New Real Estate Institute of Queensland (REIQ) Sunshine Coast zone chairman, Matt Diesel, loves a challenge. But when he was appointed to the position in December 2019, he wasn’t expecting to tackle the impacts of a global pandemic. Fortunately, the real estate industry has adapted and thrived to the new norm.
My Weekly Preview spoke with Mr Diesel about his new role, the current state of the Sunshine Coast property market, and what the future may hold.
Since taking on this role as REIQ Sunshine Coast zone chairman, what are some of the main challenges you’ve faced?
Well this year is like nothing else. I certainly could not have envisioned what was going to roll out this year. It has been a tumultuous time for the industry as a whole with quite a bit of uncertainty, especially when we were first hearing about COVID-19 with trying to predict what the best course of action would be to keep our industry and clients safe, as well as how to adopt new best practices moving forward. The REIQ as a whole has been a rock at this time, giving sound advice and updates to all of its members.
What are some of the main impacts (good and bad) of COVID-19 on the Coast property market?
The main impacts have been in the way agents and agencies have had to adopt new safe work practices to look after their clients and staff during this time, which at times were changing on a daily basis.
The good news is that property sales and rental demand has been very high through this time, so there has been no downturn, keeping our industry gainfully employed.
With the impacts of social distancing restrictions on auctions and open homes, are you still seeing results, despite these challenges?
Property stock levels are at all-time lows and the real estate industry is purely supply and demand. Demand is as good as ever, which is great news for sellers and landlords. The real challenge moving forward this year is keeping up stock levels to cope with current demand levels both from the rental and sales side.
With an increase in home offices and remote learning, are we seeing more ‘out of towners’ shift to the Coast to work and live?
We are have seen a major shift in the workplace this year and in particular from our southern cousins. With the traditional workplace as we knew it disbanding, employers are now seeing that new models are emerging where they do not need to have a massive office space and expensive overheads. Instead, this year we have been made to think outside the box and put new work procedures in place.
Employees have been given KPIs to meet and as long as they have good internet connections, they can work from wherever they like, which is a massive paradigm shift. Since the start of COVID, the Sunshine Coast with all of the infrastructure currently underway or being recently completed, i.e. the airport, high speed internet capability and so on, has really come into focus to allow employees to leave the big smoke and continue their employment, while enjoy living in such a special part of the world.
Why do you choose the Sunshine Coast to raise your children?
Simple: it’s all about lifestyle, climate, security and friendly people. I have had the privilege of travelling and working all over the world and there is only one place I want to raise my family and that’s the Sunshine Coast. We are certainly very lucky to be able to live and enjoy all this region has to offer.
What parts of the Sunshine Coast do you wish to keep for your children? What elements of the Coast would you like to see grow or develop for future generations?
I would love to see the all the greenbelts, larger block sizes and pristine waterways we have continue for our children and their children to enjoy.
We will certainly need to continue to grow our region for future growth, however careful strategic planning on how to best incorporate this will be essential to keeping our region’s charm.