Since it first appeared in March 1992, the Cape Property Guide has become the definitive guide to properties on the market. With literally hundreds of new listings every week, these weekly editions ensure that all the latest and greatest properties are reflected as they come onto the market.
The Cape Property Guide is founded on a groundbreaking partnership between members of a competitive industry and a newspaper group. Attorney Jacques F Louw relates, “...In 1991 the Cape Town estate agents formed the Cape Property Guide, CPG, in short. CPG was a publishing company, which started a property newspaper called the Cape Property Guide. CPG approached the Argus Newspaper Company (now Independent Newspapers) to print and carry their newspaper.
"The Argus/CPG relationship was short lived and in 1992 it collapsed. CPG went its own way and a damaging rivalry between the two publishing companies started. Towards the end of 1992, sanity prevailed. The heads of the CPG and Argus Newspapers started talks and the concept of a partnership was born.
"Although the decision to form the partnership was reached in 1992, negotiations about its constitution were not always plain sailing. By Easter weekend in 1993, about 30 drafts into the constitution, the negotiating team vowed to iron out everything.
"Over the weekend Cecil Golding, Bill Rawson, Samuel Seeff, Arlene McKenzie and Anne Porter for the estate agents, faced John Featherstone and Tony Howard, for the Argus Company. Negotiations were conducted in the Seeff boardroom and carried on late into the night for two long days of the Easter holidays.
"Probably another 30 drafts later, on 29 September 1993, Tony Howard, Cecil Golding, and Bill Rawson signed off on the 130-page constitution, a year after the agreement in principle was reached. The founding fathers (and mothers) of the partnership agreed to a seven-year deal. Asked at the time whether this was sufficient, the late John Featherstone remarked: 'Seven years in business is a long time.' Now,25 years later, the partnership continues. The new constitution has shrunk to 60 pages and the relationship is much stronger."
Cecil Golding, one of the Cape’s leading property agents and one of the people behind the concept remarked, “The launch of the Cape Property Guide in 1992 was indeed an important milestone in the history of real estate in South Africa. Not only did it provide an opportunity for hugely increased advertising efficiencies for the numerous real estate companies, it also served to provide the South African home buyer with a single, focused and exhaustive presentation of property for sale on a weekly basis. Indeed, it was as a result of this co-operation within the industry that numerous other beneficial initiatives were launched so as to benefit the property industry at large."
For the reader, these publications represent the most reliable indicator of which properties are currently available on the market. It is a straightforward source of information on how different residential areas compare in terms of price, amenities, and number of available properties. For the estate agent, these publications are a top method of communicating with potential buyers, and also ensuring that their brand is top of mind. The ads reach a great number of potential buyers at a competitive rate.
CPG describes its mission as such: ”We take pride in delivering a quality product that satisfies the needs of both our readers and our advertisers. We are often asked about the tough economic environment, especially for the print media, but our response is that we will continue to deliver as long as our valued partners in the industry and our readers have a need for a trustworthy source of information about the property market.
Anne Porter, leading local estate agent and another founding partner, describes the evolution and success of the Cape Property Guide as “a celebration of what happens when people cooperate.” She recalls that in 1991 the industry was faced with rising costs and six estate agents started their own newsletter but did not have distribution via the established newspapers. Looking back, she laughs about the weekly rush of estate agents delivering their listings newsletter by hand to cafés and grocery stores. She says that the Cape Property Guide was at first glance a marriage of opposites between the agents and the newspaper, but it “quickly proved to be a valued partnership for all parties concerned, not least of which the readers".
"Hats off to the team at the newspaper – it is an institution because it is reliable and readers trust it. The future holds challenges for the print media – but I trust that the partnership between the estate agents and Independent Newspapers will continue and prosper irrespective of where the technology evolves.”
Bill Rawson, a property agent, ascribes the launching of the Cape Property Guide to the desire of the estate agents to find a way to successfully advertise their listed properties at a reasonable price. “In my experience, it was the first time that competitive members of the industry banded together for the common good. At the time it was a courageous decision.”
"Looking ahead, I foresee the CPG continuing to be the single most important medium for the advertising of residential property. However, it will be complemented – and made reference to - by the electronic media and tools now used by all the major real estate groups. These are now accepted as a very important part of the whole real estate marketing and information process and by making constant reference to websites, the CPG is assisting all Capetonians to enhance their knowledge of residential property.
"The CPG partnership is built on respect. It is a tribute to everyone involved that we never had any major disputes because we could always gather around the table and find solutions. It is a partnership of fairness among trusted equals.”
Samuel Seeff is another local estate agent who was instrumental in the establishment of the Cape Property Guide. " CPG is a trusted household name and the go-to publication for everyone in the property market. We are confident that the partnership we have forged will stand us in good stead going forward. I consider it an honour to have been part of this process. As an estate agent, it gives me great joy to know that the establishment of the CPG paved the way for greater unity within the industry. This allowed us to foster professionalism and enhance the functioning of the industry to the benefit of both the real estate agents and the clients.”