05/11/2008 - 22:00

Merger creates largest valuer

05/11/2008 - 22:00

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INDEPENDENT property valuers, Christie Whyte Moore and Valuation Partners, have merged to form what they claim is Western Australia's biggest property valuation company.

Merger creates largest valuer

INDEPENDENT property valuers, Christie Whyte Moore and Valuation Partners, have merged to form what they claim is Western Australia's biggest property valuation company.

The new group, composed of approximately two thirds former Christie Whyte Moore staff, will have 80 employees, four offices and trade as Quantia Valuation Consultants.

Mark Christie has been appointed managing director. He said that the 10 existing directors of the two companies would be staying on with the merged business.

"It is not an exit strategy, it's a growth strategy," Mr Christie said.

He also dismissed market commentary that his former company had bought out Valuation Partners.

"Our company was bigger than Valuation Partners, so there is some perception that it was a takeover," Mr Christie said.

"It was a merger."

The amalgamation comes amid severe market turmoil, with the global credit crunch spilling over to local property markets which have witnessed extraordinary growth in the past few years.

Perth has recorded the biggest fall in house prices over the past year as latest figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics confirm a slowdown in the national housing market.

Over the year to September, Perth's weighted average house price has fallen 4.1 per cent, the largest recorded fall of any capital city in Australia.

In comparison, national figures recorded a rise of 2.8 per cent over the same period.

During the September quarter, the house price index in Perth fell 1.1 per cent compared to the previous quarter.

However, Mr Christie said the merger was unlinked to the housing slump and had been in the making for five years, with serious planning underway during the past 12 months.

He said the two firms were aligned through friendships at management level and shared a similar culture.

Most valuers in the WA market focus on either residential or non-residential, with a distinct difference between the two sub sets.

Quantia claims to cover both markets extensively. CB Richard Ellis is a rival that also has an extended reach across both market segments.

Mr Christie said the key clientele for his firm was banks and lending institutions which increasingly wanted to work with suppliers that had the capacity to provide a one-stop-shop service.

Quantia is part of a national alliance called Opteon National Valuers and Property Advisers.

Mr Christie said that as the boom went into reverse there was a drop in real estate sales and new lending, the key drivers of the valuations market. Forced sales, such as bank foreclosures, did not provide anywhere near the level of turnover experienced in a strong market.

"My fear for the next 12 months is I think it will be generally characterised by forced sales," he said.

"If you don't have to sell why would you sell in the current market."

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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