Rarely has there been such conjecture in public commentary about the prospects for the real estate market in 2017. “Listings are tight.” “Property is too expensive for first home buyers.”
So we awaited our February results with more than usual interest. Our result of $3.4 billion was actually a slight increase over last year which, as our readers will remember, was a great market. Indeed, both Ray White in NSW and Victoria had personal bests for the month. Our sales numbers were only slightly behind last year with the factor of increased values – particularly in Sydney – having a positive impact.
Most markets were similar to last year but Western Australia is still experiencing lack of confidence – perhaps further undermined by its imminent state election?
Our Commercial group of businesses came in at $152 million, slightly behind 2016. The sale of the Precinct at Stuart Drive, Townsville by Stephen Kidd from Ray White Commercial (QLD) for $22million further underlined the strength of the investment market and the preparedness for investors to look further afield for higher income returns.
A strong month for our partners at Loan Market with lodgements coming in at over $1 billion and settlements reaching more than $622 million.
When people discuss the property market they invariably focus on sales but property management news can be just as revealing. In all the states except Western Australia, property management vacancy rates hover between 1 and 2 per cent – an acceptable figure for a well balanced market. In Perth however, the vacancy rate is now over 30 per cent. An astonishingly high rate. It illustrates how many people left the state post the mining boom some years ago. No wonder there has been pressure on prices in Perth and its regional centres.
Our customer satisfaction ratings continue to show strength with over 1,000 new clients rating Ray White service a nine or 10 out of 10 in February. Overall, our NPS score sits around positive 74.
What’s new at Ray White
The White family is pleased to announce that Wealth Market is now open. A team of 20 professionals has commenced offering its services to the company’s clients and the community. The need for offering specialist financial advice is significant. Many of the 200,000 property investors for whom we manage properties have already responded with interest.
Every year in February, our corporate teams come together at our Crows Nest conference. This year, on the the Gold Coast, we explored our learnings of the past year and direction for the next 12 months. An enormous commitment has been made by the White family in the development of technology products to enhance the efficiencies of our real estate businesses to their existing and potential clients.
A highlight of our conference was our awards evening with George Ajaka receiving the White family prize. His role at White & Partners has been exceptional in the delivery of some wonderful property value offerings to our investor clients. Jason Alford claimed the Chairman’s Cup. His role in the development and delivery of some superb technology products has been stunning.
Our Commercial operation in NSW continue to expand with the opening of its third office, Ray White Commercial Greater Sydney South. We are also proud to introduce David Lyons and Tony Braham who join the Commercial NSW team and bring with them a combined 71 years of experience.
Once again we welcome new offices to the network. Last month we mentioned that the leading business in Western Australia – Albany – returned to the Ray White brand. How wonderful when market leading businesses return to the network. Our own version of the prodigal son!
This month we have seen a great number of new residential and rural businesses join the Group. In Victoria, new offices have opened in Wangaratta, Werribee and Truganina. In Queensland, new businesses have launched in Bridgeman Downs, Cleveland and Victoria Point. In South Australia, Ray White Port Lincoln is now open. In NSW, new offices have opened in Moorebank, Empire Bay and Rouse Hill, and our Rural business welcomes new operations in Gunnedah and Miles.
In New Zealand during February, the final offices of the Leaders Real Estate Group onboarded to Ray White. In total 15 main offices and 7 branches have migrated over to the Ray White brand which now sees the total New Zealand network moved to 156 offices with expected turnover of $11.2billion per annum.
Our team in South Australia has announced it is now a key partner of the Port Adelaide Football Club. It’s a fantastic opportunity to enhance our brand presence in the state and it’s also exciting to align with a business that embraces the digital and social sphere as impressively as Port Adelaide does.