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AU Matthews Real Estate records major changes across Brisbane as it marks 80 years in the industry

Property Here - Saturday, August 31, 2013

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Family observes industry change

The Matthews family celebrates 80 years in the real estate industry and has seen many changes. Source:Supplied

PLENTY has changed in Brisbane real estate since named cows were included chattel, stamp duty required an actual stamp and agents doubled as inspection chauffeurs but Matthews Real Estate was there for it all.

The Annerley family business is celebrating its 80th year in the industry and co-principal Trevor Matthews, who runs it with his brother Ken, said Brisbane had changed dramatically since he first took the helm 51 years ago.

"There was an old saying that City Hall was the tallest (building). It was, there was basically nothing else around it," he said.

He said highset timber houses had been replaced over time with units or lowest brick houses and the property features attracting buyers had changed too.

"In the old days, if it had sewage it was a winner," Mr Matthews said.

"(As were) double-bowled stainless steel sinks. There used to only be one sink and it wasn't even stainless steel."

In the 1930s, when Trevor and Ken's grandfather Robert and father Leslie ran the business, Brisbane had farming land.

One old document in the archives is a contract including Daisy, Buttercups, Spider and 24 other named and unnamed cows in the sale of McGrath Farm, Tennyson.

Another is a form stipulating "when sheep are included, date of last shearing must be given".

More urban-related clippings show a Coorparoo house that last sold in 1998 for $320,000 had fetched Pound730 ($1460) at auction in 1941. Tenants in 1962 could have lived in a five-bedroom Norman Park rental property for just Pound10 ($20) a week.

The average asking rent for a house at Norman Park is now $463 a week, according to RP Data's suburb scorecard for the year to May.

Mr Matthews' son Russell, who is one of four fourth-generation Matthews at the office and the likely next principal, said the way agents did business had changed, even in the last 20 years.

"When I first started selling (in 1997), people came into the office and we drove them around to all the places. Now, with the internet, they look at it on the net, they see the address, they drive past themselves and they meet you there," he said.

"We got into in about 2004 and the idea of someone coming in now and me driving them is almost non-existent."

But, despite the changes to Brisbane, inner-city housing and the property industry, Matthews Real Estate's 80-year reputation has endured.

Three decades after his grandmother's house in Juster St, Annerley, was sold through Matthews, long-time Moorooka resident John Royce sold his Hansen St house through them.

"They're just one of those places, they're very friendly and helpful and they put it down the line how much things are worth," Mr Royce said.

"I don't know whether I was influenced (by Matthews being a family business) but they seem to have a click."

Mr Royce has lived at Moorooka on and off for half a century and echoed the Matthews' sentiment of the city's changing face.

"It's changed big time. We used to have lots of small catering places, such as fruit and vegetable stores. Woolworths was never here as a kid," he said.

"Everybody who had a deceased estate in my day would have a family move in. Now they just knock them down and put townhouses on them."

He said affordability in the area had also been less of an issue in the past.

"You had your high-income earners that had nicer places but affordability was good for the average person. Now it seems astronomical."

But Trevor Matthews said it was still easier to buy now than 50 years ago, with more finance avenues available. He said now was a good time to buy.

"I would see in the next four to five years there will be an increase in value but I don't think it will be anything like what we saw in the 2000s," he said.

"All of the suburbs about 8km out (from the CBD) are going to continue to grow and grow and grow," Mr Matthews said.

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