The Unconditional Blog

The impartial voice of the industry

 

Archive for the ‘Featured’ Category

0

CEO’s who Tweet

Posted on: February 17th, 2011 | Filed in Featured, social media

I was recently invited to speak at the Auckland Social Media Club monthly gathering on the subject of Twitter.

Twitter is something that I have grown accustomed to, closely bordering on addicted to over the past 2 years. I see it as a valuable business tool and this is the approach I took in sharing my 15 minutes of thoughts about Twitter and how I use it to enhance our brand, engage with our consumers and customers and establish our position of thought leadership in the real estate market.

The assembled audience were fortunate to not simply hear my perspective on the subject of CEO’s who tweet, but were also able top hear from Chris Quin, the CEO of Gen-i who hosted the evening in the fantastic new Telecom Head Office in Auckland.

I think on reflection of viewing the 2 presentations we complement each other pretty well. We share somewhat different perspectives and insights. There was some challenging discussion and debate after the presentations on the night. Should any further questions or discussions flow from watching these videos I will very happily engage on this blog to answer such questions or challenges.

I am conscious that the video does not capture the slides I used to support my presentation so here they are:

11

New Year brings new business models for real estate

Posted on: February 8th, 2011 | Filed in Featured, Online marketing, Real Estate Industry News

It is often said that the best time to launch a new company is in the depths of a recession. To survive in the midst of such adversity should surely provide a proof of the potential when and if the recovery comes, and the economy begins again to fire on all cylinders.

Well, we are from all accounts climbing; albeit slow out of recession across the general economy. The real estate market though is still not as yet firing on all cylinders. Sales in 2010 were barely above the all time low of 56,071 in 2008 at just 56,303.

When compared to the 5 year period of 2003 to 2007 when the average total year sales were just under 107,000 it is very clear to see how slow the property market has become in recent years. Even during the recession of the Asian Crisis of 1997/8 the average sales volumes during those years was over 80,000.

So despite this slow market it is therefore not surprising to see some new companies emerging in the real estate market. With these new companies comes some new approaches which clearly are trying to define a new business model to attract what is still a significant business.

The real estate industry in the residential sector alone accounted for total transacted sales of just under $25 billion in the last year. With an average commission of around 3.5% that adds us to close to $850 million in fees earned by the industry per annum in the depth of the property market recession. In the height of the market the figure reached over $1.4 billion.

Such revenue opportunity supports a large industry of over 11,000 sales agents working out of a total of close to 1,100 offices around the country.

These new entrants to the market that have emerged over the past couple of months share a two key things in common:

1. They focus on online marketing

2. They offer a lower fee for selling a property

The two most recent companies to highlight are 200Square and The Property Market. Additionally it has recently been speculated that Mike Pero may be looking to enter the property market. It is interesting but not surprising that the proposed concepts is also a solution based on a lower fee structure combined with a focus on online marketing.

NZ Real Estate  - new business models for 2011Late last year details emerged of an Australian company Refund Real Estate looking to enter the market with a rebate scheme of fees and a focus towards online marketing.

This focus online is logical. As has been detailed in the blog previously the focus of property buyers and sellers is to use the web first and foremost for searching and researching property. This focus online in the home or the office is now fast being complemented by the evolution of the mobile real estate applications. At this stage with the Realestate.co.nz iPhone app which is gaining significant traction and usage, with over 14,000 downloads and well over 1,500 daily users. So for smart new companies to advocate the priority to online marketing is both logical and appealing as in so doing they not only save their clients significant amounts of money compared to print advertising, but also provide great analysis of lead generation.

The other aspect of these new companies, being the low fee offering as compared to the established operators. Certainly the consumer appeal of paying a flat fee or a lower percentage is undoubtedly strong, the key question will be as to the ability of these companies to make the business model work. There have been those who have tried and succeeded with a low fee structure, uniquely in the Christchurch market with Diane Astle and Premier Real Estate both offering a 1% fee service. Equally there have been those who have tried and failed, most notably The Jones.

What is certain is that the web marketing advocated by these new companies is pointing the way to the future for this industry, with it comes cost savings for vendors as compared to print media. As for the fees for professional services of real estate agents – the judgment will ultimately be made by the consumer who will trust in agents that deliver true value whether that will be in a low fee, or a full fee structure will be interesting to see and well worth watching as the year progresses.

