In a move that took most of the industry by surprise this week, premium brand Belle Property announced that it had merged with Melbourne heavyweight group hockingstuart. While the merger makes sense for Belle, providing it a valuable leg up into the Victorian market, questions around how valuable it will be for the Belle brand are relevant as hockingstuart will continue to trade as it is now.
It is certainly something to crow about and Belle head honcho Peter Hanscombe was quick off the mark, surprising even the agents involved. Here is the release from Belle HO.
Monday, 15 April 2019 – Boutique real estate brand, Belle Property has merged with leading Melbourne-based group, hockingstuart as part of a broader strategy to strengthen the brand’s reach into Victoria.
hockingstuart was the first agency in Victoria to publish a property magazine, the first to conduct auctions on Sundays and in 2017 it launched an industry-first suite of digital marketing tools, changing the way that customers interact with properties online.
“We have had our sights on Victoria, but as a mature and sophisticated market, we needed to ensure we aligned with the right brand. hockingstuart is a well-respected agency with a long tradition in the core premium markets in Victoria and it’s a brand of astounding innovation with many ‘firsts’ under its belt,” said Peter Hanscomb, Belle Property CEO.
Acting CEO and Director of hockingstuart Armadale, Andrew James said the group is thrilled to be joining a premium operator with roots across the country.
“We are extremely excited about this merger between hockingstuart and Belle Property as we will be part of a national brand that will take our group to the next level; helping to position us for success in an ever-changing and competitive real-estate landscape.”
The merger is Belle Property’s first venture into Victoria, accelerating the group’s growth ahead of its competitors as the largest premium real estate agency in the country.
Peter said the premium brand had been looking to break into the Victorian market provided the right opportunity arose with a dynamic and progressive agency that would align with Belle Property’s approach.
The merger of the two companies will see Belle Property gain more than 40 offices and 600 people across Victoria’s premium lifestyle suburbs with coverage in Melbourne, the Mornington Peninsula, Geelong, the Surf Coast, and regional Victoria.
Peter will take on the role of CEO across both groups, with Belle Property’s Adam Joske to lead business development in the area as Head of Victoria.
Belle Property which launched in 2000, was franchised and re-launched by Peter in 2007 and has since grown continuously, with more than 85 offices operating across NSW, QLD, SA, ACT and the NT.
“Due to our focus on innovation, customer experience, Academy training, and market-leading results, we have attracted great talent and strong business minds that have allowed us to continue to grow and expand,” said Peter.
“We are excited about the opportunity with hockingstuart and hold its people and customers in the highest regard, so it is vital to us that the transition is as seamless as possible.
“We know that Belle Property is already recognised in Melbourne via our unique relationship with the lifestyle magazine Belle that shares our namesake, so we have already seen a positive response to the news from hockingstuart’s team who are enthusiastic about the change to come,” said Peter.