#2 Shallow markets can dry up quickly

17 May 2016

I’m not a fisherman but even I can tell that a dried up lake is unlikely to provide a catch of the day. The keen fisherman would say that you need to head out into deep water but still novices end up fishing in the popular spots only to come home with an empty bucket. Real estate investors can also fall into the trap of following other investors into popular new products, markets or sectors. This can be a dangerous strategy if the investor doesn’t have a particular capability or competitive advantage in those markets or if the investment doesn’t have alternative exit options. Investors following this strategy can and have often come home with an empty bucket. Great examples of these themed investments would be sea / tree change, tourism based investments, or even particular product types like micro apartments, fonzy flats or even ultra luxury housing / apartments. These all sound great while the research supports their continued demand, however the danger emerges when the market to trade your asset dries up and you want your money back. The depth of the market is the key issue and whether the investment is in a capital city or a regional location, there can always be too much of a good thing. Products which appeal to the mass market have always proven themselves to be more resilient in tough times and the same can be said for property investments. Property assets which appeal to the average investor / buyer / occupier will more likely be able to be traded when times are tough than those that appeal to a narrow market. This is why it is extremely important to first consider the depth of market for the end product, including the style and configuration of each salable component and whether there is likely to be a local deep market to trade out of your investment if required. As the saying goes “there’s more fish in deep water”.