Talk Tuesday Interview

Leadership | 0 comments | by admin

I was honoured to be recently interviewed on Talk Tuesday. I have been a long time supporter of the Talk Tuesday videos so it was terrific to share what sets First National apart from its competitors, what makes a good CEO and favourite aspects of my role at First National Real Estate is. #TalkTuesday.

Watch the full video interview.

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Proud to Support Regional Australia at AgQuip in Gunnedah, NSW

AgQuip | 0 comments | by admin

First National Real Estate has underlined its support of regional Australia this week with network chief executive Ray Ellis attending AgQuip in Gunnedah, the nation’s largest agricultural event where over 3,000 agribusinesses are exhibiting and more than 100,000 visitors are anticipated.

The three-day event runs from Tuesday 21 August to Thursday 23 August and is located on a permanent, purpose built site, eight kilometres west of Gunnedah in New South Wales. It plays a vital role in connecting manufacturers, distributors and suppliers of agricultural and associated products and services.

“First National Real Estate maintains a permanent exhibition shed at the AgQuip site and has done so for more than 20 years. This emphasises the our support of First National’s regional customers, farmers and agribusinesses,” said Mr Ellis.

“As one of the largest regional real estate networks in the country, we engage with rural property owners on everything from clearing sales to broadacre, commercial, lifestyle and residential real estate. Each year, thousands of customers visit our exhibition to discuss everything from buying their first home to investing in property as well as the best methods of sale”.

The network’s annual exhibition incorporates a display of property listings, educational materials and all sorts of giveaways. A photographic competition is also being conducted this year, where customers hashtag their photos at the shed with #fnaqquip18 for a chance to win a $1,000 voucher.

Various local members and their staff are staffing the exhibition, with the network’s ‘Lifestyle Specialists’ and ‘Rural Specialists’ at hand to answer questions, plus one of the network’s Business Growth Managers who has an Associate Diploma of Applied Science in Agronomy.

First National Real Estate recently put its support behind the Buy A Bale initiative nationally, underpinning the nation’s efforts to support farmers affected by drought conditions, but many of the network’s members are also engaged in additional fundraising initiatives.

First National Real Estate has 400 offices across Australia, New Zealand and Vanuatu, making it Australia’s third largest real estate brand and the nation’s largest group of independent agents.It has been awarded Canstar Blue’s 2017/18 ‘Most Satisfied Customers’ award, for a second consecutive year, and is the only brand to have received 5-star ratings from Australian consumers in its research.

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Australia’s Young Achievers Recognised

Uncategorized | 0 comments | by admin

In an era where Millennials are much maligned, First National Real Estate in conjunction with the Seven Network has proudly announced its coast-to-coast sponsorship of the Seven News Young Achiever Awards.

Conducted on a state-by-state basis, the awards highlight and acknowledge the achievements of young Australians, providing motivation, encouragement and role models for young Australians at all levels in their chosen field of endeavour.

Last year, the network’s sponsorship saw Victoria’s 28-year-old Dr Joanna Newton awarded for her work with students and junior scientists to encourage the adoption of genetic tools and technologies in the dairy industry. Queensland’s 19-year-old Keely Johnson was recognised for her work combating childhood cancer through the Golden Octopus Foundation. In Canberra, 27-year-old Emma Byrne received recognition for her work with ACT/NSW Police concerning young people and alcohol, and the Sober Driver Programme. Tasmania’s 28-year-old Grant Milbourne was recognised for his work to support youth wellbeing and mental health through his Insight Mindfulness Education organisation. Finally, In Western Australia, 23-year-old Ciara Duffy’s PhD research concerning honey bee venom and its role in treating triple negative breast cancer saw her win the First National Innovation Award

First National’s chief executive, Ray Ellis says the cooperative network is absolutely committed to encouraging young people achieve as well as build successful careers in the real estate industry.

“Young people need all the support and encouragement they can get to step up, lead and innovate. So this sponsorship aligns perfectly with the network’s own commitment to its under-35s through the “FN Squad”, which just this week has heard from Dr Joanna Newton, Keely Johnson and Tamika Jones of Myndshyft, plus the network’s own young achievers, Sam Scarfo (FN Gawler, SA), Kiah Coupland (FN Springfield, QLD) and Jake Spargo (FN Bonnici & Associates, Vic) at a series of informal events nationally”.

“We welcome Channel 7 joining us in a national sponsorship of the Young Achiever Awards and will continue to drive innovation and leadership skills within the industry” says Mr Ellis.

