CENTURY 21 Australia said it has added almost one new office each week, on average, since the start of 2012, although it is nearing what it believes is the ideal size for a real estate group in the Australian market.
While the company is seeing the fastest growth in its history, Charles Tarbey, chairman and owner of CENTURY 21 Australasia, said the company is not aiming for “growth for growth’s sake”, and instead has a target in mind “that is below the projected size of most well known franchise groups – a size that delivers us a strong national presence without over-stauration”.
“We are now very close to this targeted size.” This number was not disclosed.
Technology has been a key focus for the real estate group, which has 3,000 offices across the Asia-Pacific region.
“With the Australian real estate industry as competitive as ever, three years ago CENTURY 21 Australia began investing record sums into new technologies, marketing campaigns, search engine optimization and training to ensure that the brand remained front of mind for Australians looking to buy or sell real estate,” said Mr Tarbey.
“With the marketplace being increasingly driven by technology, ingenuity and efficiency, real estate networks must constantly be delivering on these points in order to stand out from the crowd,” he said.
CENTURY 21 Australia launched a series of real estate technologies for consumers in recent years, including an App, online magazines, and an online property game, ‘Property Mogul’. These initiatives were supported by the company’s ‘Smarter, Bolder, Faster’ campaign, which included national television commercials and a new website.
“I believe that this investment, coupled with the strength of the global CENTURY 21 brand, has led to this record growth period,” Mr Tarbey said.
“It is pleasing to see that much of this growth is being driven by experienced industry operators with almost all new offices joining from other real estate groups or rebranding from independents.”
Mr Tarbey has been actively growing his business in the past year, announcing the purchase of the CENTURY 21 New Zealand franchise in February, and he acquired the former property management company Wentworth Holdings in December last year.
He recently told Real Estate Business that his view on property management had changed since purchasing Wentworth, which is being integrated into the CENTURY 21 franchise network.
“I believe that the [property management] relationship should be built with the business, not with individuals,” Mr Tarbey said. “And that’s something I’ve discovered in the industry having come back into it, not just from a franchisor point of view, but from an ownership point of view. It’s very, very risky.
“This is completely opposite to the way I used to look at the business, in terms of property management.”
To reflect this new approach, Mr Tarbey has personally helped develop a new IT platform that will facilitate interaction between tenants, landlords and each CENTURY 21 franchise agency.
“Technology has continued to move forward and we haven’t taken advantage of it," he continued. "As an individual investor I would want to have control of my property, and to be able to do things without having to lean on a person, or wait for a person to get back to me.”