5

NZ Property Report – January 2011

Posted on: February 1st, 2011 | Filed in Featured, NZ Property Report

blue pen and small houseThe January 2011 NZ Property Report published by Realestate.co.nz provides an insight into the state of the New Zealand property market as measured by the supply side of the property market over the month of January. The key measures of the market analysed in the report are the number of new listings, the asking price expectation for those new listings and the level of inventory of unsold houses on the market at this time. The report is compiled from data captured by the website and represents close to 95% of all property movements in the NZ market as managed by licensed real estate agents.

The January 2011 report shows a new record low level of new listings coming onto the market. This was matched with a significant drop in asking price expectation. Whilst the level of new listings would normally push the market in favour of sellers given the dearth of new listings, the significant level of unsold property still on the market presents an opportunity for buyers.

The market as it enters the key summer period is opening up some opportunities with vendors considering putting their house on the market able to take advantage of an uncluttered position in the portfolio of new listings, ready able to attract the buyers that are out there. Existing property owners who have a property for sale as part of the current unsold inventory may need to review their asking price expectations as the new listings may be more reflective of the market today.

Buyers have a varied and diverse selection of property to review before making buying decisions with 48 weeks of inventory of unsold houses presenting a level considerably above the long term average of 40 weeks.

Realestate_DownloadNowA full print version of the NZ Property Report – January 2011 is published below and is available for download (1.3MB) and distribution.

Summary of the market – January 2011

NZ_Property_Report_cover_page_Jan_2011_Realestate.co.nzThe first month of the year is traditionally a quiet period with significantly less business days and therefore listings coming onto the market tend to be subdued. The level of new listings for January 2011 is significantly low as compared to long term averages. Back at the start of 2008 as the Global Financial Crisis was just starting and the property market was turning down, a total of 26,097 new listings came onto the market in the combined months of December 2007 and January 2008; a year later as the market abruptly slowed the number in Dec/Jan had fallen to19,313. In 2009/2010 a year ago, there had been a degree of pick up to 20,621. This year over the same period the total is 17,224.

The market situation is unusual. Such low level of listings would normally reflect in a tight market where sellers would have the upper hand; however the scale of the unsold inventory, matched to still relatively low levels of sales, means that buyers have a great selection to research and a strong buyer advantage. It strangely would seem to be a market where the needs of buyers and sellers can be met. New listings tend to attract most interest in a property market and with such a recent shortage; new listings in the coming months will likely attract buyer interest. Recent new vendors with new listings are setting realistic price expectations as shown by the truncated mean asking price down to $406,525 this month.

Set against these statistics is the news that in terms of buyer interest online it could not be more active. As measured by Nielsen Online January saw over 2,000,000 browser visits to all the real estate websites in NZ, up 25% from 2010.

Asking Price

Asking_price_chart_Jan_2011_NZ_Property_Report_Realestate.co.nzThe truncated mean asking price for all new listings coming onto the market in January fell by over $9,000 from $415,750 to $406,525. On a seasonally adjusted basis the asking price remained unchanged from December at $416,666. There is traditionally a fall in asking price in January.

The current asking price slipped further from the peak of asking price back in October 2007, it is currently off 5.2%.

New Listings

New_listings_chart_Jan_2011_NZ_Property_Report_Realestate.co.nzTraditionally January is a weak month as it is a short business month; however the fall from the record low of new listing in December is significant. Just 8,300 new listings compares to 10,272 a year ago and 9,942 in January 2009.

On a moving annual basis the past 12 months have seen 136,817 new listings, just up on the 135,746 in the prior 12 month period, an increase of just 0.8%.

Inventory

Inventory_chart_of_unsold_properties_Jan_2011_NZThe level of unsold houses on the market at the end of January rose slightly to 53,297 from 53,077 in December. This represented the equivalent of 47.9 weeks of equivalent sales, as assessed on a seasonally adjusted basis.

The inventory of unsold houses remains high in absolute terms as the sales activity impact is not being felt, even allowing for the significant lower level of new listings.

At the current level the inventory still remains well above the long term average of 40 weeks.

Regional Summary – Asking price expectations

Asking_price_regional_map_Jan_2011_NZ_Property_Report_Realestate.co.nzThe very clear message from the chart below showing all of the 19 regions is that the asking price expectation of sellers with new listings right around the country is that asking prices are slipping lower. Nationally asking prices are down 2.7% as compared to the recent 3 month average. The only regions bucking the trend are the three east coast regions of Coromandel, Bay of Plenty and Gisborne, together with Southland.

