Last four month have seen a doubling in property activity in the Constantia Valley, says Rawson MD
The steady growth of Rawson Properties’ Constantia franchise, now employing nine people (including seven agents) testifies not only to the efficiency and competence of the young franchisee, Eugene Pienaar, but also to the fact that the residential property market here is now recovering, after a fairly prolonged downturn, says Bill Rawson, Chairman of Rawson Properties.

Tony Clarke, the MD of the Rawson Group, pointed out recently that, with an average of eight sales per month, this franchise has achieved a significant foothold in the territory in which it has now been operating under Pienaar for almost three years – and Pienaar himself has shown that during April close to 50% of the area’s sales were done by Rawson Properties

“In general,” said Pienaar, “the last four months have seen a doubling up of activities in every sphere. This should be telling potential buyers that the long awaited bottoming out of prices in the residential market is now close at hand – although some find this difficult to accept, we are no longer seeing a deflation in prices and in one or two instances we have even seen slight increases.”

Greg Kruyer, a new senior recruit to the sales team, who has recently achieved three sales in three weeks, said,

“What we are witnessing is a meeting of minds between sellers and buyers: sellers are now accepting far more realistic prices and buyers have begun to acknowledge that they can no longer put in ludicrous offers in the hope that they will somehow achieve an agreement.”

Further evidence that the market is recovering steadily, said Pienaar, can be seen in the fact that it now takes on average ten to twelve weeks to sell a correctly priced home. Only half a year ago, he said, it often took twice as long. Attendance at show houses, he added, is also well up and there has been a doubling up in requests for valuations, a service which, he said, his franchise is particularly proficient.

Asked what he considers the main weaknesses still affecting the estate agency profession at the Cape, Pienaar said that what sets a good agency apart from the also-rans is “the ability to strategise”.

“I am not giving away our trade secrets,” he said, “but it remains true that a lot of agencies are inexpert when it comes to sourcing buyers, they fish in the wrong pond. Many, too, do not present their sellers with what we would regard as a real business plan. They are not up to date with their markets and cannot scientifically justify the valuations they give, which, in our opinion, are often inaccurate.”

Pienaar said that 70% of his franchise’s Constantia sales are now in the R3 to R8 million bracket but another sign of the growing confidence is that there has recently been greatly increased interest in the R10 million plus bracket.

“I do not make bullish predictions purely for the sake of talking up the market,” he said, “but I think we can say that by the end of 2010 most Constantia properties will have appreciated by between 7 and 10%.”

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