While scores of real estate franchises close up shop as a slump in the property market takes it toll, one of the world's largest property groups is offering locals an opportunity to win a free business.
CENTURY 21 is offering three franchises, each worth R200000, in a competition aimed at boosting the ailing industry.
According to recent reports the country's multibillion rand property market has already lost 55000 registered estate agents and dozens of small agencies have been bought out by larger firms since mid-2006.
Of the 90000 estate agents in boom times only 35000 remain.
Andrew Golding, chief executive of Pam Golding Estates, recently told a business publication that as far as consolidation was concerned, small agencies did not have the capacity or infrastructure to survive in the challenging market environment, and thus either dropped out of the market or were taken over.
But yesterday CENTURY 21 managing director Colleen Gray said: "Difficult market conditions call for innovative solutions and we believe the competition will make a difference."
CENTURY 21 spokeswoman Lindie Bow said people entering the competition had to be older than 21-years of age and registered with Estate Agents Affairs Board. "They must go to www.century21.co.za, complete an entry form and explain why they see themselves as a suitable candidate ... it's as easy as that," she said.