Significant slippage in asking prices are being seen in 5 regions – Waikato, Central North Island, Queenstown Lakes, Otago and the largest fall of 8.4% in the Hawkes Bay. The three main metropolitan regions of Auckland, Wellington and Canterbury are all showing weaker asking prices of between 3% and 4%.

Regional Summary – Listings

New_listings_regional_map_Jan_2011_NZ_Property_Report_Realestate.co.nzThe national low record level of new listings for January was reflected right across the country with all but 2 of the 19 regions showing new listings down as compared to January 2010.

There were 7 regions reporting a record low of listings – Waikato and the Bay of Plenty, Central North Island and Manawatu / Wanganui. Then in the South Island, Otago, Canterbury and the Central Otago Queenstown Lakes district.

Such low levels of listings pushes the market into a situation with a shortage of new properties to attract buyer, for despite the high inventory levels the attraction of new listings remain the lifeblood of the industry.

Regional Summary – Inventory

Inventory_regional_map_of_unsold_properties_Jan_2011_NZ_Property_Report_Realestate.co.nzThe inventory of unsold property on the market continues to ease since the latest peak in November last year when the inventory stood at 53.2 weeks of equivalent sales. It has now fallen to 47.9 weeks. Whilst this is a continuing trend of easing, the level of inventory remains stubbornly above the level at the same time last year and the long term average.

This level of inventory leads to an assessment of the market being a buyer’s market; however the shortage of new listings is lessening this effect given the dearth of new properties to attract such buyers.

Set against this overall high level of inventory there are key markets where inventory levels are pretty much now at long term averages – Auckland and Wellington as 2 key markets are fairly balances and the Central North Island is now below long term average establishing this region as being in a seller’s market situation.

Lifestyle

New_listings_of_lifestyle_property_chart_Jan_2011_NZ_Property_Report_Realestate.co.nzLifestyle property listings fell significantly in January. At 727 new listings, the month represented a new record low. As compared to January last year the level of new listings is down 22%.

The asking price expectation for the new listings was up slightly at $540,825 from $537,368 in December. This represents a 3.2% decline as compared to January last year and a 3.5% decline in asking price as compared to the recent 3 month average.

Apartments

New_listings_of_apartments_Jan_2011_NZ_Propertry_Report_Realestate.co.nzJanuary new listings of apartments came close to beating the prior low record of 352 in January 2009. For January just 363 new apartment listings came onto the market. This represents a 16% year on year decline. The asking price expectation for apartments remains low with a figure of $362,041 in January down 8.3% as compared to the recent 3 month average and only just up on the record low of $356,306 in October 2010.

In Auckland just 238 new apartment listings came onto the market which represented a 5.2% year on year decline. The asking price for Auckland apartments in the month was $342,250 which was 7% down on the recent 3 month average, but identical to the asking price expectation of a year ago.

Property Price Index

Comparing the sale price of properties across the country to the asking price expectation is not a perfect comparison; however the trends tend to align. The benefit is that the data for asking price is of the market today, whilst the selling price is reflective of the market active between 4 and 6 weeks ago. The latest comparison is highlighted below:

Price_Index_Jan_2011_NZ_Property_Report_Realestate.co.nzRealestate.co.nz data is compiled from asking prices of new residential listings as they come onto the market via subscribers to the realestate.co.nz website. The Realestate.co.nz website currently has over 94% of all licensed real estate offices subscribing and providing all of their listings onto the website. The asking price is presented as a truncated mean price at a 10% interval.

REINZ: data is compiled from reported unconditional residential sales from all members of the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand representing all licensed real estate offices. The sale price is published as a stratified median house price and is developed in association with the Reserve Bank of NZ.

Notes:

Truncated mean

The monthly asking price for new listings presented in this report utilises the measure of ‘truncated mean’. This measure is judged to be a more accurate measure of the market price than average price as it statistically removes the extremes that exist within any property market that can so easily introduce a skew to traditional average price figures.

The truncated mean used in this report removes the upper 10% and the lower 10% of listings in each data set. An average or mean of the balance of listings is then calculated.

