In what has become Australia’s largest known consolidation of agencies, Melbourne real estate heavyweight Hockingstuart has merged with Sydney-based agency Belle Property.
The two companies began joint operation in late 2019, with 21 Hockingstuart offices now operating under the Belle Property brand, including their Carlton and Melbourne CBD agencies.
While the Hockingstuart brand will continue to operate in several locations across Victoria, director of Belle Property Melbourne Scott McElroy said the decision to operate under the Belle Property brand in the inner Melbourne region would offer great opportunities for local clients.
“Belle Property has a national reach of more than 120 offices across the eastern seaboard of Australia. Plus, international connections through leading Real Estate Companies of the World, which is a global property platform,” Mr McElroy said.
“This means we are now uniquely positioned to use this extensive network to sell homes and apartments for more – not to mention, connect buyers to property all over the country and abroad.”
The merger marks Belle Property’s induction as one of only three truly national agencies alongside Ray White and LJ Hooker.
Despite combining over 40 Victorian offices and 600 employees, no redundancies are expected.
Belle Property and Hockingstuart CEO, Peter Hanscomb, said the inner Melbourne area was a lifestyle market with unique opportunities for buyers and sellers and aligned strongly with the premium brand of Belle Property.
“We know the experienced teams in Melbourne’s CBD, Carlton, Richmond, South Melbourne and Albert Park will continue to service the community with dedication and professionalism to achieve superior results,” Mr Hanscomb said.
Belle Property was founded in 2000 in alignment with Belle lifestyle magazine, then re-launched in 2007 which saw the agency grow to over 80 offices operating across New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory.
Speaking with the Australian Financial Review last year, Mr Hanscomb said Belle Property’s migration to Victoria was inevitable.
“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,” Mr Hanscomb said.
As part of the merger, and in conjunction with existing partner and lifestyle publisher Sitchu, Hockingstuart and Belle Property have also launched a refreshed property magazine, Sitchu Living.
“Sitchu Living is a lifestyle-focused property magazine that includes editorial content as well as property listings from across Belle Property, Hockingstuart and Luxury Portfolio – our network’s international property partner. Sitchu Living is a unique way to advertise property and promote local suburbs and businesses,” he said.
According to Belle Property Melbourne’s Sam Fenna, business generated from their new publication has been invaluable, with sales continuing to perform well.
“The warehouse conversion and heritage apartment market continue to soar both in value and popularity. In March I auctioned a one-bedroom apartment in Hardware Street and had four bidders on the day, eventually selling $61,000 over the reserve,” he said.
“72 buyers inspected that apartment with the majority being first home buyers, many from interstate, in particular Sydney where they came across the listing via our company magazine.”
“That reach is extremely valuable for buyers and sellers who work with us.” •
For more information, visit belleproperty.com.au