Buoyed by a recent surge in sales in New Zealand, chairman of the Ray White Group, Brian White, has said Australia-based agents can prosper if they have confidence in property as a viable asset class and realise that the current market is ripe for the picking.
“Over my career I’ve never lost faith in the performance power of property,” he told Real Estate Business.
“Very early in my career people were being advised to rent, so don’t own [a property]…I recall a friend of mine was going to buy a home for $50,000, which was a significant amount of money at that particular point. That home is worth well over $1.5 million now.”
Ray White recorded its best sales result in New Zealand since March 2007, with its October sales figures up 29 per cent compared to the same month last year, coming in at NZ$500 million.
Yet while the Australian market has yet to record a similar surge – the Group recorded $2.4bn in sales in September, which is above the $2bn mark it usually sets as a minimum target - he said agents should acknowledge that today’s property market is far from bad.
“The biggest thing is to have confidence,” he said. “Have confidence in their country, and the underlying strength of the relevance of the asset that we’re looking after.”
“I believe we’re in a good, solid market now. If people say they can’t do anything until boom comes back again, they’re in the wrong industry. There is plenty of business right here today and good operators, those that are committed to providing good value to their communities, are performing, and performing very well.”
Mr White said the Ray White Group would continue to focus on building its network beyond the Australian and New Zealand markets.
“We’re the major group now in Indonesia…that sometimes surprises some people…we have 120 offices in Indonesia now,” he said. “We’re certainly the market leader in Jakarta, and in Bali the Ray White presence is fantastic. We’ve just opened offices in Seoul and Kuala Lumpur, and we’ve got some things happening in India … and of course we’re interested in China.
“A generation ago we made the decision that we couldn’t just stay Queensland based, if we did that we probably wouldn’t have survived.” The Group’s rural, hotel and marine divisions were also performing well, he added.
Furthermore, the company would look to improve its technology offering to its franchisees.
“How we integrate that [technology] into good practice is the key,” he said, adding that a central aim for the group is to help its agents communicate more effectively with clients and prospects.
“There are some products we’re releasing as early as [this] week in terms of how you have a consistent relationship right through the ownership cycle,” Mr White said. “The old story that you related to people when they came into real estate mode and when they finished that process you said goodbye with a bottle of wine and maybe a hamper… we see that as very old fashioned.”