Ten years ago… Melbourne, Victoria… A pivot point in Australian property

In 2007 housing loan approvals were on the up and everyone’s focus was on traditional greenfield land development in the Casey-Cardinia corridor – delivering the ‘suburban dream’ to the masses. About 70% of new dwellings at this time were on the fringe and congestion was only an issue Sydneysiders had.

In the city we started to experiment with landmark towers such as Eureka and YVE as the post Commonwealth Games multicultural “new” Melbourne was beginning to take shape.  Happy days.

As winter struck two key announcements hit the world; the Apple iPhone was released and US lenders began the credit squeeze.  It is interesting now to reflect on the impact this would have. We all heard the leading economists telling us interesting theories of how Globalisation and Technology would fundamentally change the world, but for many of us, you couldn’t really relate to it until this point.

Apple iPhone

The property sector would never be the same as smartphones made us mobile and the GFC made us work harder to find opportunities.  Right then, technology made its biggest in-roads into the consulting world.  Geographic Information Systems, data exchange and communication changed.

All of a sudden, visibility of Australia’s economic geographies began to expand beyond a series of local entrepreneurs to strategic network planning and asset optimisation.  I lived this for a period during my time at Coles Group/ Kmart, however for the most part, the broader property asset groups were unaware of this approach.

Battling through 2008, the excitement of the New Eastlink freeway being completed and start of the M1 upgrade were overshadowed by significant drops on housing prices and lending.  To rub some salt in the wound, 2009 saw some of the worst bushfires in Melbourne’s history.

In 2010 however (on Melbourne’s 175th Birthday), the market started its push up.. and up.. and up…  Approvals for residential building started rising as higher density living began to capture our imagination.  At MacroPlan, client enquiry began to centre on new sectors such as new retailing concepts, international students, vertical retirement and mixed use concepts. The property sector was innovating and so too was MacroPlan.

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In March 2012, we announced that two of the country’s most senior property economists, Mr Brian Haratsis and Mr Tony Dimasi, joined forces. I’m sure many of you would have run into these icons through your careers.  More fundamentally, at a business level, this saw the tactical property smarts of MacroPlan linked with the strategy and analytics team of a data rich geographic platform.

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With urban renewal a strong focus in Melbourne, a deep understanding of economics and planning are critical to creating value for our clients and de-risking their project outcomes.  The way these disciplines are applied and integrated with technology and other ‘smarts’ are fundamental to our success and longevity.

MacroPlan’s client base continues to grow, and with it, our footprint of offices expanded.  We are the leading organisation nationally in this field (biased opinion I now).  We attract the best personnel from around the country based on our investment in technology and data. This has allowed us to become one of the greatest IP repositories in the country.

Today in my role as the National Manager of BD & Advisory, I’m assisting clients more than ever with improving overall business systems.  MacroPlan in some ways is seen as a ‘shot of nitrous’ to site identification issues, urban renewal projects, research partnerships, etc.  Our capability statement that once only read Economics and Planning, now reads Advisory and Research.  Our ‘tools of the trade’ are not unlike a Tech company.

From these detailed proprietary data sets and systems, MacroPlan’s forecasting and sectoral understanding is best practice.  It allows us to advise in new and emerging areas across the Australian economy and identify opportunities within the property space. The skill in planning is about navigating through a complex environment of controls, change and influence. Whilst the economics is about demystifying and unpacking the key elements driving investment, socio-economic and demographic change.

So what does the future hold for our beloved city of Melbourne? 

First and foremost we see it remaining the fastest growing city in Australia, powered by a new set of drivers including:

  • International tourism and events
  • Retail
  • International education
  • New National Economic Clusters
  • World’s best practice health precincts
  • Retirement and aged care
  • Professional scientific and technical services.

As well as a raft of new infrastructure….

My parting note for those interested, Infrastructure Victoria (IV) have just released the options for State’s 30-year infrastructure strategy (http://yoursay.infrastructurevictoria.com.au/all-things-considered).  Definitely an interesting read with plenty of opportunities emerging….

To find out more about your next opportunity in Melbourne and how MacroPlan can assist you – please contact Joel:

About the author:

Joel Taylor is MacroPlan’s Natonal Manager – Business Development.

Joel re-joined MacroPlan in 2012 following five years in high profile national advisory roles with Wesfarmers (with both Kmart and the Coles Group) where he undertook store network planning and site identification.  Prior to his stint with Wesfarmers, Joel managed MacroPlan’s National Property Research Team where he advised on major projects, urban renewal initiatives and transit orientated development. This broad base allows Joel particular specialisation and understanding of mixed use concepts.

The swift progression to Senior Management is due to a combination of hard work and a commitment to achieving maximum results – transferring this extensive market knowledge to our national client base is now his focus.

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