Enzo Raimondo was kind enough to conduct a far-reaching chat with Urban Melbourne recently. Currently the Chief Executive Officer of view.com.au, Enzo's previous positions included a stint at Real Estate Institute of South Australia and 16 years as the Chief Executive of the Real Estate Institute of Victoria.
With this wealth of experience under his belt, Enzo Raimondo's knowledge of the hot topic that is rental affordability is equal to any in the market.
The chat began with questions regarding the overall state of Melbourne's apartment market, and consequently the state of the local rental market. Enzo explains the overall rental vacancy is hovering between 2.2% and 2.5%, thus from a rental perspective the overall market is understandably tight.
Certain pockets of the CBD and Southbank though have seen higher numbers in terms of apartment completions in recent years, which is a positive for rental affordability albeit in isolated areas.
In terms of prevailing trends within in the rental market, Enzo notes that the current rental market is flush with people who rent based upon lifestyle decisions. This demographic shift sees predominantly younger renters seeking proximity to amenities and employment options, as opposed to sourcing the cheapest possible rental.
Another non-price related factor influencing the rental market is Melbourne's worsening commute times, and how this impedes lifestyle choices.
It's this scarcity of time and how individuals choose to utilise their limited time, coupled with the scarcity of land and higher dwelling prices which Enzo notes has resulted in higher proportion of Melbourne's population seeking a long-term rental-based solution.
With Melbourne coming off the peak of its largest ever apartment boom and vacancies hovering above 2%, Enzo Raimondo notes the need to address the supply issue longer term. So too does the state government by way of recently introducing the (Long-term Tenancy Agreements) Bill 2017 to Parliament.
Enzo Raimondo applauds the move which in part seeks to facilitate longer-term rental agreements for tenants, providing certainty beyond a standard 12 month period. Having taken decades to evolve to this point, the bill seeks to equalise the relationship between tenant and landlord, and provide certainty for both parties over a longer period of time.
Enzo Raimondo also places pets on the agenda as a looming issue, given that allowances are generally not in rental agreements. This is particularly more prevalent in inner city apartments blocks which are a far cry from the suburban blocks with backyards that renters with dogs, in particular, are drawn to.
Quizzed on how scaled back foreign investment may mould the rental market, Enzo believes that this will only be a short term influence. Whilst foreign purchasers may dip, Enzo explains that a transitioning market will invariably pick up the slack in terms of purchasing Melbourne investment properties (read: added local rental stock), identifying expats from London and Hong Kong as likely sources in picking up the slack.
This, in turn, ties in with Urban Melbourne's question regarding the glut of vacant apartments across inner Melbourne, as has been reported in recent months.
Citing the low vacancy rate, Enzo Raimondo believes this is, for the most part, a furphy. He does caution though that a proportion of Asian-based buyers in recent years have purchased apartments for their children, whether they are studying in Melbourne and/or living here temporarily, and that this scenario can lead to the perception of masses of empty apartments.
Overall though Enzo Raimondo is not concerned about the perception or future prospect of swathes of empty apartments throughout inner Melbourne, citing Melbourne and Sydney as Australia's international destinations where investors will always be drawn to.
On Enzo Raimondo's relatively new position as CEO of view.com.au, he explains he is now at the helm of one of the nation's most astute website capable of delivering viewers real time property information.
The re-birthed view.com.au is designed to empower the consumer in their property choices, closing the data gap between the end user (the consumer) and agents. Enzo explains view.com.au empowers those who are on the hunt for a property, and the website's booming growth numbers underline this point.