2021: A positive outlook for Australian property

A message from our CEO and Founder, Joseph Chou

Welcome to 2021!

The whole world has been looking forward to a better year than 2020, and now here we are, one month into 2021, and we are already seeing so many positive developments.

Global stability

In global politics, we return to some normalcy with the new US administration, which promises a return to more engagement with international communities and all the stability and opportunity that brings.

Covid-19 bounceback

The roll out of the Covid-19 vaccine is now underway overseas, and in Australia we will see a phased roll out of the vaccine starting from the end of February.

Overall, while Australia is yet to come through completely from Covid-19, we are so fortunate and in such an enviable position in the world. Unemployment rates have dropped, economic forecasts are positive across all states and through our continued good efforts, we still have the freedom to enjoy the great lifestyle Australia affords – we can be out at beaches or parks, enjoy restaurants, time with friends and other activities.

Big banks forecasting growth in 2021

In the property markets, we are also seeing positive forecasts from the big banks. For the first time that we can remember, all the major cities are forecasted to achieve capital growth this year. While Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide are expected to lead in terms of growth, Sydney and Melbourne will also grow, due to undersupply. We are really pleased to see this as we have many investors already holding assets in these key markets, and we want them to be able to enjoy some good returns and bring some good opportunities for new investors as well. That said, while we always say it makes sense to invest at the right time for a market, getting into the market is just the start. How long you stay in the market is very important.

Attractive returns for property investors

Our low interest rates, that we expect to stay low for some time, means that investors have limited options to park their money. If you need to borrow money to invest, it makes sense to do it when money is ‘cheap.’ There has been talk of being in the early stages of a stock market ‘bubble’, with irrational high valuations for some companies and unrealistic belief that prices will keep rising by many retail investors. So, the return on property investments is looking far more attractive now than before for many investors.

Of course, there are still factors investors need to be aware of in the short term. With the lack of international travel, vacancy rates are still higher, especially in the CBD and inner-city areas of Sydney and Melbourne. We expect this to improve later in the year, and we are starting to see the vacancy rate drop in Sydney and Melbourne, so it is getting better! In Covid, I was expecting a lot of my tenants to request a rent reduction, but it was a very small percentage in the end who did – thanks to the major support program from the Government.

Supporting investors to buy and hold

My co-founders, Susanne, Grant and I, face 2021 with a lot of positivity as well. Whilst we also had our challenges in 2020, we have also been very lucky. 2021 also marks the year of Ironfish’s 15th birthday, and with this milestone, we renew our commitment to putting our customers first. Whether this is in being even more selective in our property selection process, how we produce our own property developments and how we invest in Ironfish’s ongoing services.

At Ironfish we believe strongly in a ‘buy and hold’ strategy. We noticed that there were services already available to support an initial purchase but there was a gap in the market for providing service to support the ‘holding’ aspect. We know from experience that staying in the game long-term is the key to success in property investment, so we have invested a lot of resources into this ‘holding’ aspect. This year we have many more people coming on board in Ironfish, with a focus on enhancing the customer experience and expanding the depth of our service further.

We are also excited about other opportunities the year will bring, including some innovation and diversification in our services and investment products, which take into consideration the changing needs of a new generation of investors, and are very excited to share this with our customers in due course.

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