Property Investors Look Further Afield For Opportunities
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Property Investors Look Further Afield For Opportunities

One of the dominant investment trends of 2023 was more East Coast investors buying in Western Australia for affordability and superior returns

By Bronwyn Allen
Fri, Jan 5, 2024 11:01amGrey Clock 3 min

More investors are looking beyond the neighbourhoods they live in for investment opportunities after the pandemic property boom saw regional markets surge in value at a greater pace than the capital cities, as more people who could work from home left the cities for greener pastures.

McGrath Estate Agents CEO John McGrath said this regional relocation of owner-occupiers opened investors’ eyes to markets outside their own neighbourhoods. Changes in marketing and technology brought about due to lockdowns, such as video inspections, online auctions and signing contracts electronically, helped buyers feel more comfortable with purchasing property remotely. “The prospect of phone bidding and purchasing properties sight unseen is no longer foreign,” he said.

Data from MCG Quantity Surveyors proves that investors are exploring new markets for investment. The latest data for 2023 shows the average distance between where landlords live and invest has ballooned to 1,502km, up from 857km in 2022 and 294km before the pandemic.

MCG managing director, Mike Mortlock, said the data revealed two insights. “Firstly, property investors remain agile and will park their capital in whichever investor-friendly national location and asset type offers the greatest possibility of maximising their return,” he said. “The second is that Western Australia has become the centre of Australian property investment. There’s little doubt its popularity with real estate buyers from the East Coast has increased the gap between home and investment.” MCG data shows 31.86% of Australian property investors bought in Western Australia in the first quarter of 2023, up from just 9.38% in the first quarter of 2022, revealing “a seismic shift away from east coast property investment”, he said.

In 2023, CoreLogic data shows Perth and Regional Western Australia delivered the best total returns (rents and capital growth combined) for investors of all capital cities and regional areas in Australia. Perth’s total return was 20.7 percent and regional Western Australia’s was 14.8 percent. The best-performing regions were Mandurah and Bunbury with 20 percent and 15 percent jumps in home values respectively over the year. Rents in Perth and Regional Western Australia also increased faster than any other area in Australia, up by 13.4 percent and 10.4 percent respectively.

One of the main attractions of Western Australia to East Coast investors is affordability. The Perth house price median is $691,100 and the regional house price median is $398,915. McGrath Estate Agents CEO John McGrath said: “This move towards remote investing has largely been driven by the perception of better capital growth prospects in the regions, and higher rental yields that usually come with more affordable properties.” Investors in regional areas can usually afford to buy houses, which typically deliver better capital growth than apartments, and they can buy with smaller loans, meaning they can manage rising interest rates more easily.

PropTrack recently put together a panel of industry experts and asked them to create a list of 100 suburbs that they think will outperform in 2024. PropTrack economist Anne Flaherty said 40 percent of the suburbs selected were in regional areas. PropTrak director of economic research Cameron Kusher said the selected regional areas were typically close to a capital city or had a diversified economy. “These tend to be key drivers in regional markets and reflect our expectations of the types of locations in regional areas likely to see the strongest price growth next year,” he said.

Here are some examples of the regional cities or suburbs tipped for outperformance in 2024.

NSW – Dubbo

Simon Pressley of Propertyology selects Dubbo. “Decades of official evidence supports Dubbo’s status as an extremely resilient and low risk option for property investors with a budget of up to $600,000,” Mr Pressley said.

VIC – Delacombe, Ballarat

Buyers’ agent Kate Hill from Adviseable says Delacombe is a fast-growing part of the Ballarat West Growth Area and offers strong capital growth potential and good yields. “Ballarat was recently identified by the ABS as the fastest growing inland city in Australia and, according to some forecasters, can expect more strong price growth,” she said.

QLD – Darling Heights, Toowoomba

Home to the University of Southern Queensland, Ms Hill says Darling Heights has a range of amenities and will benefit from Toowoomba’s involvement in the 2032 Olympics. “There is a massive program of infrastructure development underway, planning more than $13.1 billion of infrastructure and major projects, both private and public,” Ms Hill said.

SA – Victor Harbor

Mr Pressley says Victor Harbor is to Adelaide what the Sunshine Coast is to Brisbane. “It has one the highest rates of internal migration in the country. Very popular for the one in five Australians who now derive their income from home, and for retirees.”

WA – Mandurah

“Mandurah is the lifestyle capital of Western Australia because of everything it has to offer without the big price tag,” said Ray White Managing Director, Dan White. “When it comes to property, Mandurah offers something for everyone, from affordable options for first-home buyers to upmarket canal homes.”

TAS – Launceston

Mr Pressley says this regional city has a diverse economy and “one of the best lifestyle offerings in all of Australia”. “Over the last 20 years, the average annual capital growth rate for Launceston houses of 8.6 percent is far superior to Sydney and Melbourne. Rental yields are also superior.”



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A Killer Golf Swing Is a Hot Job Skill Now

Companies are eager to hire strong players who use hybrid work schedules to schmooze clients on the course

By CALLUM BORCHERS
Fri, Jun 14, 2024 5 min

Standout golfers who aren’t quite PGA Tour material now have somewhere else to play professionally: Corporate America.

People who can smash 300-yard drives and sink birdie putts are sought-after hires in finance, consulting, sales and other industries, recruiters say. In the hybrid work era, the business golf outing is back in a big way.

Executive recruiter Shawn Cole says he gets so many requests to find ace golfers that he records candidates’ handicaps, an index based on average number of strokes over par, in the information packets he submits to clients. Golf alone can’t get you a plum job, he says—but not playing could cost you one.

