The ERA property group plans to increase its market presence as 2009 unfolds, positioning it strongly for the next property market upturn.
That's the word from Gerhard Kotzé, CEO of the ERA South Africa property group, who announced this week that the group has acquired the long-standing Carit Estates group of agencies, which has a strong presence in the Western Cape rural and coastal markets.
Carit Estates was established 40 years ago. Today it addresses the needs of the complete spectrum of property clients including the sale, letting and auction of residential, retirement and agricultural properties.
"With 15 offices and an enviable track record, the Carit Estates group, which will be re-branded under the ERA banner, is a very important strategic acquisition that immediately strengthens our presence in the Western Cape," says Kotzé.
Maria de Villiers, ERA's Western Cape regional manager, adds that while the group already has several successful Western Cape offices, it has not been strong in the rural areas, which is why the Carit Estates group dovetails so well.
Kotzé says the group has not escaped unscathed from the property slowdown but that the tide will inevitably turn and that the months ahead will see the group selectively seeking out strong franchisees.
"The idea is to establish a bigger, better footprint countrywide, reinforcing our presence in markets where we already participate and entering new markets where we believe there is potential.
"It's not so much a question of growth for the sake of growth, but rather one of improved strategic presence which will ensure we are able to maximise economies of scale and offer improved national coverage for consumers in all nine provinces."
He says the basic ERA formula will not change. The group will continue to service the needs of the market from entry level to top-end luxury homes, as well as property rentals, holiday rentals, commercial and industrial properties, agricultural and game farms and new property developments.
Kotzé's comments come in the wake of news that ERA Real Estate as an international brand continued to show strong growth last year and notwithstanding global problems, added many new offices to the group and expanded others.
Brenda Casserly, US-based president and CEO of the company, says confidence and growth in the ERA franchise systems continued at a consistent rate and that the new additions are taking advantage of "timely marketing tools that are designed to succeed in any market".
Issued by ERA South Africa