In profile: Sydney CBD office investment specialist Richard Horne
Richard Horne is Knight Frank's managing director for NSW, specialising in office transactions above $30 million. He says Australian super funds are becoming more relevant as direct players in Sydney commercial real estate, while enquiries from Chinese buyers are also rising.
How long have you been in the industry?
I started my career in 1991 in Bristol, UK. There I started as a valuer and then moved into agency after 18 months with the Bristol office of Chesterton. I moved to Australia in 1995.What’s happening in the area you specialise in?
I specialise in office investment, primarily the Sydney CBD of $30 million plus. Times have been challenging at the larger end of the office market. There have been few large deals with buyers struggling to get debt, generally conservative on sentiment and in particular building potential capital expenditure (capex) has been an impediment to many deals.
Signs are promising moving forward however, with the institutions starting to buy again and interest rates coming down.
Locally the Australian super funds are becoming more relevant as direct players. Offshore, we’re starting to notice China more, with significant enquiries from China on our last two campaigns.
Describe the most interesting property you have sold
I worked in New Zealand for five and half years, and in my first year put together a portfolio of buildings in Wellington tailored towards Australian investors. This was interesting because I was dealing with a completely different market, a local private owner and a portfolio of very different properties.
What are the ingredients to being successful in your job?
Being a successful agent might seem easy to many, but I believe it’s one of the hardest nuts to crack in the property sector. The key ingredients to being successful are:
What aspects of your role do you enjoy the most?
I really enjoy thinking laterally about a deal and making it happen. Putting mutually compatible partners together is becoming increasingly relevant, and this is very enjoyable. On the management side of things I find it very rewarding to see younger staff, particularly with a good attitude, flourish in their careers.
Where would invest a spare $750,000?
I’d put it towards my dream beach house, probably in New Zealand or Cornwall (UK).
Which football team do you support?
Liverpool Football Club (UK)
What’s your favourite app or techno gadget?
Viber, for long-distance phone calls back to family in the UK, and Run Keeper App, for tracking runs.
How do you use social media?
I’m increasingly seeing the benefits of LinkedIn and exploring ways to improve this. I don’t mind admitting I’m not a fan of Facebook.
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Commercial property is a serious business.
Get the land supply, price, and infrastructure equation right and I suspect there would be no lack of demand from genuine aspiring home buyers.