McGrath Estate Agents is set to open its first Brisbane-based office, and has plans for another in Toowoomba in June and three more in Brisbane later this year, as the company ramps up its push into Queensland.
The new company-owned office, located in the inner Brisbane suburb of Paddington, will be the real estate group’s 46th shopfront. It will be the third office in Queensland, and follows a similar push by the largely NSW-based group into the ACT.
“There is a nice synergy about starting our Brisbane operations in Paddington, which is where it began for us in Sydney [in the suburb of the same name],” McGrath’s chief executive John McGrath said.
“But the more critical factor was its pivotal location which will allow us to service suburbs from Newmarket in the north, to Corinda in the south, the Gap to the west and Brisbane City to our east. Key suburbs will be Auchenflower, Bardon, Ashgrove, Paddington, Toowong, St. Lucia, Indooroopilly, Chelmer, Graceville and Sherwood.”
Another three franchise offices will open this year to cover north-east, south-east and inner-north Brisbane, the company added.
“McGrath offers larger regional territories rather than suburbs to its franchisees in the belief that it provides greater incentive to attract the best business and real estate talent,” the company said.
The Brisbane sales team will be led by Thomas McGlynn, who was brought up on the Sunshine Coast and has been at the forefront of the Group’s expansion into Queensland.
“We are putting our top people into the Paddington office and recruiting local agents who share the McGrath philosophy,” said Mr McGrath, adding that the Group’s extensive database should help the new office tap into the estimated 45 per cent of interstate investors that come from NSW.
He added that co-principals Barney McGrath and Matt Lahood have also been key players in the evolution of McGrath, Mr McGrath as the architect of many of the company’s marketing and technology innovations and Mr Lahood as group director of sales.
The new office, which is due to open on May 21, is hoping to take advantage of what Mr McGrath expects will be a turnaround in the Brisbane property market.
“I firmly believe that the Brisbane real estate market is trending upwards,” Mr McGrath said. “The time now feels right to make our move into Brisbane. There is a new state government, the financial benefits of the resource boom are filtering through to the commercial sector, and the impacts of the Global Financial Crisis and floods are beginning to recede.
“All of this reaffirms our decision to make a significant investment in a company-owned office from which we can establish ourselves and be fully involved in the resurgence that is already underway.”
Mr McGrath said the growth in home values across Brisbane last year had been significantly lower than the five and 10 year averages, with house values falling by 6.8 per cent and apartments by 6.5 per cent, making it the most affordable capital city on the east coast.
However, he said, in the first months of 2012 this decline has slowed and in March values rose 0.8 per cent.
“The recent property downturn has exacerbated a housing supply shortage as Queensland continues to grow, the Housing Industry Association is predicting another 42,200 homes will be needed each year to satisfy demand by 2020,” Mr McGrath said.
“There is a significant supply gap but on the flip-side this will help maintain the values of homes for existing owner occupiers and for investors.”