barry johston new president reinsw real estate instute of new south wales
Barry Johnston has been named the new President of the Real Estate Institute of NSW. Image: Supplied, Canva.
  • Barry Johnston leads REINSW as the new President, aiming to elevate industry standards.
  • He shares insights on the resilience of NSW's residential and industrial real estate markets.
  • Johnston outlines strategies to tackle housing crises, supply chain impacts, and rising demand

As the Real Estate Institute of New South Wales (REINSW) ushers in a new leadership era, the organisation remains focused on advancing industry excellence and addressing the challenges facing the state’s real estate market.

The new President of the Real Estate Institute of New South Wales, Barry Johnston, was elected to become the new president in late 2022 and formally took on the role in November 2023, succeeding outgoing President Peter Matthews. Johnston explained that having a year to plan and arrange business affairs before taking on such a responsibility was beneficial in allowing him to carry out the role properly.

“It is quite the commitment, and there is quite a bit of time involved to do this properly, so I was fortunate enough to be able to plan for it.” Johnston described the transition period as smooth and respectful, allowing all parties involved ample opportunity to plan effectively. He summarised the process as a successful succession plan

Looking ahead to what is in store for the Institute and its members, Johnston did not know where to start. There are lots of plans in the pipeline, and Johnston gave credit to, and endorsed, the team at REINSW, who work hard to accomplish all the plans and projects they are working on or have in the pipeline.

“You do not realise how much is involved and how important the team is until you step into the role of President,” Johnston emphasised. “My role,” he continued, “is to add value to our members, their clients, and the community, and we are strong advocates of increasing the level of professionalism in our industry.”

In Johnston’s view, the entry level into the industry is frustratingly low, but they offer good quality training that comes with a price and time commitment, which, according to Johnston, is a good way to improve the quality of professionalism. Johnston explained that they also have lots of forms, templates, a helpline, and good engagement with the government to assist the community. The lobbying component of the Institute’s role is significant, working with the government, training facilities, and members, and aiming to find solutions or alternatives to current affairs.

The New South Wales Market

“In general, our market has been quite resilient, especially in the case of residential and industrial markets” Johnston observed. He explained that industrial rents have increased by 20 to 30%, land values have risen — impacting land taxes — and interest rates have gone up, making it more expensive for landlords and businesses with loans.

Businesses have to absorb these cost increases and are often forced to raise their prices to pass them on to their customers. Interest rates also impact the residential markets, as some landlords face challenges with higher loan repayments, and obtaining a loan or mortgage is more difficult than it was several years ago.

COVID-19 still has an effect, particularly on the office market, where the level of office occupation still has not returned to the same levels pre-COVID due to Working From Home remaining a popular alternative, especially in industries like IT. Some employees have sold their Sydney homes and have moved to regional NSW to continue working from home, no longer needing to carry out their jobs in an office.

The challenges in NSW

Johnston noted that NSW faces similar real estate challenges to Western Australia, including a housing crisis, ongoing effects of COVID-19 on the supply chain, and increased demand for industrial storage space as opposed to retail outlets, where rents are higher. Immigration continues to significantly affect the existing housing crisis, as there are insufficient resources to build enough homes to accommodate the influx of new residents.

All these factors add to the current affairs and challenges the state is currently facing. “We need to show leadership and come up with a range of solutions to these issues quickly, as the expected immigration is strong, and the housing supply is not keeping up with the increased demand,” Johnston concluded.

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