Ray White Commercial

Professionalism and quality drives every part of this realty business

  • Ray White 1

    Parnell's Textile Centre sold for $25 million.
  • Ray White 2

    Sold! 125 Queen Street for $57 million.
  • Ray White 3

    The stunning Hilton Hotel in Queenstown was bought for $80.5 million.

Bruce Whillans has been selling commercial real estate for more than three decades and in 2010, bought the Auckland franchise of Ray White Commercial.

In five short years, Bruce and his team of 12 have sold more than $1billion worth of property and the business is experiencing 100 percent year on year growth. He is justifiably proud of their achievements.

“With an average sales value of $10.4 million since we started, we are now acknowledged as one of the top three commercial agencies in New Zealand. Just last year we had $535 million in sales. We’re really pleased with our performance,” he says.

It’s the thrill of the deal and the challenge that drives Bruce. “We sell some of the bigger properties both in Auckland and around the country. It’s a level of business that is exciting. I enjoy the negotiations and the challenges,” he says.

The properties Ray White Commercial sells sit between $5 million and $25 million, operating in the space that is in the reach of high nett worth individuals and syndicates. Some recent sales will sound familiar; the Hilton in Queenstown, 125 Queen Street; the former BNZ Tower, 246 Queen Street and Parnell’s Textile Centre.

Whilst the Auckland residential real estate market is the topic of many conversations and column inches, Bruce and his team exclusively sell commercial property. “The commercial market is the most buoyant I’ve seen it in 30 years,” he says. “Banks are cashed up and want to lend again, and with a borrowing rates as low as five percent, it’s a good story.

“There’s also been a big flow of capital into the Auckland commercial market by Chinese corporates and individuals. It’s a safe investment haven. We have a stable government structure, low tax rates and no capital gains tax. The door is open for international buyers.”
Many Chinese investors Bruce deals with already have an affinity with Auckland, perhaps having a child studying or family living here. “I think some commentators and media overplay the impact that the inflow of Chinese capital is having. But I think it’s positive. There’s good competitive tension in the market.”

When Bruce set up Ray White Commercial, he was encouraged to use the company’s central accountant. But after six months, he opted to change to Atul Mehta, Moore Stephens Markhams director.

“Atul had been my personal accountant for 20 years and understood my personal situation, so it made sense for him to look after my business interests too. He’s a mentor to me and gives very sound advice on my business’ financial management – sometimes it’s like he’s on the Board!” says Bruce.

Quarterly meetings are held to ensure the business is on track and to discuss future plans.

“Atul is very disciplined and helps us with our wealth management – he also keeps a tight rein on spending. Moore Stephens Markhams is big enough to have expertise to call on, but small enough to take a personal interest in my business. It’s a very good mix.”


Published Winter 2015.

Serious about your success?