First National Real Estate has 400 offices across Australia, New Zealand and New Caledonia, making it Australia’s third largest real estate brand and the nation’s largest group of independent agents. It has been awarded Canstar Blue’s 2017/18 ‘Most Satisfied Customers’ award, for a second consecutive year, and is the only brand to have received 5-star ratings from Australian consumers in its research.

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First National Leadership Award Winner Announced

Victorian Young Achiever Awards | 0 comments | by admin

I was recently proud to announce Dr Joanna Newton the winner of the prestigious First National Real Estate Leadership Award in the 2018 Victorian Young Achiever Awards.

Dr Newton won the award from a strong field of nominees and was one of ten category winners announced on Friday 18th of May at Flemington – The Event Centre. Melina Saris, reporter and weekend weather presenter on 7 NEWS hosted the awards.

Over 600 guests were in attendance at the Gala event, including official guest Jenny Mikakos MP, Minister for Families & Children, Minister for Youth Affairs, to celebrate the State’s high achievers and community contributors.

Dr Joanna Newton, 28 of Northcote, is fostering change in the Australian dairy industry’s adoption of genetic tools and technologies. An advocate for careers in STEM and agriculture, Joanna mentors students and junior scientists, inspiring their pursuit of agricultural journeys. She won the 2017 Dairy Research Foundation Symposium’s Emerging Scientists Award, and an Endeavour Research Fellowship from the Australian Government. She has spoken at international conferences and has helped move an international agricultural climate change motion.

Winners each received $1,000, a $1,000 Bartercard account, and a magnificent trophy. 
 The awards night was the culmination of a tremendously successful year with hundreds of nominations received from across Victoria.

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First National Real Estate Leadership Awards 2018

First National Real Estate Leadership Award | 0 comments | by admin

Last Friday and Saturday nights, I had the pleasure of handing over the First National Real Estate Leadership Award to two fine young Australians participating in the Young Achiever Awards.

Emma Byrne received the NSW / ACT award, and Grant Milbourne the Tasmanian award.

Both young achievers have made major contributions to their communities and by recognising the benefits of their positive outlooks, First National Real Estate hopes to encourage and motivate other young people to step forward and do something different in their communities.

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A Message from Ray Ellis

Real Estate Institute of Australia | 0 comments | by admin

A Message from the Chief Executive

Suggestions that negative gearing is a perk for the rich are misguided and, if eliminated in the next budget, the most vulnerable in our communities could soon see unaffordable rental prices.

The Real Estate Institute of Australia is right to urge the Government to retain negative gearing and the capital gains tax discount because it helps maintain the supply of rental properties.

The great Australian dream is to own your own home and it is important we remember just about every Australian begins his or her journey to property ownership as a tenant in a rental property.

Australia has one of the fastest growing populations in the OECD so keeping rents affordable depends entirely on maintaining an adequate supply of rental properties. This can only be done if Australians continue invest in properties they are prepared to rent to others. The main thing that keeps that attractive is
negative gearing.

Current taxation arrangements offer Australians the opportunity to invest in real estate as a way of saving for independence in retirement. However, with the average property investor owning just one rental property and having an income no higher than $80,000, suggestions that the rich are exploiting negative gearing are an exaggeration.

If negative gearing were removed in an environment of the lowest interest rates since the 1950s, Australians would be unlikely to continue to invest in rental properties at current rates. They would seek better returns elsewhere and, with population growth near record highs, the supply of rental proper ties would fall short of demand, thereby forcing up rents.

This would place unacceptable pressure on the most vulnerable citizens in our community. It would also lengthen the amount of time it takes for first home buyers who are renting to save a deposit to buy their first home.

Currently, the rate at which rents are rising is slowing down. In fact, rents had an annual growth rate averaging 1.8 per cent in 2014, which means they were rising more slowly than inflation in 2014. If negative gearing were dropped, that situation could change rapidly.

Negative gearing plays a vital role in balancing supply against the demand for rental properties and this helps keep housing affordable for everybody. It is incumbent upon our industry to explain the benefits of negative gearing to Australian consumers at every opportunity.

Ray Ellis
Chief Executive
First National Real Estate

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Forced Reverse Mortgages Not Fair

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Forced Reverse Mortgages Threaten Australia’s Social Fabric

A proposal to force pensioners into a national reverse mortgage scheme threatens to fundamentally change Australia’s social fabric and the relationship we have with the family home, potentially also leading to a collapse in house prices.

To solve the problem of funding retirement pensions into the future, the Centre for Independent Studies has proposed Government incorporate the family home in a pension assets test and legislate for a default national reverse mortgage scheme, the income from which would be counted in the income test.

