Are property investors the victims of Google?

Several years ago, I attended a convention in the USA. I learnt so much from so many esteemed speakers. In one of the sessions, the speaker opened with the following: “do you know where the best place to hide a body is?” This statement was completely out of context, and most in the room felt slightly uncomfortable. The speaker soon added: “on the second page of a google search!”

The speaker clearly wanted to highlight the need for businesses to have a strong web presence as to ensure a high search ranking on google. Many businesses have heeded this advice and have focused on ‘key words’, ‘search engine optimisation’ and ‘Algorithms’ to ensure they do not end up on the second page.

However, teacher colleagues tell me that many of their students’ work is too narrow in research, and they believe this is because students are conditioned to research highly specific and highly relevant words related to the subject in question.

One of my teacher colleagues adds: “we need to broaden our research so that we broaden our knowledge base. If you want to know more about the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, then start your research on just ‘human rights’; start broad and then get more specific.”

How does this relate to property investment? Simple, broad market research, when coupled with specific market research will create a broader knowledge base and better-informed acquisitions and disposals. For your next acquisition or disposal don’t just know median values and vacancy rates, know the following:

  • The unemployment rate and levels of job and wage growth.
  • Levels of consumer and business confidence.
  • Interest rates.
  • Dwelling approvals.

Factors that increase property demand typically include a low unemployment rate, positive job and wage growth, high levels of consumer confidence, low interest rates and low levels of stock. Conversely property demand typically decreases with a high unemployment rate, low or stagnate job and wage growth, low levels of consumer confidence, high interest rates and an oversupply of available property.

By broadening your research base, you are positioned to make more astute portfolio decisions.