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2018 will go down as one of the toughest years for SA's property market since 2000, weighed down by the recession and heightened political angst. The sector suffered a loss of confidence following 'Rama-phoria' at the start of the year.
This year saw the extended bull run in JSE-listed Real Estate Investment Trusts (Reits) come to a halt, with a correction in the share price of most Reits and issues related to a few of the counters, while the expropriation of land without compensation debate caused concern and uncertainty.
Despite this, the property market encouragingly displayed some resilience in the face of adversity, absorbing the bad news and finding innovative solutions to improve. This included the repurposing of existing older buildings to either residential apartments or other alternatives.
In 2018, Broll Broking adopted new strategies to keep the company progressive and resilient within the volatile property market. We moved much closer to the sub-letting market and sought innovative 're-gearing' strategies to retain existing tenants with their current landlords, however this came with increased incentives offered.
On a regional basis, we are proud of our team of high performers in KwaZulu-Natal that made great strides in 2018, completely changing the profile of the business to become a market leader, which it wasn't five years ago. We are proud that they were awarded two large disposal contracts this year in the province, namely the 320 West Street and Huntsman Properties. This is an example of how Broll has strengthened the level of its teamwork to drive sustainable growth.
With a renewed focus on our brokering strategy, Broll Broking was excited to build a broker team in Port Elizabeth. The broking market is highly volatile, facing many challenges, particularly being operated within a commercial environment. There is much uncertainty on where the industry is heading, which is keeping us on our toes, however it allows us to extend our relationships to new levels and on a deeper partnership basis with our clients.
The performance of Broll's brokers, who have delivered beyond expectation, has made the company proud this year. Seven of our brokers were selected as top achievers for Redefine and Growthpoint leasing incentive programmes, which awards high performing brokers in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban.
In October, four out of 25 brokers selected for the Redefine incentive trip to Dubai were from Broll Broking, namely: Marischen Stone (JHB); Jaclyn Baiocchi (JHB); Giles Balmer (CTN) and Ivo Nestel (CTN). This exceptional group of people went on a whirlwind five-day trip to Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Highlights included visits to the exhilarating Ferrari World, the new Louvre Museum and the famed Grand Mosque, as well as an Arab desert drive and night camp experience and a river cruise.
In November, three brokers from Broll joined 42 other brokers on an incentive trip to Iceland with Growthpoint. The brokers were Yvonne Garner (CTN), Elizabeth Morgan (KZN) and Anthon van Weers (KZN). Their commitment to growing the bottom line was rewarded with a week away to enjoy the wonders of Iceland. Winners were treated to activities including scenic Super Jeep drives, walks through an ice tunnel, riding snow mobiles through the snow and water, and, hot spring swims in the Blue Lagoon.
ON THE HORIZON
As we look forward to 2019, while there is much optimism with the country moving out of the recession, there are still huge concerns around the status of Eskom and the repercussions that load-shedding and power-cuts will have on the property market.
The impact of Wework in the South African market will also introduce a disruption to corporate uptake in traditional landlord buildings. However, it will no doubt foster opportunities for South African entrepreneurs to enter the flexi space market where take up of particularly office space will be something to watch out for in 2019.
"We predict that co-working space will have the greatest impact on our market over the next few years. It will become interesting to watch how our market adapts to the impact that this will have on investor and occupier leasing strategies," says Sean Berowsky, Head of Broking for Broll SA.
As a group, Broll aims to retain its positioning as the 'progressive property people', continually growing the business through trusted client relationships and impeccable services that we provide. Internally, we are excited to see the impact of mutual purpose on our staff performance. Through the development of our human resources division, we have enabled people to perform, which has also enabled our business to perform.
As the year ends, we think about all we are grateful for. Our relationship with you, our valued client, is one thing we treasure the most. Thank you for the opportunity to serve you, we truly appreciate your business. We look forward to partnering with you in the future as we aim to provide you with progressive, quality service.
We wish you abundance, happiness, and peace in a new year filled with hope.
From all of us at the Broll Property Group