“I know a guy that literally flies around the world in a private jet loaded with French wine, and he golfs and lands hundred-million-dollar deals,” Cole says.

Tee times and networking sessions have long gone hand-in-golf-glove. Despite criticism that doing business on the course undermines diversity, equity and inclusion efforts—and the fact that golf clubs haven’t always been open to women and minorities —people who mix golf and work say the outings are one of the last reprieves from 30-minute calendar blocks

Stars like Tiger Woods and Michelle Wie West helped expand participation in the sport. Still, just 22% of golfers are nonwhite and 26% are women, according to the National Golf Foundation.

To lure more people, clubs have relaxed rules against mobile-phone use on the course, embracing white-collar professionals who want to entertain clients on the links without disconnecting from the office. It’s no longer taboo to check email from your cart or take a quick call at the halfway turn.

With so much other business conducted virtually, shaking hands on the green and schmoozing over clubhouse beers is now seen as making an extra effort, not slacking off.

Americans played a record 531 million rounds last year. Weekday play has nearly doubled since 2019, with much of the action during business hours , according to research by Stanford University economist Nicholas Bloom .

“It would’ve been scandalous in 2019 to be having multiple meetings a week on the golf course,” Bloom says. “In 2024, if you’re producing results, no one’s going to see anything wrong with it.”

A financial adviser at a major Wall Street bank who competes on the amateur circuit told me he completes 90% of his tasks by 10 a.m. because he manages long-term investment plans that change infrequently. The rest of his workday often involves golfing with clients and prospects. He’s a member of a private club with a multiyear waiting list, and people jump at the chance to join him on a course they normally can’t access.

There is an art to bringing in business this way. He never initiates shoptalk, telling his playing partners the round is about having fun and getting to know each other. They can’t resist asking about investment strategies by the back nine, he says.

Work hard, play hard

Matt Parziale golfed professionally on minor-league tours for several years, but when his dream of making the big time ended, he had to get a regular job. He became a firefighter, like his dad.

A few years later he won one of the biggest amateur tournaments in the country, earning spots in the 2018 Masters and U.S. Open, where he tied for first among non-pros.

The brush with celebrity brought introductions to business types that Parziale, 35 years old, says he wouldn’t have met otherwise. One connection led to a job with a large insurance broker. In 2022 he jumped to Deland, Gibson Insurance Associates in Wellesley, Mass., which recognised his golf game as a tool to help win large accounts.

He rescheduled our interview because he was hosting clients at a private club on Cape Cod, and squeezed me in the next morning, before teeing off with a business group in Newport, R.I.

A short time ago, Parziale couldn’t imagine making a living this way. Now he’s the norm in elite amateur golf circles.

“I look around at the guys at the events I play, and they all have these jobs ,” he says.

His boss, Chief Executive Chip Gibson, says Parziale is good at bringing in business because he puts as much effort into building relationships as honing his game. A golf outing is merely an opportunity to build trust that can eventually lead to a deal, and it’s a misconception that people who golf during work hours don’t work hard, he says.

Barry Allison’s single-digit handicap is an asset in his role as a management consultant at Accenture , where he specialises in travel and hospitality. He splits time between Washington, D.C., and The Villages, Fla., a golf mecca that boasts more than 50 courses.

It can be hard to get to know people in distributed work environments, he says. Go golfing and you’ll learn a lot about someone’s temperament—especially after a bad shot.

“If you see a guy snap a club over his knee, you don’t know what he’s going to snap next,” Allison says.

Special access

On a recent afternoon I was a lunch guest at Brae Burn Country Club, a private enclave outside Boston that was the site of U.S. Golf Association championships won by legends like Walter Hagen and Bobby Jones. I parked in the second lot because the first one was full—on a Wednesday.

My host was Cullen Onstott, managing director of the Onstott Group executive search firm and a former collegiate golfer at Fairfield University. He explained one reason companies prize excellent golfers is they can put well-practiced swings on autopilot and devote most of their attention to chitchat.

It’s hard to talk with potential customers about their needs and interests when you’re hunting for errant shots in the woods. It’s also challenging if you show off.

The first hole at Brae Burn is a 318-yard par 4 that slopes down, enabling big hitters like Onstott to reach the putting green in a single stroke. But to stay close to his playing partners and keep the conversation flowing, he sometimes hits a shorter shot.

Having an “in” at an exclusive club can make you a catch. Bo Burch, an executive recruiter in North Carolina, says clubs in his region tend to attract members according to their business sectors. One might be chock-full of real-estate investors while another has potential buyers of industrial manufacturing equipment.

Burch looks for candidates who are members of clubs that align with his clients’ industries, though he stresses that business acumen comes first when filling positions.

Tami McQueen, a former Division I tennis player and current chief marketing officer at Atlanta investment firm BIP Capital, signed up for private golf lessons this year. She had noticed colleagues were wearing polos with course logos and bringing their clubs to work. She wanted in.

McQueen joined business associates on the golf course for the first time in March at the PGA National Resort in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. She has lowered her handicap to a respectable 26 and says her new skill lends a professional edge.

“To be able to say, ‘I can play with you and we can have those business meetings on the course’ definitely opens a lot more doors,” she says.

MOST POPULAR
11 ACRES ROAD, KELLYVILLE, NSW

This stylish family home combines a classic palette and finishes with a flexible floorplan

35 North Street Windsor

Just 55 minutes from Sydney, make this your creative getaway located in the majestic Hawkesbury region.

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