Two boutique agencies have announced that they will merge in order to find their footing in the “mature and sophisticated” market of Victoria.
Belle Property has announced a merger with Melbourne-based group hockingstuart in order to increase Belle Property’s reach into the Victorian market.
Peter Hanscomb, CEO of Belle Property, said it had been a goal of the agency to enter into Victoria, but to enter the “mature and sophisticated market” of Victoria, there was a need to align themselves with a brand that had presence in the state.
The merger will initially see both brands continuing to operate under their own brands, according to Mr Hanscomb.
“Both brands will continue to operate under their respective brands, with an assessment made once we get to know the hockingstuart business, which will determine the best pathway forward,” he said.
The decision will also see Belle Property gain over 40 offices and 600 people across Victoria, covering Melbourne, the Mornington Peninsula, Geelong, the Surf Coast and regional Victoria.
Mr Hanscomb will be CEO over both groups and Belle Property’s Adam Joske will lead business development in the state as head of Victoria.
According to Mr Hanscomb, hockingstuart was that brand due to having many firsts in the market – the first agency in Victoria to publish a property magazine, the first to hold auctions on Sundays, and it launched an “industry-first” suite of digital marketing tools.
“Hockingstuart are a well-respected agency with a long tradition in the core premium markets in Victoria and it’s a brand of astounding innovation with many ‘firsts’ under its belt,” Mr Hanscomb said.
“We are excited about the opportunity with hockingstuart and hold its people and customers in the highest regard, so it is vital to us that the transition is as seamless as possible.”
Andrew James, acting CEO and director of hockingstuart Armadale, said the group was “extremely excited” to be merging with Belle Property.
“We will be part of a national brand that will take our group to the next level; helping to position us for success in an ever-changing and competitive real-estate landscape,” Mr James said.
Prior to this merger, Mr Hanscomb said Belle Property already had some presence in the Victorian market due to sharing the same name as the lifestyle magazine Belle.
“We know that Belle Property is already recognised in Melbourne via our unique relationship with the lifestyle magazine Belle that shares our namesake, so we have already seen a positive response to the news from hockingstuart’s team who are enthusiastic about the change to come,” Mr Hanscomb said.