Methodology

With the largest database of properties for sale in NZ, realestate.co.nz is uniquely placed to immediately identify any changes in the marketplace. The realestate.co.nz NZ Property Report is compiled from new listings coming onto the market from the more than 1,050 licensed real estate offices across NZ, representing more than 95% of all offices.

With an average monthly level of over 10,000 new listings, the realestate.co.nz NZ Property Report provides the largest monthly sample report on the residential property market, as well as a more timely view of the property market than any other property report. The data is collated and analysed at the close of each month, and the Report is compiled for the 1st day of the following month. This provides a feedback mechanism as to the immediate state of the market, well in advance of sales statistics which by the very nature of the selling process can reflect activity with a lag of between 2 and 4 months.

In analysing the details of the 8,300 new listings in the month of January a total of 81 listings have been excluded due to anomalies. The categorisation of Lifestyle property is defined by the land area of the property. The criterion is a property having in excess of 0.3 hectares and being situated outside metropolitan areas.

Background to Realestate.co.nz

Realestate.co.nz is the official website company of the real estate industry of New Zealand, it is an industry owned web business providing online marketing services to the real estate industry. The shareholders in the business comprise the REINZ (50%) and six of the largest real estate companies (50%).

The business operates a portfolio of websites all focused to specialist sectors of the real estate market:

Realestate.co.nz is the heart of the business and is focused to the residential property market. It features the most comprehensive selection of property for sale and rent across NZ. The website attracts a significant monthly audience of over 370,000 unique browsers, with over 110,000 of those visiting from countries outside of NZ.

nzFarms is a specialist website presenting the most comprehensive selection of farms and agricultural businesses on the market across NZ. At this time it features around 5,000 listings for all types of farms and agricultural land as well as over 11,000 lifestyle properties.

Prime Commercial is a specialist website presenting the most comprehensive selection of commercial property for purchase or lease on the market across NZ. At this time it features over 27,000 listings for all types of properties – retail, commercial, industrial and investment properties.

Prime Business is a specialist website presenting the most comprehensive selection of businesses for sale on the market across NZ. At this time it features over 4,300 listings for all types of businesses – retail, tourism, wholesale as well as franchise opportunities.

Zoodle is a specialist property information website providing very detailed data on all residential properties in NZ. The database comprises over 1.5m properties with detailed specifications, map and local amenities. The site provides online reports for free and for purchase covering valuation and legal information to greatly assist the needs of property buyers and sellers.

The web business of Realestate.co.nz site is the most comprehensive real estate web operation in NZ, currently hosting over 120,000 listings, covering this portfolio of residential property for sale and rent, commercial property for sale and lease, rural properties and farms, as well as businesses for sale. With a subscriber base of over 1,050 offices, the company represents over 95% of all listings from licensed real estate agents in NZ.

The full NZ Property Report for January 2011 can be downloaded here (1.3MB pdf document). Additionally the raw data is accessible here as an Excel spreadsheet enabling anyone to analyse the raw data and establish any trends or observations.

Usage rights are governed under attribution to the source of the data being Realestate.co.nz. The next NZ Property Report for February 2011 will be published on this website on Tuesday 1st March 2011 at 10am.

8

Google exits map based property search service

Posted on: January 28th, 2011 | Filed in Featured, mobile, Technology, Website searching

google map search for real estate - Google SearchGoogle announced yesterday that it was ceasing the operation of its map based real estate search service. This service was introduced back in July 2009 as a complementary enhancement to their standard text search whereby listings for property for sale or rent were mapped based on addresses, supplied with listings by real estate agents and real estate websites (Realestate.co.nz fed content to Google for this service).

This is a significant decision by the world’s largest search engine.

In their official announcement they state that one of the factors in their decision was “the proliferation of excellent property-search tools on real estate websites“. They went on to say “We recognize that there might be better, more effective ways to help people find local real estate information than the current feature makes possible”.

Whilst I in no way doubt that the reasons they state are a true reflection of the circumstances that led then to this decision, I think there are other factors to consider.

I was always of the opinion that Google came at real estate search almost accidentally, especially in the early days. The concept was originated in Australia through the maps team under the leadership of the Lars Rasmussen. Their desire was to demonstrate their mastery of the mapping platform and locating property for sale and rent on these maps was appealing as data was readily available, with agents only too happy to collaborate (or put another way – the owner of the data would not object). The fundamental problem though, is that whilst mapping property is interesting and no doubt of value, it is not the intuitive first entry point of real estate search for buyers on the web.

