The harsh realities of the 2018 property market have been well-publicised over the course of the year, and most areas have experience everything from price stagnation to notable declines. Somerset West appears to have successfully evaded any downturn in property values, but has experienced a decrease in the number of sales taking place.
This drop in market activity hasn’t slowed the local Rawson Property Group franchise, however, which is reporting record-breaking sales and rentals numbers, despite the challenging conditions.
“Somerset West has always been a very resilient market from a value perspective, and this year is proving to be no exception,” says Rawson Properties Helderberg franchisee, Schalk van der Merwe. “Our average freehold property prices have remained stable, where other areas are facing declines, and our sectional title units and plot sales have grown by a very respectable 4.3% and 14.3%, respectively.”
While property intelligence platform, Lightstone, reports a 25% decrease in the total number of unit sales taking place in Somerset West, van der Merwe says the local Rawson Properties team has experienced a 26% increase in sales.
“We’re particularly proud of this statistic given the drop in market activity and the tough economic climate that is making affordability difficult for everyone,” he says. “It goes to show that with the right team behind you, you really can make the most of any market, regardless of what the rest of the industry is doing.”
Rawson’s Somerset West Rentals team reports even more spectacular achievements, with the number of properties under their management growing by a meteoric 130%. Van der Merwe attributes this success, as well as that of the sales team, to the strength of co-operative teamwork and a commitment to customer service powered by cutting-edge technology.
“There’s no denying that the market is very competitive right now,” he says, “but as they say: when the going gets tough, the tough get going. We’ve put a lot of time and effort into building dedicated teams that are highly-trained, effective and efficient in all aspects of their work. We also don’t view property as a solo game – we all contribute to delivering better customer service across the board.
“The fact that we’re doing so well in this difficult climate is particularly gratifying because it means our approach is doing what it’s designed to – giving our customers the best possible support towards achieving their property goals.”
In this, van der Merwe says technology has played an important role, enabling both sales and rental agents to provide faster, more efficient and more comprehensive service to clients.
“Real world, personal experience will always be at the heart of our business, but technology has definitely helped us refine and expand our services, particularly in the rental space,” he says. “We are now able to fulfil a much larger role than just that of a rental agent - we can proactively manage our clients’ assets to maximise both their short- and long-term returns.”
This, van der Merwe says, ties neatly into changing market dynamics driven by up-and-coming generations like the Millennials.
“Customer experience has always been vital, but it’s becoming even more so with modern generations who respond to brands that inspire loyalty through exceptional service,” he says. “We’ve put an emphasis on reworking our business model to establish a customer-centric culture that builds reciprocal relationships – clients for life – rather than simply facilitating property transactions. The results have been exceptionally well received.”
While the general outlook for property sales and rentals remains shadowed by current economic and political conditions, van der Merwe believes Rawson Somerset West will continue to outshine market averages in upcoming months.
“We’ve built a strong model with a strong team that is very capable of making the most of any situation for our clients,” he says. “Our goal is to remain consumer-focused and at the forefront of technological and service innovations so that we can continue to give our buyers, sellers, landlords and tenants the very best of the best.”