Ray White is optimistic about the real estate business heading into 2020 after a successful 2019 which saw the group top its previous year’s sales numbers and record its best-ever month in November, despite challenging market conditions.
“If you were to believe the headlines at the beginning of the year, you would be forgiven for thinking we were in for a shocking time,” Mr White said.
“I’m proud of the way our members adjusted to the challenges of the market. A combination of resilience and focus on delivering quality service that recognised the reality of a tougher market ensured that our momentum continued during the year.
“Our ability to attract and develop young leadership talent future-proofs us, and that’s been evident in how we’ve turned this year around.”
It wasn’t only sales where Ray White excelled in 2019, they also welcomed many new businesses to the fold, with 141 new franchise agreements signed, including 81 franchise renewals, keeping the total office network at more than 1,000 across Australia, New Zealand and Indonesia.
New South Wales
There were three new offices opened in the region the business refers to as New South Wales Blue – essentially the blue-chip network which services the premium suburbs of Sydney.
There was also a significant business change in Woollahra, where Ray White’s number one salesperson for the past six years Gavin Rubinstein opened Ray White TRG.
Mr Rubinstein had been part of the leading Ray White Double Bay office for the past nine years.
Ray White Sydney CEO Jason Andrew said Mr Rubenstein choosing to stay with the brand, despite everyone believing he was set to open his own boutique business, demonstrated the group’s strength in inner Sydney.
“Scores of people had previously defected brands to join boutiques, but coming back the other way was uncommon,” Mr Andrew said.
“Some challenges amongst our competitors throughout New South Wales has created a huge year ahead for our state year in terms of recruitment.
“We approach this with the classic White family mentality – always the hunter, never hunted.”
Ray White NSW CEO Andrew McCulloch credited the group’s comprehensive franchise offering in the marketplace with “enticing people away from their old brand”.
“Kellyville and Carnes Hill both joined us from other brands and we saw the expansion of Brighton Le Sands, with their second office opening in Ramsgate Beach,” Mr McCulloch said.
“We had two internal mergers with Mt Druitt taking over the old Hassall Grove office and merging the two businesses into a brand-new, larger Mt Druitt office.
“Campsie also acquired the Homebush business and pulled it into their newly-fitted Campsie site.
“2020 is looking extremely positive with three live applications running for the greater Hills District, a new office currently being fitted out in Liverpool and talk of multiple offices in The Blue Mountains.
“We also have strong interest in the South Coast, Newcastle and Port Stephens. We aim to add 15 new offices across NSW in 2020.”
Two of the Queensland network’s best-regarded agents and top business owners expanded from their established markets in New Farm and Spring Hill across the Brisbane River.
Ray White New Farm owners Matt Lancashire and Haesley Cush, together with two of their top agents from New Farm Scott Darwon and Brandon Wortley, now also trade as Ray White Bulimba and Ray White East Brisbane to service the inner-city riverside community.
Ray White Queensland CEO Tony Warland said 2019 taught them that growth was a necessity, and only when they embraced it were there any benefits.
“There isn’t a highlight I can single out, but when you look at our Queensland businesses, there’s one clear theme,” Mr Warland said.
“That’s when people within Ray White, either through succession or an existing Ray White business, simply carry on with the ongoing success and values we all hold so close to our heart when being Ray White members and leaders.
“More leadership is the definition of growth, and this creates retention because it’s not simply on a count basis, it’s on a value proposition.”
Victoria and Tasmania
Ray White also welcomed five new businesses in Victoria, with Narre Warren South, Horsham, Ararat, Kyneton and Tatura joining the family.
Ray White Victoria and Tasmania CEO Stephen Dullens said, much like the rest of the country, 2019 was a challenging year for the Victorian real estate market.
“Our group has worked tirelessly on the training and development of our people and businesses to ensure that they’re powered with the knowledge and skills to make the most of the opportunities which presented themselves at the start of 2019,” Mr Dullen said.
