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Ouwens Casserly ‘orange stars’ shine bright in sales and customer service

Girl power seemed to be the name of the game in the Ouwens Casserly Real Estate EOFY Awards held recently, with Cynthia Sajkunovic taking out the coveted number one agent spot.

Director Alexander Ouwens said the awards reflect the customer-service focus of Ouwens Casserly rather than focusing simply on numbers and dollar figures.

“As directors, the awards we hold most dearly are the values and customer service based awards,” Mr Ouwens said, who is also the youngest ever and currently serving President of the Real Estate Institute of South Australia.

Two agents, Anita McKendrick and Steve Meins shared the Orange Star award, which is the award for biggest contribution to company recognition. Agents must have a minimum of 10 buyers and 10 vendor reviews to qualify.

The values-based award for biggest contribution to company’s core values was given to Shelby Rosenzweig.

“We wanted to move away from the commissions-based award system, as it’s fairly standard across the industry and we are probably the only industry that measures how much an associate earns; whereas lawyers or in that sort of industry they aren’t rewarded for that,” Mr Ouwens said.

This is the third time the company has run the awards since it was established in 2014. Along with co-director Nathan Casserly, Mr Ouwens has overseen the growth of OC Real Estate from 2 to 90 staff in just four years. They have offices in Adelaide, Henley Beach and Collinswood.

“We manage about 1300 rental properties and will sell between 700-800 residential properties in 12 months. This year our project business will sell 200-300 properties. So at the end of this year, we will reach 1000 sales per annum,” Mr Ouwens said.

OC Real Estate’s core market is the blue chip suburbs in Adelaide’s eastern suburbs and coastline including Henley Beach.

Alex Ouwens

“We have seen 10-15% growth in some areas in our core markets. However, some outer markets have been affected by big manufacturing plants in Adelaide. So that brings the overall growth figures down to only 3-4 per cent.”

Despite this, Mr Ouwens said Adelaide has been consistent in its pricing and is leading the country in national growth figures.

“Adelaide at the moment is seeing the biggest gap in prices between Sydney and Melbourne in the past 15-20 years. Melbourne and Sydney’s pricing have taken off in the past five years but Adelaide has been consistent with a 2-4 per cent growth per annum. In the last six months, CoreLogic figures show Adelaide was leading the nation in growth figures.

He said Adelaide would not be as affected by changes to investor activity and stamp duty that came in on July 1.

“We are seeing interstate investors coming in to purchase in the $400-700,000 price bracket. They can still find some nice character cottages or terraces that need to be renovated. In the course of springtime, I think Adelaide will see a strong season as we’ve seen a big lift in interstate investment.”

“We had some state-based changes in taxation and in the latest state budget, the government announced there would be an extra 4 per cent stamp duty on foreign buyers. Wherever you put a blockage, there will always be winding back. We only have about 8 per cent foreign buyers in South Australia, so here the changes shouldn’t have a great effect.

“We are definitely calling upon the state government to put in more measures for first home buyers. The  State government, to their credit, have put in concessions for CBD apartments.

“But I wouldn’t be surprised if we have a change of government in March because of their (the Liberals) promises will be to take that bank tax away. Labor has been in power for 15 years. It will be interesting to see what happens in next election. In polls, at the moment the Liberals are slightly leading which is technically better for the real estate environment and business. But we will have to wait and see what happens.”

 

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