Published on February 6th, 2017
Elders’ real estate foot print expands
Elders, now in its 177th year, is taking a new direction in the real estate business. The Company’s leadership, strategy and branding are undergoing a refresh, alongside new technologies enabling the franchise and company owned offices to work seamlessly as one team.
As a key component of its strategic eight point plan, the Elders group is targeting aggressive growth in its real estate business by expanding the existing network of over 900 sales people and 300 property managers. Last year this team contributed to Elders’ $15.7 million improvement in its end of year financial results, recording a $56.2 million EBIT. This included a margin of $29.2 million contributed by the Real Estate operations. Growth in earnings has been achieved through the recruitment of quality people, excellent market conditions, business improvement initiatives and acquisitions of company owned offices all implemented under a new Real Estate strategy being driven by general manager, Tom Russo.
Appointed as general manager of real estate in January 2016, Mr Russo has assumed responsibility for the strategic development of the national Elders Real Estate group, including 279 points of presence across rural and residential agency, real estate franchise, property management, water trading and home loans.
Previously as the general manager of strategy and business development for Elders, Mr Russo played a pivotal role in devising and implementing the turnaround strategy for Elders, and now has his sights set on positioning Elders as the market leader in Real Estate.
“Our Board has backed a new strategic direction for the Real Estate business, which is heavily focussed around increased growth and a greater brand presence, right across Australia,” he said.
“We are focussed on lifting the service offering for our teams, franchise principals and, most importantly, clients – ensuring we’ve got innovative solutions and investing in experienced professionals to achieve operational excellence.
The Elders broadacre and farmland agency network is entrenched in communities throughout all key Australian agricultural areas, with many Elders sales representatives considered to be doyens of the industry. This business has performed exceptionally well in recent times as agricultural assets have been keenly sought after.
“It’s an exciting time to be an investor in Australian agriculture as we see a perfect storm of robust commodity demand and prices, excellent seasonal conditions, and low interest rates creating unprecedented interest in quality Australian agricultural assets,” Mr Russo said.
“We are also witnessing the emergence of new classes of investors into Australian agricultural properties as a result of the strong macro-economic drivers for the sector and the desire to invest in highly productive land to achieve food security in the fast growing Asia Pacific region,” he said. 2
Similarly, the Elders residential agency network has performed very well in robust housing market across the majority of Australia.
With interest rates remaining on hold and a delay in the usual influx of properties hitting the market over spring, Elders Real Estate has launched its ‘Summer Selling Campaign’ encouraging vendors to take advantage of the current sellers’ market and active pool of buyers right across the nation.
Elders national real estate manager Andrew Brien says, “the longer, colder winter saw people holding on to properties instead of getting them to market during the usual peak spring period, because of this we are seeing a higher number of properties coming onto the market over summer.”
Mr Brien has recently relocated from Elders’ head office in Adelaide to the largest Elders Real Estate office in Darwin to further implement the new strategy, working as a national team.
With many new offices and franchise agreements ready for 2017, Elders plans to continue integrating new offices across Australia, in line with its strategic growth strategy.
David Cook, principal of Elders Real Estate Barossa in South Australia is the latest office to transition to the Elders brand.
“Becoming an Elders franchisee has opened a whole range of marketing tools that will benefit our clients and their properties,” Mr Cook explained.
“Working within the Elders network from the east coast, right through to the NT has enabled us to grow as a business and showcase the Barossa to a whole new set of buyer pools.”