By IAN THOMSON
AFTER 26 years in real estate, Brian Purcell has hammered his last 'For Sale' sign into the ground.
The Yamba agent has called it a day, selling the business he started in 1979 when the shop rental was $30 a week.
The shop was in a complex now known as Yamba Plaza. Before then, the Stars Motel and Restaurant occupied the Yamba Road site before being converted to shops.
Brian Purcell Real Estate blossomed to the extent that he bought the complex and turned it into Yamba Plaza. He had also built the Inca Sun Motel, opposite the Yamba Bowling Club.
He branched out into real estate after an initial career in local government. He started with the Northern Rivers County Council in Grafton and later worked in Kempsey and with Maclean Shire Council.
He followed in his father's footsteps and became a fully-qualified town clerk, but the real estate business was begging.
"I'd had enough of local government by 1979," he said yesterday. "I'd already dabbled in real estate and decided to take it on full-time."
When it began, Mr Purcell remembers selling prime waterfront sites in Yamba for about $25,000 and other building blocks for $10,000.
Things have changed.
"Those waterfront blocks I was selling for $25,000 would fetch three quarters of a million these days," he said.
"I would say that within five years from now you won't be able to buy a waterfront block in Yamba for under a million dollars."
Brian Purcell Real Estate has been sold to his sales manager for the past six years, Jim Kelly, and the former sales manager with PRD Nationwide Reality in Yamba, Gai Pritchett, who has been involved in Yamba real estate for the past 22 years. Sandra West will stay on as their per- sonal assistant.