REAL ESTATE: Change is the new norm in market

Bill Quirk.

Newcastle real estate agent Bill Quirk has seen many changes during his 40 years in the industry.

The experienced licensee from Borrelli Quirk Newcastle Real Estate believes it is the city’s incomparable beauty that is to blame for much of its current success.

Observing an overwhelming influx of temporary visitors and new sea-change residents, Mr Quirk says the former steel city is no longer a ‘best-kept secret’.

From his desk within a company that opened its doors to the public in 1960, Mr Quirk was happy to “talk shop” with the Newcastle Weekly about the state of an industry he admits is ever changing.

NW: You said “Change is the new norm and if you’re standing still, you’re moving backwards” in relation to the current Newcastle real estate market. What did you mean by that?

Mr Quirk: History is a living thing, you can’t avoid it. If you don’t take notice of your current environment and adjust yourself accordingly, you and your business may be short-lived. Personally observing Newcastle’s ongoing evolution since the 1950’s has been exponential,  more so in the last 30 years than the previous 217 years. 

From its early convict settlement, coal, timber, shipping, mining, and farming, to becoming a world-recognised hub for education, research, technology, and tourism. They’re all driving a need for accommodation services.       

Recognising this demand for Newcastle real estate stock in advance, and adjusting quickly to build and supply the suitable accommodation, has been a key element in the success of many developers and builders in this region. 

I believe the face of Newcastle will continue to change at a rapid rate as the population expands.

NW: Carrington is one area that people would never have considered prime real estate years ago, and yet now it is one of Newcastle’s most sought-after suburbs. What other suburbs have you watched dramatically change over the years?

Mr Quirk: From its humble convict beginnings, early BHP steelworkers cottages and shanty’s, and a reputation of being a ‘wild place on the waterfront’, Carrington undertook a major residential housing project in the 1990’s, changing its demographic and property value. Prices here have blown out from $75,000 in the 1980’s to now $1,200,000 plus. 

Sale prices are continuing to escalate within a 12-kilometre radius of the city, just look at Mayfield, Waratah, Lambton, Jesmond, Wallsend, Cardiff, Charlestown, Kahibah and Gateshead – they’re all-in demand now due to a lack of supply and price affordability.

NW: In the current pace of the market are we losing personalised service? How has the industry changed?

Mr Quirk: In the 1990’s to obtain your Accredited Real Estate Licence, a student would undertake a three-to-four-year study at either university, TAFE, or an REINSW facility. 

This broad-based curriculum provided detailed platforms in all facets of real estate knowledge.

It was an interactive learning classroom environment with students discussing in detail the topic and the teacher providing real world hands-on knowledge and examples.  On successful completion of this course, you could apply for a personal character reference by a member of the community of recognised standing. 

Currently a student may apply ‘online’ and obtain a real estate certification within 12 months.

The real estate industry is continually changing – the public are becoming much more sophisticated with higher expectations and greater knowledge regarding the industry, as well as an enormous set of resources at their fingertips. 

There is also sadly a tendency for no human interaction or communication. A machine, however, can’t tell you the reality about a particular property – it’s never touched it.  

A little knowledge can be dangerous… information overload doesn’t make for a wise decision.