Conditions favourable for steady growth

If an estate agency is seen to be growing fast, it will attract top level agents to it – and these will help it to expand further, says Mike Greeff, CEO of Greeff Properties.

Greeff Properties has in the last 18 months broadened its southern suburbs operational base to take in the City Bowl, Camps Bay, Tokai, Noordhoek, Fish Hoek and Simon’s Town – and in every case, said Greeff, the new staff manning these offices have come to him asking to be part of the team.

“We did put out the message that we were very keen to grow but we seldom approached anyone: the new staff by and large came to us of their own accord, recognising that they would benefit from the intensive marketing and branding to which we are committed.”

Right now, said Greeff, is a good time to be establishing new offices in property because trading conditions are now more favourable – and continue to improve steadily.

“In my view, at least 35% of Cape Peninsula home sellers have unrealistic ideas about what their properties are worth. Despite this, there are many sellers now who have come to terms with market realities and this is a major reason for the increased activity.

“In addition, the increase in tenants (as opposed to buyers) and the lack of new stock have made the buy to rent market more attractive. Serious investors – as at least two recent surveys have shown – are growing their property portfolios in the belief that although property does not rival a well chosen share portfolio, it is the less volatile, more reliable asset channel.”

Asked how these and other positive factors (especially the sound fiscal measures adopted by the government) are likely to impact on prices, Greeff said,

“We have in Cape Peninsula property very definitely turned the corner. Steady price rises are now being seen. I do not think that value growth this year will be spectacular but it is likely to be over 5% by the beginning of 2011, which means that now is the right time to buy.”

In many of the Cape Peninsula’s more upmarket areas, said Greeff, the dire difficulties facing those applying for bonds are not the handicap they are elsewhere because the client bases of the more affluent Cape Peninsula suburbs include numerous buyers able to pay cash or with incomes so large that the banks have no difficulty in giving them a high credit rating.

“Fortunately for Greeff Properties,” said Greeff, “we have always had a strong focus in these upmarket areas and this is now definitely working to our advantage.”

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