China and Hong Kong are firmly on Harcourts’ expansion radar, with the group using an “independent agent structure” business model for the region.
Head of international at Harcourts, Tina Sander, announced the group’s expansion plans in Hong Kong recently at a joint recruitment and press conference which attracted more than 250 people.
The group, which as at April last year had 23 offices in China, also acknowledged four new franchises – Harcourts Fusion Property in Macau, Harcourts Harleyland Real Estate, Harcourts Fomento Predial Tai Yun, and Harcourts Great View Property Investment.
Joseph Ho, general manager of Harcourts Hong Kong, presented information about the group’s independent agent structure, which the group said is a new concept for the Hong Kong market.
“Our team is confident in launching this new model and is certain that it will create strong results for our agents on the ground in Hong Kong,” he said.
Harcourts also has offices in New Zealand, Australia, Indonesia, South Africa, USA, Zambia, Botswana and Fiji.
In April last year, Ms Sander, immediately following a visit to the country, said China offered Harcourts with numerous opportunities for growth.
“Given the scope and size of the Chinese property market, China is basically an untapped market for Harcourts,” she said at the time, only one month after the group opened its first office in Hong Kong.
“As Harcourts continues to expand internationally, one of the main focuses will be on growing our footprint in China and increasing our market share here.
The company added that China’s property market was incredibly unique when compared to other markets around the world.
“Due to tightening regulations imposed by the government over the last 12 months [to April 2011], Chinese residents are only allowed to own two properties each and foreign investors are only able to own one property,” Harcourts said.
“Over the past 12 months, the median property price in China has dropped by around 15 per cent, while the average sales volume has increased by 60 to 80 per cent over this time.”