Aida has increased its footprint in KwaZulu-Natal by opening a new franchise in Pinetown, and owner and principal Jackie Letsatsi is upbeat about the prospects of the office, in spite of the current slow-down in the property market.
"I take a long-term view and see many opportunities opening up in the local property market. We have a enormous pool of aspiring property owners in South Africa who increasingly view having their own home as a valuable asset.
"Just think of the long way that township properties have come in the past few years and how values have grown," she says.
"Many consumers living in townships are now firmly established on the property ladder and as they move up the rungs, entry-level buyers will be waiting in the wings. To me this implies a healthy and sustainable market."
Letsatsi adds that Pinetown has a lot to offer to a very wide range of buyers. "The market caters for everybody, with prices for large two-bedroom flats in older blocks starting as low as R400 000. Units in new townhouse developments cost between R500 000 and R800 000, while family homes sell at prices ranging from R700 000 to R2m.
"But while entry-level properties offer very good value, we are not just targeting the lower end of the market," she says. " We will also be serving Westville, Reservoir Hills and Kloof."
Letsatsi, who has spent the past decade as a commercial and retail leasing agent with various big SA companies, says she decided to open her own estate agency after moving from Johannesburg to Westville near Pinetown.
"Coming from Johannesburg, I have been well aware of Aida's reputation as an outstanding real estate brand. However, I have done my homework and approached several large property groups but when the chips were down, Aida came out tops.
"The group's quick and professional response, its attention to detail and work ethic swayed my decision in favour of joining Aida. Since signing up, I have been very impressed with the measure of support I have received and am very confident of continued support," she says.
"Being associated with a well-known brand such as Aida, which offers excellent training to franchisees as well as agents, and the best tools and business model, will give us a sound footing in the market."
The office, which is fully BEE compliant, is already open for business and Letsatsi plans to increase the current complement of two agents to eight by the end of May.
Issued by Aida National Franchises