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Why now’s the time to build your career in real estate.

If you’ve ever considered a career in real estate now could be the time to take the leap. With the Australian population predicted to reach 39.5 million by 2050, the property industry is shifting into a new arena.

Dr Ameeta Jain, a senior lecturer in the Department of Finance in Deakin Business School, says the career opportunities in the property sector are expected to grow substantially due to Australia’s massive population growth.

‘With population growth, demand for housing increases because everyone needs a place to live whether owner-occupied or rental,’ she says. ‘This increases the demand across all areas of property including sales, valuing, and mortgage brokerage and owner corporation management.’

The reach of these changes is vast. ‘With more population, demand for infrastructure increases and this has implications for jobs such as facility managers, retail centre managers, infrastructure development and management.’

The future of real estate

While changes are already underway, it is predicted that property industry opportunities will look different into the future.

Dr Jain says one such example is the boom in short term rentals such as through Airbnb, which ‘has encouraged entrepreneurs to develop properties for short term rental markets,’ she explains. ‘This type of rental requires a different skillset to traditional property management and will impact property management and development needs.’

Another area of change in the property market is the shift towards sustainability. ‘Increased consumer and business awareness of the environmental impact of property has led to increased regulation and standards. This will result in demand for sustainability consultants.’

According to Dr Jain, when it comes to business property, our ecommerce habits have had a ripple effect on the industry. ‘The rise of online shopping creates demand for warehousing developments. One major example of this is US company Amazon opening fulfillment centres in Australia.’

As the uptake of online shopping continues to rise, further changes are expected. ‘Fewer consumers are using nearby retail centres to shop for clothing, IT, games or even groceries. Less customers visiting the centres creates challenges for existing tenants and there has been a trend away from traditional retail stores and towards “experience-based” offerings in shopping centres (e.g. LegoLand in Chadstone). This may mean a different skillset for leasing agents and property managers in malls.’

Dr Jain says the introduction of more sophisticated technology may lead to the automation of certain entry level tasks in the property industry creating a higher skill level for entry-level positions. ‘The low skilled job like telemarketing for promoting property, lodging applications or valuation will be sent offshore or automated.’

With population growth, demand for housing increases because everyone needs a place to live whether owner-occupied or rental.

Dr Ameeta Jain, Department of Finance, Deakin Business School

Opportunities for property professionals

The diversity of career options makes the property industry appealing to pursue. Dr Jain says: ‘careers in property and real estate are varied and vast with opportunities from property development and valuation, through to optimising investment portfolios and leasing.’

This said, property valuation appears to be the most common area of employment for Deakin graduates. ‘Our graduates work in property valuation divisions in the banks as well specialist valuation firms, property advisors. A number of graduates also seek employment with property developers, sustainability consultants, property managers, market research analysts and property advisors.’

With the population increase comes the need for highly skilled property developers. The trend towards urbanisation means property developers who are innovative in their use of space and resources will be in high demand to design and build both residential and commercial real estate.

Many professionals come to real estate for a complete career change or a career shift and these students are often attracted to online study. Dr Jain says, ‘Many students are moving within the property industry and want to get the soft skills to compliment the hard skills they have honed in the industry to date.’

While there is no ideal personality to pursue a real estate career, Dr Jain explains that interpersonal skills are vital. ‘The property industry requires people who have good communication skills and some knowledge of finance. They should be comfortable in talking to their clients, employers and should be generally competitive, able to meet deadlines and address requirements for numerous stakeholders.’

If you are looking for something more than an office job, it’s likely that you’ll appreciate the diversity of roles in the property industry. ‘You are not tied to your desk,’ Dr Jain says. ‘You are required to go out and meet the client, check on different sites and do inspections for valuations. You may find yourself creating value by renovating properties or even developing them.’

The property industry provides a reliable option for a dynamic and high paying career now and into the future.

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