Boutiques.com - Shop boutiques curated by style icons and you - Designer Shoes, Dresses, Handbags

The solution Google should have developed, in my opinion would have been using their image search platform. The primary consumer real estate search experience is really visual – rich imagery of properties for sale is so compelling. The map representation would have then been a natural complement to an image based search. In some ways Google recent foray with Boutiques demonstrated the true concept of a better approach to the real estate sector.

Another aspect of concern to Google could have been the view that an open free service for listing property opens up the potential for spammers to damage the user experience. Ed Freyfogle of Nestoria, who as an ex-Yahoo search expert is well positioned to comment, proposed this view that “The free model as demonstrated by Google means you’ll be spammed, get expired and fake listings, which are bad for users. And because you’re not earning any money, it’s hard to justify investing in the service”. There is no evidence that this did occur in NZ, but it was potentially a problem.

The existing specialist real estate websites like Realestate.co.nz that only accepts legitimate listings actively marketed by licensed real estate agents ensures that this eventuality cannot arise. A subscription fee model charged to real estate agents ensures the integrity of the content.

As to why Google will cease to provide this service. I suspect that the quoted reason being the changed structure of the Google Base to Google shopping data schema is the true reason – Google are a very highly advanced grouping of technologists.

In NZ the level of traffic from Google maps real estate search never eventuated to much. Realestate.co.nz fed 100% of content from day one and over the 19 months we received 220,000 session visits to Realestate.co.nz from the maps search – that is only 11,500 per month as compared to our total traffic being around 900,000 session visits per month. Consumers never easily found Google real estate map search, or even if they did, did not see it as that valuable.

Referring Sites - Google Analytics

The most likely people who did use it were real estate agents, who used it to better appreciate the total marketplace in their area. That is where it was of most value.iPhone map result example

The bottom line is that there is a significant place for mapping real estate listings – it is truly relevant in the context of mobile. When you are standing on a street corner, then a map representation of property near you for sale or rent is very compelling on your handheld mobile device – welcome to the smartphone apps from real estate portals!

Try it for yourself on the new Realestate.co.nz iPhone app.

2

Keeping up to date with the property market

Posted on: January 26th, 2011 | Filed in Featured, Market News, Real Estate Industry, REINZ Monthly data

Perfect image of houses croppedIt is late January and I must admit the Unconditional blog has been a bit quiet for the past few weeks as an extended vacation has meant I have not addressed an update on the NZ Property market.

Well, now back firmly in the chair,  I intend to address this issue by providing some key facts of assistance to any prospective buyer or seller as well as those fond of keeping a close eye on the property market.

The first data of 2011 will be published next Tuesday, the 1st of February when the NZ Property Report from Realestate.co.nz is published. The data will detail the level of activity of new listings coming onto the market in the first month of this new year. Suffice to say at this stage it is looking to be pretty quiet as far as new listings are concerned.

Closing out 2010 data from the Real Estate Institute showed sales in December of 4,397 properties, this was though up a seasonally adjusted 7.1% from the November sales; which itself was up a seasonally adjusted 23% from October.

However despite this recent pick-up in sales the total sales in the full calendar year were just 56,303. This figure is a mere 175 properties more than the lowest year since recording data back to 1992 (that prior lowest was 2008). It is very clear from the chart below the new levels of property sales of the past3 years since the turning point in the market.

NZ Property sales each year 1992 to 2010 REINZ Realestate.co.nz

Whilst the calendar year data shows the big picture it is inadequate in highlighting trends. For this I favour the seasonally adjusted monthly sales tracking as detailed in the chart below tracing the past 5 years by month since January 2006.

Seasonally_adjusted_monthly_sales_to_Dec_2010

In separating key periods I have tried to highlight the trends. The start of 2006 saw a fairly stable period for well over a year, right up to the turning point in the market in early 2007. The next year saw a significant fall to late summer 2008. Then followed a 9 month period of stability – a sense of adjustment before a resurgence occurred through a 7 month period in mid 2009. Unfortunately that resurgence ran out of steam as Spring 2009 appeared and the market has subsequently been sent backwards for the next 12 months.

