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Rent roll mergers catapult Victorian agency’s growth ambitions

By Zarah Torrazo
25 July 2023 | 12 minute read
jimmy lim areal property reb irp5bi

A Victorian-based agency has doubled its rent roll through strategic acquisitions and it’s just the start of their expansion plans that go beyond the state’s borders.

Areal Property has significantly grown its Victoria property management portfolio by 1,750 properties through the acquisition of property management service provider propper’s Victorian rent roll, effective 25 July 2023.

This latest expansion follows the agency’s recent First National Clayton JXRE and First National South Morang rent roll acquisitions.

The series of acquisitions which occurred within weeks of one another effectively doubled the Areal Property business virtually overnight and brought their property management portfolio to over 4,000 properties.

Jimmy Lim, chief executive of Areal Property, shared that the takeover of proppers rent roll presented a valuable opportunity.

He revealed that with propper’s strong presence in NSW, Areal Property saw the potential to offer localised services to their landlords and tenants within the Victorian market.

“This allowed us to come together to overcome the challenges they faced, for the greater good and with their clients best interests at heart,” he added.

And while there have been intentions to scale the business’s property management operations, Mr Lim noted that shifts in market conditions have fast-tracked these plans.

“The recent changes in the market are seeing us put our acquisition and growth strategy into action much sooner than we had anticipated,” he said.

He professed it was “hard to fathom” the business only started less than four years ago, but now has over 4, 000 properties under management. “We doubled in size overnight!” Mr Lim added.

The executive attributed the strong growth not only to “respectful merging and acquisitions” but also “organic growth”.

He explained the business success can be attributed to their dual focus on thinking strategically looking at the big picture while also paying attention to the finer details.

“These acquisitions have arisen through a level of mutual respect that we’ve established with our peers in the industry – born of the desire to provide their clients with the very best service; what we are known for,” he explained.

And while rent roll acquisitions is one of the focal points of their current growth strategy, Mr Lim emphasised that rent roll retention is of greater importance in the current property and economic climate.

“It’s this level of continuous improvement that our team leads with that underpins our success and will futureproof our business and retain our rent roll,” he added.

To cater to its growing rent roll, Mr Lim revealed the business has also expanded its workforce, with the company now “just shy of our 100th team member”.

“Relationships are important, our people have built our business so we believe in investing in them first and foremost.

“We’ll always seek to retain talent, in each instance we’ve onboarded the existing property managers and welcomed them to our business,” he stated.

As for what the future holds, Mr Lim shared a detailed look into their “ambitious” expansion plans.

“We are really excited at what the next 12 months look like for our business, at the rate of growth we’re experiencing.

“We now have five office locations – Box Hill, Hawthorn, Point Cook, Clayton and South Morang in Victoria, and we have plans to expand interstate into QLD and NSW once portfolios in Victoria stabilise,” he stated.

Over the next couple of years, Mr Lim said they are striving to “uncover the next level of success” by having over 50,000 properties under management.

“[However], given the pace at which we’re growing, we’re thrilled to be on-track to achieving this goal much sooner than expected,” he stated.

Mr Lim also acknowledged that while they have strong ambitions for growth, there are things that can throw a wrench into their plans.

“We understand that the market is ever changing and evolving, there will always be factors outside of control, so it’s key to focus on those areas that we can control. Those factors that will continue to set us apart,” he said.

Giving a look into the current conditions in the Victorian market, he noted there are investment properties that will be coming up for sale. This is largely to do with the changes to this year’s Victorian budget.

“Local and foreign property investors who cannot afford to keep their investment properties anymore are definitely looking at an exit strategy,” he stated.

With an expected increase in supply, Mr Lim predicts there will be a price adjustment in the short term, but the overall outlook remains positive.

“Overall, Australia is a desirable property market for long-term investment compared to the rest of the world, due to the population growth and supply shortage.

Lastly, he underlined the business’s growth plans are “about the long term, not short quick wins”.

“[While] we have grown quickly through rent roll growth. The most [important] aspect of any rent roll in any economic climate is always putting your clients first. It’s as simple as that,” he concluded.

Rent roll mergers catapult Victorian agency’s growth ambitions
jimmy lim areal property reb irp5bi
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