Millions of Australians have worked hard to achieve home ownership. In fact, over 80 per cent of retirees own their own home and the vast majority have paid off their mortgage.

Along the way, these same retirees have paid income tax as well as significant amounts of Stamp Duty on property purchases, thereby helping Government fund community infrastructure and services that benefit everyone. Their reward is the security of being unencumbered in retirement and having an asset to leave their children.

This proposal could see equity in family homes hollowed out over time, so that there’s little or nothing left for children to inherit, making it even harder for young people to get a foot on the property ladder and own their own home.

Some have likened the proposal to ‘strip mining’ the young in order to solve a budgetary problem. Concerns have also been raised about reverse mortgages rendering an increasing number of illness or dementia-affected retirees unable to afford a nursing home, when it is most needed.

Ultimately, one has to ask what the incentive will be for young people to buy their own home and aim for financial independence, if Government then proposes to take that away in retirement.

There’s also the question of who will have the money to buy a house if there is not some form of inter-generational wealth accumulation within families. If average Australians cannot afford to buy a home, a collapse in property values could follow, bringing with it a massive, long-term, negative impact on the economy and the end of the ethos of a fair go.

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First National Real Estate returns to Queenstown

First National Real Estate Conference | 0 comments | by admin

It was with great delight that First National Real Estate returned to Queenstown with over 370 real estate agents for its annual convention in May. With over 400 offices throughout Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific, First National is celebrating 30 years in New Zealand this year.

It was terrific to have John Blackman join us as Master of Ceremonies. 

Our membership thoroughly enjoyed Queenstown in 2009 so it was clearly the ideal location to celebrate our network’s 30th anniversary of providing real estate services in New Zealand.

Befitting the 100th anniversary of the ANZAC alliance, the conference opened with a keynote speech from Australian Victoria Cross recipient, Mark Donaldson, who will share insight into Australian Army operations in East Timor, Iraq and Afghanistan.

I am proud to announce the new national website – http// which introduces advice about every stage of life’s journey in real estate.

We are the only real estate network in New Zealand that shares expertise about renting, buying your first home, investing, relocating, upsizing, downsizing and retiring. There’s a wealth of other information available so I encourage all Kiwis to visit our website and experience the First National difference.

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Donating $31,000 towards a cure for Motor Neurone Disease.

Donations | 0 comments | by admin

I was proud to be able to participate in First National Real Estate’s donation of $31,000 towards Motor Neurone Disease research. This is a disease close to our membership of real estate agents and, on behalf of my team, I ask you to consider donating to eliminate this disease. Watch the TV video here.

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Factors affecting Australian real estate affordability

Australian Bureau of Statistics | 0 comments | by admin

First National Real Estate chief executive Ray Ellis says claims of a looming ‘housing market bloodbath’ in the Parliamentary submission of two economists are overly technical and fail to appreciate the realities of Australian Real Estate, where the bulk of our population wants to live in a fraction of available space, and where home ownership is deeply embedded in the national psyche.

‘The submission suggests that house prices must fall to once again reflect economic fundamentals. However, it depends entirely on what fundamentals you consider and with all the talk of affordability issues in the media, it’s easy  for consumers to be blinded to the truths that underpin Australian real estate’ said Mr Ellis.

Economists generally measure affordability using a comparison of middle-market house prices against average incomes, as measured by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). Based on average household incomes of $75,000   to $85,000, that makes a house in Sydney about 9.7 times average income; a house in Melbourne about 7.3 times income, and a house in Brisbane about 6 times average income.

‘The problem with the ABS income figures is that they disguise the real picture. They include a range of people not actually in the housing market and research from Barclays argues average household incomes are actually significantly higher in Australia – in the region of $122,000’ said Mr Ellis.

‘This explains why many Australians can afford homes in the region of $650,000 to $800,000 on loan to value ratios of 70 per cent. Also, 10 to 15 years ago, ABS statistics indicated only 250,000 households earned over $156,000 per annum. That figure has now increased to more than a million Australian households and the number of households earning in excess of $260,000 has tripled.’

By contrast, housing stocks in fashionable capital city areas have not increased by anywhere near that magnitude and, when people don’t want to consider suburbs where homes are cheaper, the impression is created that housing is unaffordable. Yet, throughout Australia’s suburbs and regions there are many affordable alternatives available.

‘Our local and Federal Governments need to maintain focus on much needed public transport infrastructure that facilitates easy access to employment centres, release more land for , and consider incentives that help people relocate to regional centres where businesses are struggling to find talented employees’ said Mr Ellis.

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