Gis - The Game Changer In The Property World

 Gis - The Game Changer In The Property World

Property investment is very much a numbers game. That is something I learned very early on in my career, when I spent the bulk of time buried in Excel spreadsheets! If you think about the decisions made throughout the investment life cycle, they all involve some level of quantitative analysis.

Thankfully, Australia is one of the most transparent real estate markets in the world. It is one of the key factors that drives cross-border investment in our country, and it is a great complement to our diverse economy, growing population and positive market fundamentals. The challenge this transparency presents for those of us in the investment universe, however, is the sheer amount of data we handle every day. Sales data, leasing data, vacancy, land supply, yields, capital values, the list goes on. And most of the time, this data comes to us in different forms from different sources and it’s almost impossible to keep track of it all. That was until GIS came along.

GIS is a spatial system that creates, manages, analyses and maps all types of data. It connects data to a map, integrating location data (where things are) with all types of descriptive information (what things are like there). It is quite literally a game changer for anyone in the property world – and most other industries for that matter. The chances are you’ve seen and interacted with one before – it’s not new technology, just rapidly evolving.

I first came across the genius that is the Geographic Information System when I was working in agency at Colliers. I had a market of focus that was quite complex from a planning perspective – an expansive industrial precinct that was largely rezoned for higher 

and better uses (although we may have to rethink that terminology now that logistics is at the top of the pecking order!). Anyone that has had experience with urban renewal precincts is familiar with the challenges of 2D framework plans with multiple layers of controls that overlap and intersect and, quite frankly, seem almost intended to confuse anyone that isn’t a planner themselves. 

With the help of some very talented people in the consulting team at Colliers, we digitised our own version of the framework plan for Fishermans Bend and instantly, we had an interactive mapping tool for the precinct that we could use to engage with and advise our clients. In an instant, you could search for site and see its proposed density, height, encumbrances such as public open space and new road reserves. Then we overlayed transactional data, ownership, occupiers, vacancy and all of that combined tells a very powerful story regardless of your audience.

More recently in my role at Hines, I’ve had the benefit of seeing a whole new level of GIS mapping through the very talented team at SA1 Property. They have created a platform for industrial property in Australia that is a whole new level of market intelligence. It captures industrial market and property data, combines and analyses it with transport and demographic data to give its users a holistic view, in real time – all in one interactive, visual platform. And its customisable! For us at Hines, it has been instrumental in helping us to formulate our investment strategy for logistics assets in Australia. Whilst nothing will ever replace the “touch and feel” approach to acquisitions (in my humble opinion), as the sector and its stakeholders become more and more sophisticated, a data driven approach to supporting your investment thesis is what all market leaders must adopt to stay in front.

With SA1 I can search for a property we are considering acquiring and turn on layers that show me – which other institutional investors own property around it, who the major occupiers are, which properties have sold and for what price, what the average market rent is in the area. I can also see exactly how far it is from major supporting infrastructure, how many households can be reached within a 30- and 60-minute drive time and so much more. I would need much more than a page in this magazine to explain all of the features of this life changing platform.

I encourage anyone with an interest in industrial property, that hasn’t seen the SA1 Property platform in full flight to reach out to the team for a demonstration. And if industrial property is not your thing, investigate how GIS can help you solve your real-world real estate problems. I guarantee it will help you uncover meaning and insights from whatever data it is that you’re analysing.

Weekly Brief

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