — whether they are buyers, sellers, tenants or investors.

So, how can real estate professionals better bank data, understand that data and, most importantly, use that data to tell stories?

According to Ms Owen, it’s not as difficult as one may think.

“Even if you’re not much of a data person, just staying familiar with some basic principles around the housing market will help… like the relationship between the cash rate, mortgage rates and market performance — as in, cash rate goes down, mortgage rates go down, property market goes up. That sort of dynamic.”

Ms Owen also recommends the profession follow along with the workings of institutions like the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA), which do ultimately make decisions that affect the property market.

“You can literally just go to their website, subscribe to their newsletter. We keep an eye on APRA because they are regulating the financial space,” the researcher offered.

She explained: “Some of the changes in policy that they implemented back around 2014, 2017, I believe, did catalyse one of the larger downturns that we’ve seen in the housing market. That’s because anything that alters access to credit will alter dynamics in the housing market. So, credit tightens, the housing market would probably go down.”

Ultimately, even during challenging times, anyone can stay ahead of the curve if they know how to use data to their advantage, Ms Owen stated.

She also advised staying up to date with market dynamics, and suggested that agents should use these to moderate their own activity in comparison.

It’s an activity that even CoreLogic has pivoted towards doing: “For example, instead of just looking at all the market metrics, we were saying, ‘How many comparative market analysis reports are being generated on the RP platform? And what does that tell us about the listings volumes?’”

Ms Owen said the research group “saw a very strong correlation between agents’ engagement with the platform and changes in the volume of listings”.

“Therefore, we could go in day by day, look at that activity and see how it was changing through COVID,” she said.

All in all, Ms Owen stated that “there’s lots of different ways that you can engage with research”.

“It doesn’t always have to be too data-heavy if you’re not into that,” Ms Owen concluded.

You can listen to the entire conversation with Eliza Owen here.


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