Australian real estate powerhouse, Raine & Horne has solidified its reach into Fiji by officially launching in Lautoka, marking the beginning of a major regional expansion into the Pacific islands.
The fourth-generation family-owned and operated property group already has offices in Lautoka and Nadi, and plans to soon open in capital city of Suva, and the coastal havens of Rakiraki and Savusavu.
Its Fijian franchise comes under the directorship of CJ Shergill, Sanjay Krishna and Aveet Goundar, formally of LJ Hooker, which ceases operations in Fiji this month.
“We are the fasted growing network in Australia and we aim to emulated this globally,” noted Raine & Horne’s Executive Chairman, Angus Raine.
“Australia is a global leader in the delivery of real estate agency best practice, and Raine & Horne is a global leader in terms of Information Technology (IT), marketing, training and agency systems, so it stands to reason that we are taking an aggressive approach to global expansion.”
Raine lauded the professional experience of the company’s local directors; Shergill and Krishna are both former bankers and Goundar had a successful career in IT before joining real estate.
“In combination, they are the real deal in terms of real estate and business experience, and their team will be trained by Raine & Horne to the highest Australian standards.”
Shergill noted their long association with Raine & Horne’s International Business general manager, Bill Russell, and the valuable opportunity for himself, Krishna and Goundar to bring a globally recognized real estate brand to Fiji.
“Importing Raine & Horne’s business practices will prove a big tick with Fijians because Australia has the best consumer protection laws, a sophisticated real estate industry, and a very high standard of agency practice, especially in a franchised environment.”
The agency has a local team of about 16 staff and will soon establish an office in Rakiraki, located on the scenic North coast of Fiji’s largest island, Viti Levu.
“Rakiraki is halfway between Suva and Nadi on the Kings Rd and future developments are expected to take off there,” Shergill added.
“It will mostly be leasehold titles, although there are some chunks of Freehold land too.”
And to support the property group’s regional expansion into Vanuatu, the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu, the current Fiji team will be extended from 10 to 30 licensed real estate agents.
“There is room for big real estate brands such as Raine & Horne in Fiji and the Pacific region, as there are many smaller players in local markets,” Shergill said, adding that the delivery of commercial brokering services was another area of expertise Raine & Horne could bring to the local front via the property group’s financial services arm, Our Broker.
Shergill attributed the cultural shift in the Fijian property market to the rising independence and decisiveness of new generation buyers.
“In the past, fathers would decide where family members would love in Fiji and this is changing. Fijian millennials are making their own decisions about where they want to live and buy property.”
He also advised young, aspiring residential owners to consider Native title properties for their more affordable 99-year leases.
“A Freehold three-bedroom house Martintar, near Lautoka, for example, will be FJD $450,000 to $250,000 and the land will be FJD $ 250,000. A quarter-acre block in the same region on a leasehold arrangement will cost between FJD $70,000 and FJD$150,000 and it will be $120,000 for a house. This appeals to younger buyers.”
Plans are also in the pipeline for the group to build a local portfolio of investment properties, noting that property management was still in its infancy here.
Its launch at the Tanoa Waterfront Hotel on July 13 was attended by members of the business and tourism community and Lautoka City Council CEO, Jone Naukavadra.
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