This is the transcript for the video Property Economics

Thank you very much, and let me now formally introduce Maurice Cohen to take over the webinar, from the acknowledgement of country [inaudible] for one last time, thank you for bearing with us during those short technical difficulties.

Thank you very much Luke. Thank you, I would like to acknowledge the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation upon whose ancestral lands our City campus now stands. I would like to also pay respect to the Elders, both past and present, and acknowledging them as the traditional custodians of knowledge for this land.

Anyway, welcome. There is the possibility of asking questions, and you basically will need to type your questions into the Q&A box, which you will see at the bottom of your screen. I think you can type questions anytime, but I suspect we need to wait until right at the end before we may be able to answer the questions.

I’m Maurice Cohen, I’m the Assistant Course Director for the Bachelor of Property Economics. The Associate Professor, Janet Ge, who is the Course Director is presenting as well with me today, and so is Professor Sara Wilkinson who’s the Professor of Property, and she was presenting as well with me today. So they’re joining me to present, whether they will answer questions or whether they will actually present live. We hoping that we can acknowledge their presentations.

I also managed to persuade Georgia and Chelsea to join us today, and they are two of my students who are going to probably graduate by the end of this year, and the students have decided that they were happy to meet us for this online presentation, and we’re going to meet both Georgia and Chelsea towards the latter end of the presentation.

UTS is a wonderful campus. It’s got a wonderful, modern learning environment. And in fact, what you need to do is just look at the location. It’s at the city centre, it’s got terrific access to trains, buses, and light rail, and it’s very close to Chinatown and Darling Harbour. And so it’s kind of a beautiful central location for learning.

UTS has got marvelous new facilities. There is this brand new library that you could see, and I think it’s kind of the gem of the university, and these facilities enhance the learning experience. So we like to think of ourselves as the university, especially in the city area, and the buildings and the surrounds are just magnificent for learning.

The course that I’m going to speak about comes from the faculty of Design, Architecture and Building, known as DAB. So as the name implies, the faculty of Design, Architecture and Building run courses for undergraduates and postgraduates in the three main discipline areas, design, architecture, and building. We are known as the faculty of the Built Environment, and the two main degrees that we operate and offer will be the Bachelor of Property Economics, which I will speak to today, and the other degree that we offer in the School of Built Environment for undergraduates is the Bachelor of Construction Project Management.

Bachelor of Property Economics, wonderful course. I guess the starting point is that the magic word is property. And to a certain extent, we are all consumers of real estate. We are users of public space. We basically use infrastructure. We cycle, we catch trains, we use recreational areas, and we live in a home, which of course is on the land, and businesses run, their particular establishments are in that particular area. So land is really the most basic and the fundamental economic results that is used.

When talking about property, the focus tends to be on housing, and here’s a wonderful quote by Dr. Guy Debelle from the Reserve Bank, and the quote is kind of interesting. It says, “It generates reams of newspaper stories and reality TV. You could be forgiven to think that the housing market is the Australian economy.” And I guess it’s something that everyone talks about. Why does everyone talk about it? Because the ABS Census tells us that 65% of Australian householders own or are paying off their home, and that the top 200 companies listed on the Australian stock exchange own or lease or have property departments. So property is kind of the pivotal, if you’d like, longterm growth and annual return of most of the assets that exist.

The careers in property vary. I guess you can choose and pick whichever you fancy. Some of our students go to valuation practice, some of our students work as analysts, some do research. So the careers are very broad. You can work for property developers, that just doesn’t mean developing housing, it includes developing things like childcare centers. If you are good at numbers and you’re good at commerce, property finances is the place to go. So this degree teaches you the skills. The skills of valuation, the skills of analyzing markets, the skills of investment, the skills of development. It gives you those specialist knowledge.

