Cath Hart was appointed RIEWA CEO in February this year. Image: Canva, REIWA.
  • Commenced role in May this year
  • Issues the industry faces includes how rising interest rates
  • Revitalising the CBD is also on the agenda

The Real Estate Institute of Western Australia (REIWA) is the state’s peak body for the real estate profession. The member-based organisation represents over 1,100 agencies and more than 90 per cent of operating real estate agents in WA.

In February this year, REIWA appointed Cath Hart as the new CEO following the retirement of Neville Pozzi. Mr Pozzi retired after 45 years at the Institute and spent the last ten years as CEO of REIWA. Ms Hart commenced her role on 2 May, and she looked fondly back at that time.

“I received such a wonderful, warm, welcome from the industry, and my LinkedIn melted down with messages and new connection requests.”

Ms Hart described the status quo as an “issues-rich environment.” She believed that during these moments, advocacy bodies such as REIWA are most needed, as the institute can provide information to their members and industry, and explain what it means when there is a change of government, how the market will adapt to higher interest rates and other current matters.

“There is never a dull moment when we go through these developments at an institute like REIWA.”

In the short term, she wants to focus on current issues like how rising interest rates will affect West Australians, and review the Residential Tenancies Act 1987 and the Commercial Tenancy (Retail Shops) Agreements Act 1985.

“We are the most affordable state in Australia. The interest rate increases will have a moderated effect here. There are always the classic market reactions where WA reacts the opposite way compared to the markets over east.”

Ms Hart explained that it is essential for Government to understand that we need investors in the market to increase the availability of rental homes, avoiding further rental price hikes resulting from a severely undersupplied market.

Care should also be taken to not over-regulate, potentially discouraging would-be investors.

The Property Tribune contributor Wouter Jellema interviewed Cath Hart, CEO of REIWA earlier this month. Image: Wouter Jellema.

In the longer term, one of the key areas Ms Hart wanted to address was commercial agencies, particularly revitalising the CBD and helping drive footfall to city tenancies that have been hit hard by Covid.

Another key area is the volume of transactions, with Ms Hart taking a much more holistic view of how to tackle the critical issue, including setting clear population targets.

“We need to make WA the best place to live and do business in the world, so we want to be part of the conversation around how we attract people to come here and for businesses to base themselves here. This participation is a pivotal role for the institute to play.”

Finally, Ms Hart recounted the many warm invitations extended to her as she commenced her role with REIWA when encouraging REIWA members and real estate professionals to continue keeping her abreast of issues and challenges within the West Australian real estate industry.

An essential part of Ms Hart’s role involves having an ear to the ground and voicing real estate concerns, being the interface between industry and government.

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