Southern Cross University researcher hunting for property hunters

Published 20 February 2012

A Southern Cross University researcher believes the breakdown of traditional society has led to a new breed of house-hunter, which will have huge implications for those involved in the property market.

PhD candidate Melanie Thomas, who is also a lecturer at the Southern Cross Business School, is studying the consumer decision-making process surrounding property purchase and she is calling for people currently hunting for a new home to participate in her research.

“As consumers we know that we aren’t buying a property just for the function of providing shelter,” she said.

“If somebody asked us to verbalise what we are looking for in a property we would all struggle. However, when we look at an advert or walk into a property we can instantly write it off as not being what we want despite holding all of our desired functional attributes.

“This is because of the psychological or symbolic attributes we desire, those that allow us to tell the world - this is where I live and this is who I am.”

Ms Thomas said that in the past major life events such as marriage, children and retirement were the driving forces behind property purchase.

“While these events still have a significant impact upon housing purchases, changing consumption patterns have made housing choice much more important,” she suggests.

“The increasing decline in institutions such as traditional family, stable labour markets, stereotypes, gender roles and religious ties has resulted in individuals establishing their identity through different mediums.

“Research has proven that consumers purchase brands to create their identities and I suggest that this increasing flexibility in creating an identity has huge implications for property.”

Ms Thomas believes it is important to understand the decision making processes involved with property purchase.

“Investigating how we make property decisions is important as it is usually the biggest purchase a person will make in their live,” she said.

“We are outlaying a huge amount of money and making a decision in which we rely on limited or no previous experience to guide us.

“Therefore if we can better understand how consumers in general make property decisions, future property purchases can be made with more confidence due to being better informed.

“Additionally, understanding why we make the decisions we do can reduce post purchase blues and doubts that increase the more money and time we have put into the purchase.”

If you are currently in the market for a property and would like to participate in the research please go to https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/propertychoice

Photo: Melanie Thomas.

Media contact: Steve Spinks media officer, Southern Cross University Gold Coast campus, 07 5589 3024 or 0417 288 794.