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Ray White launches RWC Retail

The Ray White Group has announced the launch of RWC Retail, with the new business aiming to provide a dedicated team for the sale of retail property across Australia.

RWC Retail’s core focus will be on multi-tenanted retail/shopping centres, large format retail, freestanding retail, and retail development sites.

Lachlan O’Keeffe and Michael Feltoe will lead the business in partnership with the White family and have a strong background in retail transactions.

RWC Retail Director Lachlan O’Keeffe said retail had been gaining attention in recent years, particularly post-Covid, as people wanted to get out and make the most of in-person experiences for things like shopping and dining.

“The retail investment landscape has witnessed an unprecedented surge in interest from individual investors in recent years,” Mr O’Keeffe said. 

“As more individuals seek to diversify their portfolios and explore alternative investment options, the need for specialised services tailored to their unique requirements becomes paramount.”

He said in the lead-up to Covid, retail was on the nose and was starting to plateau before rapidly turning around. 

“When Covid happened, everyone really started going to their local supermarkets and wanted to get out of the house and go to restaurants and do retail-orientated things,” he said.

Mr O’Keeffe said retail also lends itself to being more well-known by investors given it’s typically located in high-traffic, community-oriented areas that get a lot of attention compared to other asset classes such as industrial options.

He said from an investment point of view, many of the benefits of retail property come from the security of the lease and the fact they are tied to CPI.

“People are often buying retail for the covenant,” he said.

“People probably care more so that it’s a Red Rooster first and foremost, rather than its location.“

He said investors were not concerned about buying a retail property in regional locations because they know there is a 15-year head lease with a national tenant, such as Red Rooster, and that’s what they are effectively wanting to buy.

Originally forming their partnership under the Ray White Commercial Queensland business, Mr O’Keeffe and Mr Feltoe have become known for their market-leading results in the industry. 

The pair set the record for the lowest yield for a Queensland supermarket with the sale of IGA Tugun, which sold on a 3.94 per cent yield, and recorded the lowest yield for a Red Rooster in Queensland with the sale of Red Rooster Nundah, which sold on a 3.81 per cent yield. 

Mr O’Keeffe said the transactions occurred at a time when there was strong demand for supermarkets and fast food outlets on the back of the Covid lockdowns.

He said the locations also offered good access to upcoming infrastructure upgrades, which are scheduled to start in the coming years, along with solid lease terms, which made them very appealing to buyers.

According to Mr O’Keeffe RWC Retail is also looking to tap into the extensive Ray White residential network.

“We’re exploring how we can reach more people through the network,” he said.

“That would be through more marketing reach and getting residential agents involved where they might have high net worth clients that may not have considered commercial.”

Ray White Group Managing Director Dan White said they have a long track record of success with market specialists in their respective catchments.

“With the ever-increasing number of first time private investors entering the retail sector, we realised there was no better time to launch RWC Retail and provide a dedicated team of retail property specialists,” Mr White said. 

Mr Feltoe said many investors were looking at retail investments for the first time and wanted to team up with a trustworthy brand they could rely on to help them find the right property. 

He said they will look at educating and guiding investors through the nuances of retail property and build upon the Ray White legacy of over 120 years.

“Tapping into the most successful residential network in Australasia, and bringing high net worth individuals across to commercial, is something we look forward to exploring,” he said.

RWC Retail is supported by analyst Regan Killian, executive assistant Marli Patel and the broader in-house corporate team.

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Rowan Crosby

Rowan Crosby is a senior journalist at Elite Agent specialising in finance and real estate.