So what do you study in the Bachelor of Property Economics? Well, the first thing is that it’s a practical degree. There’s lots of practical, hands on work that you need to do. The degree is three years, it is offered full time, but you may choose to do it part time, but beware that if you choose to do it part time, you have to choose the subjects correctly otherwise it may be difficult to move from semester to semester. You’re expected to do 24 subjects, so the subjects are broken into four subjects each semester, if you’re full time students, and in the one year you are doing eight subjects. At UTS a subject is designated with a credit point, and so as you add up all the credit points, as long as you get the 144 magic figure, you will have graduated with a degree of Bachelor of Property Economics.

In doing our degree, you have the opportunity to complete sub-majors. This includes planning, property technology, sub-majors that are provided by the Business School. For those who are interested, there’s the opportunity for an extra Honors year, which allows you then to research, and allows you to perhaps think about moving onto Masters and PhDs.

If you wish, you can do a combined degree, and it is known as the Bachelor of Arts degree. This will allow you to learn a language. It generally did allow you to study overseas, but at the moment that’s kind of closed. But hopefully once this COVID moves on, it will allow you to perhaps spend a semester overseas. And of course, by doing that, you can develop your skills in intercultural capabilities, and so on. If you choose a Bachelor of Property Economics with International Studies, that will take you out to five or six years, because you will start your degree doing the property, and then you will add the other components, including a year four where you study overseas.

What do you learn in the Property Economics course? The key discipline areas include valuation, accounting and financial management, basic economics, property management, investment and finance, property tax, property research, property development, environmental issues, urban planning, building and construction. So the key discipline areas lay the foundation for your ability to develop all those skills that we talked on before.

So as a full time student, you will do 20 core subjects, and then added onto that will be what we call four elective subjects. And elective subjects can either come from within the property course or might be from subjects that you wish to choose outside the DAB faculty.

Let’s assume you start with us, and you arrive in autumn because that’s our intake. In the first semester, you will do property valuation, built environment law and ethics, built environment economics, construction and development process. Assuming you are successful, and you are diligent in your studies, you will move on into the spring semester. Spring is the second semester, and you will then add on with a little built environmental law and professional practice, a little bit more microeconomics, some accounting, and then some property market research and analysis.

How do you learn in our course? Well at the moment, most of the activity are taken online, because of the problems associated with COVID. But generally, we learn in interactive lectures, face-to-face lectures. We use a case study approach, we use a lot of computer modeling, we use computer simulations and games simulations. A lot of it is problem based learning. And then we go onto site visits, and we then allow all of that activity to occur. And the fundamental method of our learning is through groups, which enhance the communication skills.

The teaching staff are highly, highly regarded. We have a full time teaching staff, and we have some part time discipline specialist. These are industry specialists that we invite to come and teach our students, and the industry practitioners are always willing and able and put their hands up to present their wealth of knowledge in our course. So all our teachers, all our lecturers, all our professors and associate professors bring a wealth of knowledge, practical and teaching experiences, and cover, of course, across the entire spectrum of the degree.

I would probably now ask Sara to perhaps take over, and talk a little bit about the qualifications and memberships. Thank you, Sara.

Thanks Maurice. Hi everyone, so it’s Sara Wilkinson here. This course is accredited by RICS, which is the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, and the Australian Property Institute or the API. Now these professional bodies are very important, and they set standards for members. So when you graduate, you can join these professional bodies to become chartered, or a member of the API. Once you’ve undertaken some tests and assessment, and met the standards of the professional body, you then get to have those letters after your name.

So for example, I’ve been a member of RICS for about 36 years now, and I’ve got the letters FRICS, which means I’m a fellow of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors, and AAPI, which means I’m an Associate of the Australian Property Institute. And for valuation, you have to be a certified practicing valuer and a member of API to operate here, or a member of RICS as a valuation surveyor internationally.

Now, the difference between those bodies is API is a national professional body, whereas RICS is global. So if you become a member of RICS, you can practice in Europe, in Asia, in Africa, in the Americas, so it’s a global qualification. So if you’re looking at a property degree, it’s really important to check the accreditation that they have for these professional bodies. The other one there is the Property Council of Australia, which as the name suggests, is an Australian organization.

