ANZ in February revealed a $50 million investment into View Media which was founded by Catalano and business partner Alex Waislitz through his Thorney Investment Group and the publicly listed Thorney Opportunities. The pair also own the nationwide Australian Community Media network of 140 local newspaper mastheads.
Consumers are increasingly demanding more immediate services and an improved online experience to deal with their property market queries, Catalano said.
“All of the touch points for consumers have to be easy. We're going to be free to list, we're going to be easy to get a loan, we're going to hold your hand through process and it's going to be automated,” he said. “People expect information to come to them. They expect organizations to provide them with better service. And I think our partnership with ANZ is all about bringing that.”
Catalano, who was previously CEO of online real estate company Domain, said the ANZ investment was “strategic and very important”. Since the deal was signed in February they have brought the View Media and ANZ teams together to build a marketing strategy and refining the consumer offerings.
“The ANZ partnership came along in the middle of last year and it was a conversation that Shayne Elliott and myself had picked up from a few years earlier, along with Ant Strong and other members of the team,” Catalano said. “It’s an incredibly nimble organization for us to deal with, very innovative organization and we're really excited by the partnership.”
Catalano said View Media Group will provide more information for property hungry Australians, by offering data on all properties, not just the ones currently on the market.
“We'll also have a very different offering in that you'll be able to look for any property in the country, not just the ones that are currently for sale,” Catalano said. “It will offer a look into every property, a history of the properties, lots of data and information about the whole market and more information about the rental market and investment market.”
In a county where the property market plays such an important economic role, it was crucial the industry continued to innovate, Catalano said. The appetite is still there but more supply must be delivered.
“If you look at the market, we simply don't produce enough houses for the growing population. We have a population that grows by a couple hundred thousand people every year,” he said.
“Every year we don't produce 4000 new homes a week to satisfy the demand. So, I think long term we have to build more homes. The market has to grow.”
Brett Foley is managing editor of bluenotes.