The International Property and Investment Department is comprised of seven people all with different cultural backgrounds. We work with other departments as well regularly but it is this group that has really helped me grow/understand what is going on in the company and abroad. Henrik, the general manager, is Swedish with a comprehensive knowledge of real estate worldwide. Danny and Steven are both Americans and they have really helped me establish what is expected in this field as well as the steps it takes to do market research. Brett is Australian and is currently helping create the investment residency program in Oceania. Joao is Portuguese and has just recently joined the team but offers a lot as far as understanding the real estate market in the European Union. Lastly, Aisling and Doug are Irish and both have contributed to my understanding of what the Chinese want/expect when it comes to real estate investment in particular. Working with all of these different mindsets has really helped me develop a deeper cultural understanding when it comes to business as well as personal relationships. We all come from different parts of the world yet we are not that different.
The most challenging aspect of the internship so far is understanding the different real estate markets internationally and then deciding which areas investors would be most attracted to. On paper, international markets are very similar. The hard part is determining what drives those markets and the people’s mindset behind them. For example, right now the Australian housing market is skyrocketing, on paper it looks robust as average housing prices continue to go up. But this is actually inflated because foreign investors are coming in and buying up residential and commercial housing which keeps driving the price up. This is bad for those who are natural born citizens because their incomes are not rising at a proportional rate. In short, a housing bubble is occurring and it is only a matter of time before it pops.
For me, the most challenging aspect of the internship is also, in my opinion, the best feature. Being able to finally apply my economic background to real life scenarios has been a privilege. For example, I get to use the concepts of gross domestic product, consumer price index, interest rates, and net operating income (to name a few) and apply it to real estate markets worldwide. To look at economic metrics to help determine the feasibility of investment in an area has been a wholesome learning experience. After looking at these economic indicators I then get to analyze how this will affect the investor now and in the future. In addition, using Chinese everyday has really helped strengthen my language skills . Everyday is a chance to better myself and I am lucky enough to work with great people from all over the world.