Thank you. So I mentioned earlier that valuers are required to be registered in New South Wales, and that’s under the Valuer Act of 2003. And this degree meets the requirement of that act. So upon graduation, you can register to be a valuer. One other thing, also, about these professional bodies is they are great networks. So often if you’re looking for jobs, you can go to events hosted by these professional bodies and find out who’s recruiting, that sort of thing. They also put on what they call CPD, which is Continuing Professional Development events, which makes sure that over the years, you keep up-to-date with all the new things that are coming into the profession. Next slide please.

Okay, so this is the million dollar question. So you’re investing time and money in your career, and who employees UTS property students? Well, as you can see from this slide, we’ve got a range of organizations, from the public sector and non-for-profits, such as government departments, charities in the non-for-profit sector, or you could go into the private sector. So the agencies, the developers, the valuation firms, the fund managers, insurance companies, and the financial institutions. And as Maurice was saying, oh, can we go back, sorry.


As Maurice was saying, depending on what your strengths are, if you like, you can target your career towards those areas. So if you do like the economics and the numbers, you can go towards the funds management and the financial institutions, where if you like the idea of being a property developer and seeing a project go from inception to completion, you can work in that sector. And the great thing is, because you get to try all these things out over the three or four years that you’re studying with us, you get an idea of what you like and what you don’t like.

Now with these firms, some are small, some of medium size, and some are very large. In the medium and larger firms, you’ve got opportunities perhaps to move into different sections and try different areas of practice, which might appeal to you. Some of these firms are statewide, some are national, and some are international. So again, with the national ones and the international ones, there are opportunities to work in other parts of Australia, or in other parts of the world.

So this slide here shows just a range of potential employers. So you can see from this slide, we’ve got the banks, we’ve got Macquarie, we’ve got Deutsche Bank, we’ve got Westpac, we’ve got the developers that are Mirvac, Multiplex, Frasers, Brookfield. We’ve got the research organizations like RPData (Core Logic). We’ve got international property consultancies such as Savills, CB Richard Ellis, DTZ, KPMG, Jones Lang LaSalle, Savills. And again, those international companies, they’ll have surveyors or property professionals working in valuations, in property management, and so on. So there’s lots of scope there for employment. Next slide. Thank you.

So up until 2020, we have had consistently high employability for our graduates, which has been fantastic. So you can see from this slide that in the first year, between 10 to 15% start to get offered employment, and they’re working often on a part time basis. In the second year, that goes up to about half of the class being employed. And then in the third year, it’s over 80%. Often we find, by the time people have got to the third year, they’ve started to study part time because they are working. So very good employment opportunities. Obviously we’re not quite sure how things are going to pan out as COVID continues, and we’ll just wait and see what happens there. Next slide please.

So whilst you’re here, you’ll be pleased to know that we do have scholarships and prizes. And next slide, please. As you can see, we have excellent links with industry. Many of us have worked in industry before we switched to academia, and we use these real world projects for many of our assignments. So we have guest lecturers that come into our classes and present to our students. And as Maurice said, a central location is very convenient for this. And as a result of this, our graduates really hit the ground running, and they have great employability, as I mentioned on the previous slide.

So our students are held in high regard, and they often offer sponsorships and scholarships and prizes annually that you can apply for, or you can win. Now this slide here just shows you some of the prizes, the larger ones. So the 10K ones work out about $192 a week, tax free, and the 12K one with Stockland is about $230 a week. So it’s a great, great scholarship. But the real value, I think, is in the paid placement period.

To have the opportunity to go into these companies, which are all major companies, and learn about how the industry works, meet some professionals, start making some networks in the industry is a fantastic opportunity, and far outweighs the financial payment that comes. Okay, so I think that is me done, and I think it’s now passing over to Georgia and Chelsea.

