Ah, the Internet. Don’t you just love it? Overflowing with so, so much information! And plenty of it is dedicated to property. So what is real and what is fake?
It’s information overload, and all anyone needs to add to it is a computer and a connection. That’s right, you don’t need qualifications or actual knowledge – anyone can write anything about anything and put it up on the internet as ‘research’. Isn’t freedom of speech wonderful?!
Beware though – and this is stating the obvious – much of information is questionable quality. Digest what you read with a grain of salt, or suffer the consequences of monetary heartburn.
If the reader doesn’t have sufficient background knowledge on the topic that they are reading about they won’t have the ability to interpret good information from bad or well-informed opinions from gross generalisations.
Why is it suspect?
With media companies continually making cutbacks to stay afloat in this digital age, journalists are under increasing pressure to reach daily ‘click-count’ quotas through producing higher content volumes; quality becomes a secondary consideration.
Much of what gets published on the internet about property markets is backward-looking, is heavily focused on only a few Australian cities, and can be influenced by vested interests.
There’s a lot of mass-produced generalisations which fill people’s devices these days. In some ways, it’s suppressing people’s intelligence. People consume content, they fail to ask themselves ‘why’ others have a specific point of view, and just adopt the consensus as gospel.
What to look for?
An example was the abundance of property news stories in 2014 and 2015 with every Tom, Dick and Sally claiming that Brisbane was destined to be Australia’s next booming property market. There was very little substance to support those big predictions and history now shows that Brisbane’s market was incredibly underwhelming.
While all roads on the internet where pointing the DIY to Brisbane, those that understand real estate were thoroughly analysing the fundamentals of locations all over Australia. Those metrics were suggesting that the road ahead for Brisbane was uninspiring while other locations like Hobart and parts of regional Australia were destined for good times.
The information which shaped those decisions comes from years of analysis and dozens of different sources; it isn’t found in one nice neat little package on Google somewhere.
Much of the content found on the internet about property markets refers to what a market has already done. People looking to buy today ought to be more focused on what a market is likely to do over the next few years.
The problem with making decisions about the future of property markets based on historical property data, is that it’s like looking out of the rear-view mirror to see where you’re going. It is far more critical to look ahead. The most significant leading indicators for that are often found through understanding employment trends, supply pipelines, and economic analysis.