To call a turning point is risky, but the chart does show some favourable signs through the past 3 months. As ever it is better to reflect after 6 months than just one quarter.

Sales volumes are a key indicator of the health of the market from the perspective of activity (as without buyer you have no market!). The level of demand is often best represented by price movements and to close out 2010 it is worth looking at what the trends are for property sales price. Using the Stratified House Price Index provided by the Real Estate Institute in consultation with the Reserve Bank as the measure, the chart below tracks the national price over the past 4 years.

Stratified_price_-_Dec_2010

The December stratified median price was $360,660 down from the November levels and as shown from the chart, down 5.3% from the peak price in the market back in November 2007. The selling price over the past 12 to 15 months has been tracking in a very narrow band from $370,000 to just below $357,000, there does appear to be a slight decline, but given the split axis this trend is very slight and it might be better to call these prices stable. Which when set against global property price movements of the past couple of years would be seen as favourable by the more optimistic among those property watchers.

4

NZ Property Report – December 2010

Posted on: January 1st, 2011 | Filed in Featured, NZ Property Report

blue pen and small houseThe December 2010 NZ Property Report published by Realestate.co.nz provides an insight into the state of the New Zealand property market as measured by the supply side of the property market over the month of December. The key measures of the market analysed in the report are the number of new listings, the asking price expectation for those new listings and the level of inventory of unsold houses on the market at this time. The report is compiled from data captured by the website and represents close to 95% of all property movements in the NZ market as managed by licensed real estate agents.

The December 2010 report shows a record low level of new listings coming onto the market. This was matched with a slight drop in asking price expectation. The constant factor in the market is the scale of the inventory of unsold houses which in absolute number began to decline this month as somewhat stronger sales began to clear some of the inventory. When judged against the rate of sale of property, which continues to be weak, the inventory in number of weeks of sales continues to sit well above long term average, currently at 50 weeks.

Realestate_DownloadNowA full print version of the NZ Property Report – December 2010 is published below and is available for download (1.3MB) and distribution.

Summary of the market – December 2010

NZ_Property_Report_cover_-_Dec_2010December traditionally is the quietest month of the year for listing of new properties for sale. The run up to Christmas tends to curtail the listing period to a part-month rather than a full-month with the consequential lower listing count. On a seasonally adjusted basis December this year shows no percentage change as compared to November, indicating the seasonal trend was expected, however the absolute level of listings is significant at this new low level.

The 2010 year has seen a consistent lower level of listings as the sales of properties has slowed through the year. In the full year 138,789 new listings were added to the market which began the year with 52,817 listings (at the time equivalent to 37 weeks of sales). The year ended with 53,077 barely a discernible difference in absolute number of properties on the market yet with a lower rate of sale the inventory of unsold houses now amounts to 50 weeks.

The recent sales report for from REINZ for November of 5,138 properties sold, did show a significant increase of 28% on a seasonally adjusted basis indicating that the market was showing some signs of life as the stability of interest rates and economic indicators moved into more positive territory.

The indicator of asking price expectation has shown a repetition of 2009 with a couple of peaks; currently returning down to a midpoint reflecting the fact that in the past 3 years vendors expectations of price increases have as yet not found a firm footing.

Asking Price

Truncated_mean_asking_price_of_new_listings_Dec_2010The truncated mean asking price for all new listings coming onto the market in December fell very slightly from $417,660 to $415,750. On a seasonally adjusted basis the asking price actually rose by 1.3%. Asking prices seem to be showing volatility especially with such low levels of listings coming onto the market.

The current asking price continues to drift down below the peak of Oct 2007, currently off 3.1%.

New Listings

Chart_of_new_listings_of_New_Property_NZ_Dec_2010The traditional seasonal fall in December was as expected, but when coming off a slower level of preceding months the actual level of 8,924 hit a record low. No single month since Jan 2007 has seen a total of less than 9,000 per month.

On a moving annual basis the past 12 months have seen 138,789 new listings compared to 135,416 in the prior year an increase of just 2.5%.

Inventory

Inventory_chart_Dec_2010The level of unsold houses on the market at the end of December fell to 53,077 from 54,365 in November. This represented the equivalent of 50.1 weeks of equivalent sales, as assessed on a seasonally adjusted basis.

The inventory of unsold houses, whilst dipping slightly as a consequence of a strong November sales continues to sit well above the long term average of 40 weeks of equivalent sales, this still sees the market showing a “buyers-market” inclination.

