THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 18: The real estate industry is quietly confident that today’s extraordinary Facebook ban on publishing any Australian news won’t affect its strong marketplace.
In fact, the restrictions could even strengthen an industry which, along with every other business and person across the country, is learning survival lessons the hard way under COVID-19’s snap lockdowns, social distancing requirements, and face masks.
The global social media giant’s ban hasn’t only affected news sites with real estate agencies across the country, as well as the Real Estate Institute of Australia (REIA), waking this morning to discover their pages were empty.
Despite the REIA’s Facebook page being shut down, CEO Adrian Kelly is promoting a “c’est la vie” attitude about the issue.
“Given the strengths of the current marketplace around the country, potential purchasers will go where they know they can find properties for sale – and if that’s not on Facebook, then so be it,” Adrian says.
“It will be interesting to see how it plays out but … it’s certainly not the end of the world.”
He adds that COVID-19’s enforced lockdowns – with Victoria emerging from its third such event today in a tough double whammy drama – proved agents were very good at swiftly adapting to technology changes.
“Just like auctions going straight online during lockdown, real estate agents will move to other platforms where they can market themselves and their properties,” Adrian says.
“Facebook is only one medium that agents use and other real estate portals still remain quite strong.”
Adrian admits it is strange that REIA’s Facebook page is down, along with other state real estate institutes such as the Real Estate Institute of Victoria (REIV), as these companies are membership organisations and not commercial.
But he says in the end, Facebook will be the loser in its stalemate battle against media giants and the government.
“Purchasers will go to where they can find properties and if they can’t find them on Facebook, they’ll head off to competitors,” he says.
“Agents are no different. They want to market their properties so they’ll go where the buyers are.
“I think that after what we went through last year – everything we’ve been through with sales, tenants, non-eviction periods and rental arrears – we can handle anything.
“Facebook not wanting to be part of the real estate landscape is really not going to bother us much.”