Expert Witness Report on property market influences and outlook

Our clients were involved in court proceedings arising out of legal action related to an agreement between the Government of the Northern Territory of Australia and a residential developer. The disagreement centred around the difference between the development of actual residential prices in Darwin and what could reasonably have been expected when forecasting prices in 2017.

The repudiation of an existing development agreement resulted in Supreme Court proceedings whereby residential property market forecasts were required to demonstrate the outlook for the Darwin residential market at that time. Separate sale price and rent projections were needed (on an annual basis) for detached house and attached dwellings for the period of 2017-2030.

Importantly, the forecasts were to be based on observations, trends and forecasts for economic activity in Darwin and the Northern Territory that were the latest available at the time (in 2017). No information which had subsequently become available or knowledge of events which had since transpired were allowed to influence the projections.

The solution

Oxford Economics Australia’s team were retained in the capacity of an expert witness. That required us to comply with a paramount duty to act impartially at all times to ensure the advice provided was objective and free from client advocacy.

We worked closely with our client to produce forecasts using our original economic and residential property forecasts published in our 2017 subscription reports.  Our subsequent report provided an overview of current and future economic conditions in Australia and the Northern Territory, with an assessment of key property market influences and their outlook. The assessment of residential market drivers fed into modelled outcomes for prices and rents over the period 2017 to 2030, with the historical performance of the upper quartile – or most expensive 25 per cent of properties – also shown in the report.

The results

Our work was tabled in the court proceedings and was used to inform an out-of-court settlement to end the dispute.

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