Study discovers what unit owners really want

What’s driving Queensland unit owners’ decision-making and satisfaction? Two Griffith University researchers have the answer.

Service Industry Research Centre Director Professor Chris Guilding and PhD candidate Kelly Cassidy have conducted research to develop a better understanding of Queensland unit owners, and what works for them.

The study involved nearly 1,000 owners and explored satisfaction levels, degree of involvement in body corporate matters, understanding of body corporate affairs and the extent unit owners conduct research prior to making their purchase.

Professor Guilding said an interesting discovery was owners appeared to have very different levels of satisfaction in complexes, depending on the different building management styles.

“Owners are significantly more satisfied in buildings where the manager is an independent individual or couple, not an employee working for a corporation,” Professor Guilding said.

“One likely factor for this is corporate managed strata titled properties are challenged by trying to serve the competing needs of two masters: the shareholders of the company and the owners of the units in the building complex.

“In the more conventional ‘Ma & Pa’ resident manager situation, the manager needs only focus on keeping one party happy: the unit owners.”

Professor Guilding said the finding could impact future strata titled complex development.

“If purchasers of strata titled units start developing a sense of greater owner satisfaction in units where there is a ‘Ma & Pa’ resident manager, we can expect units in these complexes to command higher prices than equivalent units in complexes run by a ‘corporate manager’.”

The research also identified Queensland unit owners weren’t satisfied with the level of information they received from real estate agents when buying strata titled units.

“The findings suggest a fairly high degree of dissatisfaction with respect to the accuracy of the information provided,” Professor Guilding said.

“The area which performed worst in this respect was rental return estimates, and the area which was the most accurate, for those who received information, was body corporate fees.

“The study carries considerable value for the strata titled housing sector, as it alerts people to issues they should consider when setting out to buy a strata title unit, either for residency purposes or to hold as an investment property.”

The research results will be presented by Ms Cassidy at a strata and community title owners’ forum on the morning of 22 August and at the Strata and Community Title in Australia for the 21st Century II conference from August 22 — 24.

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