Business South Dec / Jan 2022

88 | PROPERTY LJ Hooker - Dunedin Almost 40 years and steadily building Russell Fredric L J Hooker Dunedin is highly resourced to ensure a successful property transaction for both sellers and buyers, while also providing astute management of investment properties. The franchise is owned by Wayne Graham who has 37 years experience in real estate; 28 of those years have been as owner of L J Hooker Dunedin. His own time in the profession follows a much larger legacy. L J Hooker, the founder of the company, started his real estate business in 1928, opening the first LJ Hooker Limited office in the Sydney suburb of Maroubra. During the 1950s, LJ rapidly expanded his business to create a vast empire, which covered every aspect of real estate Today, LJ Hooker is one of the largest real estate agency franchise systems in Australasia with 700 franchises across Australia and New Zealand and a growing platform in Asia. During Wayne’s time he has seen many changes in a profession which has readily adopted advances technology and business structure. “In recent times the move to digital technology and social media has been significant,” Wayne says. “It’s more mobile, it’s more user friendly. The speed at which things are done has increased a lot.” L J Hooker Dunedin comprises 22 sales agents and six property managers, pointing to the scale and capability of the business in a socially and geographically diverse city and environs. “We started from a small operation; we are one of the biggest real estate firms in Dunedin/Mosgiel/Alexandra marketplace. We hold a significant market share, the business has grown significantly over that time as has prices in Dunedin.” Wayne recalls selling houses in Dunedin for $50,000 30 years ago compared to an average sale price now of around $650,000. “There’s been a significant growth in values.” A widely varied housing stock means L J Hooker’s sales agents could be listing anything from an 1800’s villa to an architecturally designed house with spectacular views of Otago Harbour, one of the city’s popular beaches, or a Central Otago lifestyle property. “There’s quite a diverse range of property which makes business interesting.” “There are different markets so you’ve got a good cross section of real estate which makes the job extremely interesting; no two houses are the same.” The Dunedin property market has remained extremely buoyant during the Covid-19 lockdown with prices increasing around 20% in the previous 12 months, Wayne says. While the situation has been different during the lock-downs, the market has continued to perform strongly. “Throughout Otago we are seeing the marketplace strengthen now with competition and multiple offers. Interest rates, of course, are low and demand is exceeding supply. “We have been very encouraged by the demand and we’ve sold a lot of property. “There is strong demand from investors, first home buyers, people upgrading and new buyers coming into the area.” The present low interest rates are part of this equation. Because Dunedin city is surrounded by hills, there are no green-field sections available in new developments, consequently new houses must be built on existing sites or existing houses must renovated. Wayne describes the sweet spot in the local market as being in the range of $550,000 to $750,000. L J Hooker Dunedin’s property management arm has 500 to 600 properties in its portfolio. Demand for rental properties has also been very strong, with rent prices continuing to increase throughout the year. While initially there were concerns about job losses and financial difficulties post-lockdown there has been no experience of this happening and the province has continued to prosper. “We are continuing to have 20-30 properties per month with rental growth for the well presented homes. “We are navigating through new territory, however 98% of our business has been business as normal.” “We started from a small operation; we are one of the biggest real estate firms in Dunedin/Mosgiel/Alexandra marketplace. We hold a significant market share, the business has grown significantly.” Wayne Graham 40 Prince Albert Road, Dunedin 03 455 3333 FREE QUOTES for new work 7 DAY EMERGENCY CALLOUT THINKING ELECTRICIAN? • Sleep easy in Safety • Rapid & Reliable • On time every time • Tidy clean up • Safety Certified • National buying power You are Protected by the Master Electricians GUARANTEE Electrical Inspections Domestic & Commercial House Rewiring Kitchens & Bathrooms Switchboard Upgrades Heating, Lighting, Ventilation New Home Wiring BuildMe® Dunedin Ltd Property maintenance & building services Proudly associated with LJ Hooker Dunedin 027 2477 679