Regional Summary – Asking price expectations

Regional_map_of_new_property_asking_price_NZ_Dec_2010Whilst the national asking price expectation remained steady with just a small fall from prior month, the regional analysis shows some significant variances.

Amongst the 19 regions almost half showed a rise whilst the remained showed a fall. Strong increases in asking prices were seen in the North Island with Auckland showing a significant 5.2% increase as compared to recent 3 month average. The Hawkes Bay and Central North Island also showed strong increases, although in the latter region the volume of new listings was low.

Price movements in asking prices across the South Island were less significant with the Nelson / Marlborough region showing increases of over 5%.

Regional Summary – Listings

Regional_map_of_new_property_listings_NZ_Dec_2010With the record low level of new listings in the month the sentiment of the market based on new properties fresh to the market would seem to show an inclination to a seller’s market. This however takes no account of existing inventory of unsold houses on the market

In spite of the overall fall in new listings across the country, both the Coromandel and the Wairarapa both saw rises in new listings as compared to December last year.

There were 5 regions of the 19 across the country that saw year on year falls of more than a third – Northland, Gisborne, Hawkes Bay, Marlborough and Central North Island. With the exception of the latter region all of the others still have a relatively high inventory of unsold houses on the market.

Regional Summary – Inventory

Regional_map_of_inventory_of_unsold_houses_price_NZ_Dec_2010Despite the record low level of new listings and the relatively strong sales of properties in November the overall level of inventory of unsold houses on the market is still significantly above the long terms average (50 weeks as compared to 40 weeks).

The Auckland region now sitting with 36 weeks of unsold houses as compared to a long term average of 34 weeks is more finely balanced and with a 25% seasonally adjusted increase in property sales in November is certainly a more active market than other areas of the country.

Also of note is the Canterbury region which whilst suffering a significant initial impact of the September earthquake reported a 38% seasonally adjusted increase in sales in November – such levels seeing a reduction in available inventory edging the region towards a more balanced market.

Lifestyle

Chart_of_new_listings_of_Lifestyle_property_NZ_Dec_2010Lifestyle property listings In December totaled 927 – not a record low as compared to the total of all property listings seen in the month. In fact the total was 20% up on the low of January 2009.

In terms of asking price expectation the truncated mean for the month was $537,368 which was 13% down on the same period last year and 4% below the recent 3 month average. The current asking price is 15% below the peak asking price which was in February 2009.

Apartments

Chart_of_new_listings_of_Apartments_NZ_Dec_2010Listings for apartments fell in December from 594 in November to 452, again not a record low, that being 352 in January 2009. Over the past 12 months a total 6,651 new apartments have come onto the market – up 3.7% as compared to the total of 2009 at 6,416. The asking price (truncated mean) rose in December by a significant 26% as compared to the recent 3 month average.

The Auckland apartment market showed a degree of activity with 268 new listings at an asking price of $479,258. This asking price was significantly up on the recent 3 month average of $315,410. This asking price is the highest level of asking price recorded going back to January 2007.

Property Price Index

Comparing the sale price of properties across the country to the asking price expectation is not a perfect comparison; however the trends tend to align. The benefit is that the data for asking price is of the market today, whilst the selling price is reflective of the market active between 4 and 6 weeks ago. The latest comparison is highlighted below:

Price_Index_comparison_REINZ_sale_price_to_Realestate.co.nz_listing_price_Dec_2010Realestate.co.nz data is compiled from asking prices of new residential listings as they come onto the market via subscribers to the realestate.co.nz website. The Realestate.co.nz website currently has over 94% of all licensed real estate offices subscribing and providing all of their listings onto the website. The asking price is presented as a truncated mean price at a 10% interval.

REINZ: data is compiled from reported unconditional residential sales from all members of the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand representing all licensed real estate offices. The sale price is published as a stratified median house price and is developed in association with the Reserve Bank of NZ.

Notes:

Truncated mean

The monthly asking price for new listings presented in this report utilises the measure of ‘truncated mean’. This measure is judged to be a more accurate measure of the market price than average price as it statistically removes the extremes that exist within any property market that can so easily introduce a skew to traditional average price figures.

The truncated mean used in this report removes the upper 10% and the lower 10% of listings in each data set. An average or mean of the balance of listings is then calculated.

