PHOTO: Belle’s Peter Hanscomb is the new CEO of the merged company. Supplied

Real estate agency heavyweights Sydney-based Belle Property and Melbourne’s hockingstuart have merged in the biggest known consolidation of agencies in Australia.

The two brands will run as a single entity while keeping their individual names under the leadership of Belle Property chief executive Peter Hanscomb.

No redundancies are planned and each company’s management team will continue to operate its respective businesses. hockingstuart’s interim chief executive Andrew James will relinquish his role and return to running the hockingstuart Armadale office as its principal.

Mr James has been the Melbourne group’s boss since Simon Jovanovic left last November. Mr Jovanovic previously replaced long-time chief executive Nigel O’Neil, who as at the helm for nearly a decade before departing in 2016.