Raine & Horne has bolstered its regional offering with the acquisition of a rival franchise office.
Raine & Horne Wagga Wagga has doubled the size of its business with the purchase of competitor Elders Residential Wagga Wagga.
The move has already taken place, with local Raine & Horne director Grant Harris confirming to Real Estate Business that Elders Residential is now flying the Raine & Horne banner.
The acquisition coincides with an investor-driven spike in market activity, with buyer enquiries for Wagga Wagga properties 20 per cent stronger than in winter 2013, according to Raine & Horne.
It will also more than triple the size of its property management business, with five extra staff members joining the team.
A spokesperson for Raine & Horne corporate told Real Estate Business the acquisition is part of the network's recent expansion plans, but it is not part of a direct takeover strategy of rival offices nationwide.
Mr Harris, who would not reveal the price of the acquisition, confirmed Raine & Horne offered a majority of Elders staff a position following the move, with two staff members choosing not to take the offer.
Mr Harris said the transaction will strengthen the "depth and expertise” of their sales team, with an extra four agents set to join them.
"This purchase will also push Raine & Horne into the top three real estate firms in Wagga Wagga. However, a bigger team will not compromise our dedication to delivering personalised customer service to our property owners, buyers and tenants,” he said.
The market timing of the acquisition couldn’t be better, according to Mr Harris, with more yield-hungry investors from Sydney, Newcastle, Wollongong, Canberra and Melbourne jostling with first home buyers for Wagga’s affordable sub-$300,000 entry-level properties.
“Wagga felt the impact of the global financial crisis like many other major regional hubs but it’s starting to turn the corner on the back of lower interest rates and improved consumer confidence, a fact that savvy investors have recognised,” he said.
“More investor activity can be attributed to healthy yields of between 5.5 and 6.0 per cent, and the prospect of capital growth as confidence continues to grow,” he added.