Property Australia

Property’s crystal ball

Karen Jamal Karen Jamal November 23, 2021

The ANZ/Property Council Survey turns 10 this month. What have we learnt from tracking property sentiment for a decade? The Property Council’s national research manager John Nguyen has one crystal clear message.


  Three key takeaways:

  • The ANZ/Property Council Survey is open until 1 December and takes just minutes to complete
  • The pulse check of the industry supports advocacy and policy discussion
  • Participating Property Council members go in the draw for a $250 Visa gift card.


Australia’s property industry is among the world’s most transparent and professional – and underpinning that reputation is good data.

But when the Property Council and ANZ first teamed up, back in 2011, there was no regular pulse check of Australia’s property industry.

When the Property Council, then known as the Building Owners and Managers Association, was founded in 1969, there was little data to understand whether supply matched demand. There were no agreed metrics or methodology to measure building quality. And there was no way to map the hundreds of thousands of jobs whose life’s blood is property.

Australia’s property industry has since spent more than four decades amassing a vast storage of data. The Property Council’s bi-annual Office Market Report, first published in 1985, now covers 5,000-plus buildings in 25 office markets. Annual retail and office benchmark reports provide reliable tools to evaluate asset performance. And the Property Council/MSCI Investment Performance Index is now backed by three decades of data on valuations, operating performances and returns.

241121 - Story 2 - John NguyenNguyen has spent the last 17 years of his career crunching numbers and poring over property data for the Property Council. He’s overseen every single ANZ/Property Council Survey.

“In 2011, we had a lot of hard data but no way to test sentiment – and sentiment is a good leading indicator for the strength of the industry, and the strength of Australia’s economy as a whole,” says Nguyen.

The ANZ/Property Council Survey now has 10 years of data that tracks confidence alongside the peaks and troughs of the economy – from the global financial crisis to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The property industry is incredibly positive. Even after the GFC we didn’t head into negative territory. In fact, the only time we’ve seen negative sentiment was when we were facing a one-in-a-hundred-year pandemic and the whole world went into lockdown. Optimism has since bounced back and is above average.”


ANZ/Property Council Survey: Ten years tracking sentimentConfidence Index 10 years

Nguyen says the industry’s national confidence index – taken most recently while New South Wales and Victoria were in lockdown – sits at 130, when 100 is considered neutral and 123 is the 10-year average.

“Given the pandemic, this is remarkable confidence,” Nguyen adds.

241121 - Story 2 - Felicity EmmettFelicity Emmett, ANZ’s senior economist, says the September ANZ/Property Council Survey results show growth expectations remain significantly above pre-pandemic levels. A net balance of 18 per cent of respondents expect economic growth to lift over the next year.

“Through the extreme ups and downs of the pandemic, the survey has been a great guide to the pulse in both the property sector and the broader economy,” Emmett says.

A decade of “regular, reliable” data that often leads official figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, informs discussion around the industry’s outlook, she says.

“With property such an important driver of the economy, we’re able to glean useful insights into the economic outlook from the survey, as well as implications for policy. Ten years gives us a substantial period of data, showing a range of confidence indicators through various ups and downs, the COVID-19 pandemic, housing booms and busts – all of which help us read the economic tea leaves of the day.”

Nguyen looks forward to each survey’s publication as a “sign of the times”.

“The correlation between property industry sentiment and the short-term economic outlook is very high. So, while there’s no such thing as a crystal ball, it’s the next best thing.”

The ANZ/Property Council Survey is open until 1 December or head over to the Property Council’s Data Room for Australia’s most comprehensive source of economic and property data.