ASX-listed apartment developer Finbar Group has established a new business division, appointing an in-house sales team led by former Knight Frank head of residential Western Australia Neil Kay.
The move marks the first time in the organisation’s 25-year history it has appointed an in-house sales team to focus on the marketing and sales of Finbar projects, having previously outsourced all project sales to external residential sales agencies.
The team has worked together for more than 13 years in off-the-plan project sales and with Finbar in an external sales capacity since 2006.
Finbar managing director Darren Pateman said while the appointment of an in-house sales team had been a strategic consideration for some time, the ability to secure a highly experienced, pre-existing team, who had all worked with Finbar previously, had prompted the group to act quickly to bring the team in house.
“Having an internal sales team has been considered many times over the years, however, the fact that a team we knew and who we had worked with for so many years was available, crystallised our decision that it was the right time to move,” Mr Pateman said.
“Neil, Lilly and Neha bring with them a wealth of experience in project sales and they are very comfortable with the Finbar brand, product, and our customers, so it just made good business sense.”
Mr Pateman said establishing the team when there was instability in the market presented many opportunities, providing the ability to formalise systems and processes while the market was in recovery mode.
He said the sales team would initially focus their efforts on the group’s recently completed Sabina project in Applecross and subsequently its Civic Heart development, once it launched later this year.
“Civic Heart alone is a $400 million dollar project and we think a well-resourced internal team who have an intense understanding of the Civic Heart product and Finbar benefits will give this project the best chance of success,” he said.
The move to bring sales in-house follows the establishment of Finbar to Rent in 2019, a property management package for buyers of Finbar’s properties. The Finbar Loyalty Club will also be brought under the sales banner.
“Finbar to Rent allowed us to cement a more direct relationship with our investors, a number of whom own multiple Finbar properties, and the addition of our sales team will only add to that connection with our customers and the level of service we are able to offer our buyers,” Mr Pateman said.
“It allows us to really streamline and focus our sales and marketing spend, give us more contact hours at sales offices, provides a continuity of service to our customers, and really provides them with the entire package from start to finish.”
Mr Pateman said despite the challenging conditions in the Perth market, which has been further affected by COVID-19, the appointment of a new sales team showed a level of confidence in the market’s ability to recover strongly.
“It is a mark of our resilience and ability as a company to weather economic downturns with confidence and to put ourselves in a position to capitalise on upward momentum when the market begins to turn,” he said.
Mr Pateman said WA, in particular, was well poised to recover faster than other markets with its geographical isolation set to become one of the city’s major selling points in the wake of the global pandemic, but that stamp duty reform would be essential for the construction industry to continue to provide thousands of jobs.
“Considerable investment is required for us to launch projects like South Perth’s Civic Heart, which will be a major direct and indirect jobs boost at a time when Western Australians need it most,” he said.
“That is why we, alongside other industry leaders, continue to lobby the state government to make further changes to the stamp duty rebate beyond purely ‘pre-construction off-the-plan’ phase only so that we can help lead the economy into recovery post-Covid-19.
“The current economic turmoil will pass and it will then only be a matter of time and we will be positioned better than most to capitalise on that with a multi-faceted offering from development to sales and property management to allow us to further improve our market share.”
Finbar currently has $1.3 billion of work in the pipeline, $960 million of which is already approved with several projects anticipated to start construction in 2020.
At the time of writing Finbar was trading at 62.5 cents per share.