Home' API Magazine : January 2014 Contents Eynas Brodie
roperty prices double every seven
to 10 years.”
“Past behaviour is an indicator of
“When Sydney sneezes, other capital
cities catch a cold.”
These are all common beliefs in the
property market. Indeed, many of our
readers will have heard them often
enough that they’ve come to accept them
as gospel truth.
Well, travelling researcher and API
columnist John Lindeman doesn’t believe
any of them.
The property market is a complex beast
and you can’t generalise about it, he says.
So how does John, who studies
the market for a living, gain a better
understanding of property, how it
performs as an investment and where
future growth opportunities are
emerging? As API discovers, it’s his
fascination with the nature of property
that holds the key.
Tell us who John Lindeman is
and describe your involvement
I’m a housing market researcher,
commentator and author, and my
involvement with property spans over
10 years’ professional research with
major data providers, as well as 40 years’
personal housing investment experience.
What’s your working background?
After completing post grad studies in
marketing and statistics in 1985, I held
senior management positions with
organisations such as Telstra and the
Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) and
since 2010 have been a director of my
own company, Property Power Partners.
Not a day goes by when John Lindeman doesn’t think about the housing market.
As a property analyst, it’s his job. As an active investor, it’s personal.
API JANUARY 2014
JANUARY 2014 API
Where were you born and where do
you live now?
I was born in Holland and arrived here
at the age of two. This meant I learnt
Dutch inside the home and English
everywhere else, switching from one to
the other without realising the difference.
Although I grew up in Sydney, I moved
to Melbourne for 15 years from 1973 to
1988 and now live in Sydney’s inner west,
Tell us about your family.
a daughter Alice who is 31, but no
What was the first investment
property you purchased?
Just after I moved from Sydney to
Melbourne we bought a Victorian terrace
in Hawthorn. The house had its original
iron lacework verandah, open fireplaces
and slate tile roof, but inner suburban
terraces hadn’t reached the level of
popularity in Melbourne that they had in
Sydney, so we bought it for a song – only
$20,000 in 1973. We then fully renovated
and restored the house while living in the
next street. We sold it four years later for
double what we paid. It’s now worth more
than $1 million. That seems like a big
price hike, but if you average the growth
over all those years it comes to nine
per cent per annum, which is typical of
Melbourne’s housing market performance
during that time.
What’s the worst property mistake
you’ve ever made and why?
That would be the very next house we
bought in Mentone (Melbourne) for
$40,000 in 1977 and renovated, only to
sell it for the same price four years later.
It left us with a substantial real loss. I
had no idea how the market worked and
didn’t realise that housing prices had
actually fallen. It was this experience that
started me on a quest to discover how
the housing market worked and how
investors could benefit.
What’s the best property investment
you’ve ever made and why?
After we moved back to Sydney I bought a
house in Dee Why. It had been converted
into four illegal flats with four toilets,
bathrooms and entrances. I restored the
house to its original condition, making
several substantial improvements along
the way. It was an incredible house and
the return was fantastic.
As a property researcher, you
understand the market better than
most. What’s your take on current
The media talks up a housing market
boom one minute and then warns of an
imminent crash the next, but the housing
market is behaving just as it always has.
Housing prices move slowly upwards,
then they stagnate for some years and
may even fall for a year or two. Cities with
housing shortages such as Sydney and
Perth are experiencing price rises because
banks are willing to lend and interest
rates are low. Markets in balance, such as
Melbourne and Brisbane, will experience
less substantial price rises over the next
year, but when there’s a surplus such
as in Adelaide or Tasmania, there’s less
pressure on prices or rents to rise.
How is this knowledge affecting the
way you invest?
It doesn’t. Investors don’t buy a whole city
so these sorts of generalisations can’t help
us to locate the best investments. There
are always suburbs in any market that
THE INTERVIEW // JOHN LINDEMAN
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