In profile: Colliers International's Canberra office leasing specialist Aaron Green
Colliers International's Aaron Green tells Property Observer the trend in the Canberra market is some institutional owners taking a gamble on generically fitting out their vacant office space in the hope that it will help lure tenants. He would invest a spare $750,000 in a single-titled commercial property that showed returns of more than 8% per annum.
How long have you been in the industry?
For a spot on three years starting in September 2009. So still learning the trade, but also within that short time I have gained a lot of knowledge within the Canberra commercial market and formed some good business relationships.
What’s happening in the area you specialise in?
I specialise in leasing office space between 500 to 1,000 square metres. I’m finding that tenants are looking to make the cost of relocating as neutral as possible as they do not have a capital expenditure budget allocated for fitout. Building owners who have tenancies with reasonable fitouts in place and offering an incentive (typically between 8-12%) are attracting tenants. This trend has seen some institutional owners taking a gamble on generically fitting out their vacant office space in the hope that it will help lure tenants. So if a tenant can make the fitout work for their business, they get the benefit of being able to occupy a turn-key office straight away, enjoy new workstations rather than tired and outdated looking ones, and they no longer need to pay for the design and project management of this process. Only time will tell if this is a gamble that will pay off, but I’m sure that it will be enough to lure at least a small number of tenants in the marketplace.
Describe the most interesting property you have sold:
An owner-occupier asked me to dispose of their last remaining assets in Canberra after selling their business. They owned three units within a strata-titled building at 26-28 Napier Close, Deakin. The units had a combined total size of 266 square metres and were sold in one line to a local private investment company. The owners had already moved on prior asking me to sell the units and had settled down in Whistler, Canada. I was due to go to Canada soon after, and I sold the units just before departing, so I met up with them in Whistler and celebrated the sale with them over a beer on the slopes.
What are the ingredients to being successful in your job?
Being knowledgeable within your market is key– and when I say your market it is not just facts and figures or knowing who’s left or occupied what space, it’s knowing what the current trends are and what the outlook is. Also, don’t get caught up in all the distractions that can happen on a daily basis. Give yourself tasks to achieve daily so that you can stay on track, stay focused and hold yourself accountable. At the end of the day it provides a sense of achievement. And of course, having good administration staff in the background making sure everything is running smoothly is a must.
What aspects of your role do you enjoy the most?
One of the main reasons I got into commercial real estate was to meet new people and create relationships that will stay with me for life. I also really enjoy that I’m not chained to my desk eight hours a day and have the flexibility of going to meetings, site visits, socialising and accelerating clients’ success in their property endeavours.
Where would invest a spare $750,000?
With the current interest rate I wouldn’t be leaving it in the bank. I would invest the money in a single-titled commercial property that showed returns of more than 8%, with a long lease and good yearly increases – making it a sound investment.
Which football team do you support?
I'm a born and bred Canberra boy, so without a doubt both Canberra teams – Raiders and the Brumbies.
What’s your favourite app or techno gadget?
I really enjoy my Apple products and currently own an iPhone and iPad that I use daily within social and work environments. I’m also currently trying to develop an app with my fiancée and another couple outside of work which so far has been an interesting experience. We are working closely with app developers to get our idea into design phase.
How do you use social media?
Social media is something I really haven’t used professionally until moving to Colliers International. Since being here I have started to post listings on Twitter and LinkedIn and tracked traffic through Bitly. I do however need to have a better social media plan going forward, so what I do put out there is interesting and frequent enough for people to take interest. I’ve been posting a fair bit of interesting information on Twitter lately and I’m slowly starting to get more followers, so it must be working.
Commercial property is a serious business.
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