Thank you, and I’d like to introduce just two of our students who, in about 10 weeks, should finish and graduate. So I’d like to introduce both Georgia and Chelsea, and I think Chelsea is going to be the first person to speak, and then Georgia will follow. So I’ll leave it to them.

Hello everyone, my name is Chelsea, and I’m in my final semester of the Property Economics Course, like Maurice mentioned, I am currently working at Stockland as a scholar, and as this slide suggests, this opportunity was obtained through UTS and their connections in the industry. Today I’m going to touch on a few things that I enjoy about the property economics degree.

To start, we have the opportunity to specialize and sub-major, which allowed me to expand my knowledge on what I wanted to do in the industry. So like Maurice mentioned at the initial part of the presentation, there’s a sub-major of planning, which is the one I am participating in. Secondly, the course is highly regarded by industry professionals, which provides all of us that graduate a range of career opportunities, not necessarily just in property.

We study a wide range of topics, which expands our knowledge and understanding across the board. For example, we do financial subjects, but then we also do law and economics. The course and their work, like Maurice, mentioned is very collaborative, with extremely approachable teachers and the ability to make friends along the way. And lastly, the variety of class structures. For example, we have weekly lectures and block classes, which is helpful, especially when a large portion of us are employed in our final year. Thank you, and I’ll pass on to Georgia.

Thank you, Chelsea. Hi everyone, my name’s Georgia Dickinson. I’m also in my third year of the Property Economics Course. I’m the Charter Hall Scholar for 2020, so have been working part time during my final year into my final semester. Previously, before this degree, I actually did a Bachelor of Arts with a government major. I’d worked overseas, so I’m a little bit older than a lot of the students in the cohort coming straight out of uni.

But what really attracted me to the Property Economics degree was the Australian Property Institute accreditation, the reputation of the degree in the industry, and having the teaching staff who are currently in the industry, or have come out of the industry. So it’s a really practical and applicable knowledge to the workplace, it’s not purely theoretical, it’s things that you’re learning and then applying to your work, which I’ve observed even more this year, working throughout my rotations. And also the higher ability of students was a really big factor for me as well. I saw it as I was going through, a lot of students start working in their second year, and the majority of students are working in their third year.

And what I really have come to enjoy, as well, is the diverse student population. So while there are a lot of students coming a straight out of high school, sort of the more traditional uni route, there are a lot of people who have been working in the industry for a number of years and are looking to study the degree to future proves themselves, or to kind of come to this degree after another degree, such as myself. So that was a really big feature for me, and I’ve really come to enjoy the variety of insights and learning and meeting new people.

And I’d say the last thing that I have really found quite meaningful during the degree is getting involved with the Australian Property Institute. I got a student membership in my first year, and I’m lucky enough to be on their Young Property Professionals Committee, and help them plan networking and career events. So getting involved in opportunities like that throughout your degree is very accessible, and it’s a great way to make those connections and differentiate yourself. So I’d really encourage anyone coming into the degree to make the most of every opportunity that you get given. Thank you, and I’ll pass back to Maurice now.

Thank you very much, both Chelsea and Georgia, and we wish you all the best for a very successful final semester.

How do you get into the course? Well, you have to apply through UAC, I think it’s called UAC, and the rank itself that you get, the selection rank, fluctuates, but in 2020 we had a small spring intake and people came in on a rank of 77.05. If you’re wanting to come in on a Bachelor of Arts attached to the Property Economics, it was slightly higher. We also expect students to do mathematics and English proficiency testing, assuming they get into the course, and this kind of dictates their ability to be proficient in those two areas, and we therefore offer help and advice to lift the standards.

I think some of you may be aware that year 12 have what we call subject adjustment factors, so you get extra points by doing certain subjects, and these are just detailed there on the slide. The bottom line is that if you wish to do the course, do the best you can, and put UTS Property Economics as your first choice. The course will be running in 2021, starting in the autumn.

The last thing is questions, and I’m just going to stop sharing the screen, and the questions of course can be done on the typing. And we’re happy to address some of those questions.