Kensington Finest Properties, the subsidiary of the Swiss group Kensington specializing in luxury real estate, has entered Barcelona at the hands of Oriol Canal, former CEO of Engel
Kensington's entry adds pressure to a market hitherto dominated by local firms. Among the large international networks, only Engels
Kensington has an international network of 81 offices. It is strongly established in Switzerland, Germany, Austria and Dubai. The group was born in Mallorca, founded as a boutique agency by the Iranian businessman Mehrdad Bonakdar, and in the Balearic Islands it has 14 offices. In October it made the leap to the peninsula and opened in Madrid and a few weeks ago in Malaga.
The firm has chosen to grow with the franchise system: it grants a master franchise license for each autonomous community, which in turn licenses the franchise in smaller areas.
In Catalonia, Canal plans to personally run the Barcelona office, and open nine more offices in the next five years, by granting local franchise licenses, especially in Sant Cugat, Sitges, Maresme, Baqueira or La Cerdanya.
In his opinion, “real estate brokerage is a very fragmented sector. Some 15,000 homes are sold in Barcelona each year, but no firm has more than a 5% market share. That's why many firms barely survive or even close."
In such a competitive market, says Canal, many small companies “feel the need to become professional. And a franchise provides them with marketing tools, computer programs and an operating method, a set of procedures validated by the experience of the other members of the network”. The franchisee pays a percentage of his commissions to the masterfranchise, "but this increase in expenses is compensated by the increase in clients that the network brings in and because the fees are higher," he concludes.