He said that as the year came to an end, they were seeing signs of the market recovering, with Ray White Victoria and Tasmania’s second-best month ever for the month of November.
“We’re in a strong position and ready to take advantage of all the growth opportunities that come our way throughout 2020.”
South Australia and Northern Territory
It is a similar story in South Australia, with the state now boasting 53 offices and having growth ambitions for the year ahead.
Ray White SA started the year with two experienced Ray White agents, Sam Doman and Tahlia Gabrielli, opening their own offices in Tea Tree Gully and Mt Gambier.
In the second half of the year, South Coast agents Nici Godwin and Nathan Fry opened their Ray White Goolwa/Victor Harbor office; Daniel and Megan Eramiha, from the Eyre Peninsula started their Ray White franchise at Ceduna/Streaky Bay; Mark O’Meagher and Bree Christie bought Ray White Clare Valley; and Justin Kurenda recently joined Adam Keane and Matt Dickinson’s long-established business, and have since relocated to open the Ray White Glenelg flagship office.
Ray White SA/NT CEO Matthew Lindblom reported success for South Australia in 2019.
“Our ambition now is to grow our market share in SA beyond 20 per cent and our new business owners are such an important part of this growth,” Mr Lindblom said.
“Our momentum in SA is beyond what we’ve seen before, as evidenced by our personal best for unconditional sales value in November 2019.
“2019 has been a strong year, however with the opportunities we have on the horizon, 2020 is shaping up to be even more successful.”
Whilst the WA market continued to challenge the industry, Ray White’s share of the market grew again by 1.7 per cent on the previous 12 months, making the WA network the fastest growing market for the group.
Ray White WA CEO Mark Whiteman was pleased with the growth, which he said was underpinned by key recruits in past years now starting to really add volume to the group’s performance.
“Vivien Yap’s two businesses, along with Jody Fewster and Deborah Brady’s business, have reshaped our business in the lucrative Western Suburbs where our data suggests we are now the market leader,” Mr Whiteman said.
“Following up these recruits was always going to be vital and we’re delighted that the Ray White Inner North team chose to join the network.
“Matt Seabrook, Simon Pigliardo and Arash Kalani lead a strong growing business in the Inner Northern Suburbs from North Perth. Strong across both sales and property management, they’ve moved rapidly to market leader with more growth to come.”
Other additions for the group came in the form of Ray White Kalgoorlie, where Leah Quince opened her own agency, as well as the reopening of Ray White Fremantle with new business owners Brett and Julia Oliver, Candice Geiles and Rob Crawford.
“Our new Fremantle business is a wonderful combination of Ray White and our sister company Loan Market, offering the community of Fremantle and surrounds a unique depth in services,” Mr Whiteman said.
“We continue to chase our potential with more growth ahead in 2020.”
The Ray White network in New Zealand added 10 new offices in 2019, taking the total to 177 offices across the country.
In addition to this, there were 18 renewals of existing network members, built on the back of strong recruitment in 2018 with the Austar Group joining Ray White throughout West Auckland.
Several successful offices joined the network in 2019, including Ray White Swanson in West Auckland – which has grown to be the market leader in their trade area, and two new offices in the Western Bay of Plenty at Ohope and Whakatane.
The group has also opened a new flagship office in New Plymouth that will provide services in sales and property management, and a further office in Auckland has been confirmed for the area of Avondale in early 2020.
Ray White NZ Chief Executive Carey Smith said the additional offices have added to an already strong market share which now stands at 19.5 per cent, and the company now manages close to 18,000 properties in the property management portfolio.
“During the past number of years, Ray White has had a strong trajectory in growth and this will continue in 2020,” Mr Smith said.
“Our company is becoming the market leader in many markets across New Zealand and it’s not only the attraction of offices but the additional salespeople the company is attracting that allows careers to be built successfully within the leadership and brand of Ray White.”