Following two recent posts looking at house-hunting circa 1991, lets fast forward to 2017. In 1991 some home loan interest rates peaked around 17%, today we’re sitting much lower at around 4%. This illustrates the stark contrast of how the housing market has changed over the last 25 years. House-hunting and marketing in 2017 is very different from 1991.

Technology, changing demographics, population growth, different lifestyle choices and the rise of home renovation shows are some of the complex factors that influence today’s buyers. It’s a fast-paced, super-charged market, where consumers are smarter and better informed.

Marketing is one area that’s unrecognisable from 1991 and I wanted to take a closer look at why.

Today there’s instant access to an endless diet of information right at our fingertips and mainly on our smartphones, and this is a huge influence. Technology has completely changed all forms of advertising and promotion and the apartment market has been transformed. At times buyers walk around an apartment or sales centre paying more attention to their mobile phone than the sales team.

While not a big consideration back in 1991, buying off-the-plan is now a key marketing platform. The evolution of modern and progressive Strata Title legislation has played a big part in that.

Interestingly, in 1961 the first strata-titled building in the world was 18 apartments in Burwood. Today there are more than 270,000 strata schemes Australia wide and apartment living is now common place and increasingly the preferred choice of many buyers.

And marketing has played a major role in the wider acceptance of apartment living often propelled by technology.

Blink and You’ve Missed It

In 1991 if you were looking for a new home you might have collected newspaper clippings, instant photographs and inspected 20-50 properties.

Today real estate marketing is powered by the internet, apps, videos, virtual reality and augmented reality and social media, creating an unimaginable and fast-paced flow of hopefully quality information.

The following infographic shows some key events and many have marked a U-turn in how the property market operates:

Marketing Dynamics

Combine these events and it’s easy to see why marketing is now such a dynamic task, which have completely transformed the way we communicate, and the impact on property marketing has been massive.

Consumers can now be reached on a personal level, instantly, and thanks to an array of analytical information, we know more than we ever have about consumers, and about each other. But consumers also know a lot about us, and they know the ins and outs of the market and about where they wish to live.

This has created new challenges. Its’ not so much a question of when will newspapers cease to be published or when will desktop computers disappear, it’s more a question of marketing well in such a fast-paced and supercharged environment that is always evolving.

Look at your mobile phone or your email inbox and it’s very likely full, but with a single click the message is gone. And that’s the case no matter how brilliant the creative or compelling the content.

The key message is that we must value and build the quality of our marketing, so that once we connect with buyers we facilitate a sale. Email marketing enables us to reach specific demographics but to achieve results the content must be current and relevant.

The Rise of Community

Turning aside from technology and marketing, one of the biggest changes in the housing market in 2017, might not be so much related to where people live, supply and demand, interest rates, or the use of technology but more about community.

It’s a trend that is driven by big demographic changes including: the retirement of the baby-boomers, the rise in single-person households, strong immigration and a greater concentration of people into cities.

As we live in more tightly packed suburbs, where personal space comes at a premium, we are all making much greater use of community space. That can be a local park, a 24-hour gym, library or one of an ocean of coffee shops and cafes.

The same pressures are also reshaping shopping centres into places where you might be happy to hangout, share a meal, see a movie or visit a day-spa. Buyers are now increasingly attracted to mixed-use projects with a bunch of facilities and services in one location.

In 2017, more than ever, we have a vast choice of technology to assist buyers and fuel the marketing effort, and that’s a massive shift from 1991. We are also marketing and developing more than single-family homes and house-hunting in 2017 thus has changed into community-hunting.

Community grows from the convergence of a more creative and accessible city with modern infrastructure into places that buyers desire, and it’s often in the form of mixed-use developments.