Recently I was asked by Australian Property Investor Magazine to explain which research tools I use to make my property investment decisions.

They probably thought I would quote the Australian Bureau of Statistics, SQM Research, RP Data and the like. While I use these great resources, that’s not the answer I gave.

Here’s what I said: Most research data tells me what’s happened in the past, but what I’m looking for are leading indicators. I want potential predictors of what will happen in the future.

So I pay attention to: 

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  1. Population growth – which will affect demand.
  2. Consumer confidence.
  3. Finance approvals trends.
  4. Employment growth.

The destiny of our property markets will be determined by two main factors – demographics – how many of us there will be, where we want to live and how we will want to live – and the wealth of our nation.

Using Australian Bureau of Statistics data, I look for suburbs where people are able to, and prepared to, pay a premium to live because their disposable income is growing above average.

Then I get to know the real estate markets in those areas by analysing market trends – supply, demand, auction clearance rates, vendors asking prices, days on market etc.

And most importantly by inspecting lots of properties.

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