|Chas Everitt International, one of the fastest-growing property groups in South Africa, has begun its planned expansion into KwaZulu-Natal with the opening of its first office in the province at Ballito on the north coast. |
A consortium of KZN businessmen and developers has invested in the establishment of the group's regional network and has appointed Francois Wannenberg as regional manager to oversee the implementation and operation of its first five franchises.
He says the Ballito office, which began trading at the end of July, will be followed by an office in Umhlanga at the end of August and another in Durban 's Berea in October.
"More than 20 agents have already joined the group and we will increase this number and consolidate our presence before opening offices in Hillcrest and Margate early next year."
Chas Everitt Franchising CEO Barry Davies says: "There is a lot of hard work ahead, but we plan to firmly establish Chas Everitt International as a leading brand in KZN. This will be facilitated by the fact that the consortium driving our expansion into the province is headed by high-profile local business figures.
" We are also going to build on the fact that a high percentage of homes in the coastal markets are owned and bought by people from Gauteng, the Free State and the Western Cape, areas where we already have a presence.
"In addition, we will be launching an extensive marketing campaign, and are planning special promotions during the year-end holiday season. The group's philosophy is to acquire clients for life and we will concentrate on offering our clients a full spectrum of services, whether they want to buy, sell or invest."
Wannenburg notes, however, that prices of coastal property in KZN are a cause for concern. "Prices are unrealistic. A price spike in reaction to a period of huge demand has set in motion a chain of events where sellers are comparing their properties with those that realised unusually high prices and are unwilling to scale down expectations in line with what the market will now bear.
"Market activity is slowing down as a result, and asking prices will have to be adjusted to prevent a market slump. Consequently, comprehensive and up-to-date market analyses will be an important part of our offering to sellers, in addition to true national exposure for their properties via print, TV and internet advertising."
Wannenberg, a qualified mechanical engineer, also has experience in designing IT systems in the property industry and in real estate sales. He was a top-selling agent for the Chas Everitt International Pretoria East franchise before being recruited for his current position.