As reported in the Wanganui Chronicle on August 25, 2012
Long-standing Wanganui real estate business Coull Battell Ltd trading as The Professionals Wanganui is closing at the end of the month, with its salespeople moving to join Ray White Wanganui. Coull Battell principal Jamie Doble said he made the decision to close the business. His loyal staff opted to stick with him until the final day and were happy with the move he suggested.”Under the new REAA (Real Estate Agents Authority) Act and in the present conditions bigger teams are going to be better,” Mr Doble said. The conditions he refers to are a city with about 900 properties for sale and about 50 selling every week. During the last two years prices have slightly increased in some suburbs and decreased in others. Properties are taking longer to sell. “The Coull Battell business would be closing with ‘a bit of a bang” on August 31,” he said, “with the auction of the 1868 Tikitiki house at 14 Wikitoria Rd. After that staff would be celebrating the last 30 years with The Professionals.”
The owner and director of Wanganui’s Ray White franchise, Tim Hocquard, is happy to announce the expansion of his business. He has set up a new company, Wanganui Real Estate Ltd, and is buying the Coull Battell business with the help of equity partner Bartley Group Holdings Ltd. He said the change was a positive one for Wanganui because it saved jobs and enlarged his team of highly experienced salespeople to 12. “We have all of their most revered and experienced salespeople coming to work for us.” They will move into the Ray White premises in Victoria Ave, and he has also hired a new property manager and was looking for another two staff members. “The sale made Ray White the only Wanganui owned and operated real estate business in town,” he said, and he was proud of its record.
So was Ray White New Zealand chief executive Carey Smith. He said Ray White Wanganui opened just two years ago and had grown its market share more than 25 per cent since then. It kept going under difficult conditions, while seven other brands had come and gone in the last five years. It also supported Hospice Wanganui and local sports clubs.
Mr Hocquard said the move of the salespeople continued the polarisation of the real estate business in the River City. “Ray White has industry-leading systems and structures that help everyone involved in its transactions,” he said. He would like to be Wanganui’s market leader in property management. “We would be the largest property manager in the city. We have 400 properties. That creates an awful lot of work for Wanganui businesses. We do our best to do everything local. As we grow, they grow,” he said.