Methodology

With the largest database of properties for sale in NZ, realestate.co.nz is uniquely placed to immediately identify any changes in the marketplace. The realestate.co.nz NZ Property Report is compiled from new listings coming onto the market from the more than 1,050 licensed real estate offices across NZ, representing more than 95% of all offices.

With an average monthly level of over 10,000 new listings, the realestate.co.nz NZ Property Report provides the largest monthly sample report on the residential property market, as well as a more timely view of the property market than any other property report. The data is collated and analysed at the close of each month, and the Report is compiled for the 1st day of the following month. This provides a feedback mechanism as to the immediate state of the market, well in advance of sales statistics which by the very nature of the selling process can reflect activity with a lag of between 2 and 4 months.

In analysing the details of the 8,924 new listings in the month of December a total of 117 listings have been excluded due to anomalies. The categorisation of Lifestyle property is defined by the land area of the property. The criterion is a property having in excess of 0.3 hectares and being situated outside metropolitan areas.

Background to Realestate.co.nz

Realestate.co.nz is the official website company of the real estate industry of New Zealand, it is an industry owned web business providing online marketing services to the real estate industry. The shareholders in the business comprise the REINZ (50%) and six of the largest real estate companies (50%).

The business operates a portfolio of websites all focused to specialist sectors of the real estate market:

Realestate.co.nz is the heart of the business and is focused to the residential property market. It features the most comprehensive selection of property for sale and rent across NZ. The website attracts a significant monthly audience of over 370,000 unique browsers, with over 110,000 of those visiting from countries outside of NZ.

nzFarms is a specialist website presenting the most comprehensive selection of farms and agricultural businesses on the market across NZ. At this time it features around 5,000 listings for all types of farms and agricultural land as well as over 11,000 lifestyle properties.

Prime Commercial is a specialist website presenting the most comprehensive selection of commercial property for purchase or lease on the market across NZ. At this time it features over 27,000 listings for all types of properties – retail, commercial, industrial and investment properties.

Prime Business is a specialist website presenting the most comprehensive selection of businesses for sale on the market across NZ. At this time it features over 4,300 listings for all types of businesses – retail, tourism, wholesale as well as franchise opportunities.

Zoodle is a specialist property information website providing very detailed data on all residential properties in NZ. The database comprises over 1.5m properties with detailed specifications, map and local amenities. The site provides online reports for free and for purchase covering valuation and legal information to greatly assist the needs of property buyers and sellers.

The web business of Realestate.co.nz site is the most comprehensive real estate web operation in NZ, currently hosting over 122,000 listings, covering this portfolio of residential property for sale and rent, commercial property for sale and lease, rural properties and farms, as well as businesses for sale. With a subscriber base of over 1,050 offices, the company represents over 95% of all listings from licensed real estate agents in NZ.

The full NZ Property Report for December 2010 can be downloaded here (1.3MB pdf document). Additionally the raw data is accessible here as an Excel spreadsheet enabling anyone to analyse the raw data and establish any trends or observations.

Usage rights are governed under attribution to the source of the data being Realestate.co.nz. The next NZ Property Report for January 2011 will be published on this website on Tuesday 1st February 2011 at 10am.

5

Economic outlook for 2011 with a focus on the property market

Posted on: December 17th, 2010 | Filed in Buying / Selling a home, Featured, Money Matters

Stockmarket screenI was delighted recently to have the chance to sit down and chat with Shamubeel Eaqub. Shamubeel is the Principal Economist with the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research and as such is a respected economist and often quoted and interviewed personality.

I was keen to have the opportunity for Shamubeel to bring some insight into the broad economic outlook for the next 12 months with naturally a focus to the property market.

As someone who has by his own admission been a serious pessimist over the economy over the past 3 years, Shamubeel reveals in the interview a sense that we are beginning to see the early signs of a brighter future – by no means a buoyant one, but an outlook that holds stronger economic growth than we have seen lately.

The interview is extensive and at just over 30 minutes (we cover a lot of detail) we split the video in two parts.

Part 1

Part 2

1

The great tour is done!

Posted on: December 16th, 2010 | Filed in Featured, social media, The lighter side, Website news

Queenstown stopover airport 3

Tuesday the 14th December 2010 may not go down as a historic day is the same manner as the First Moon Landing or the invention of the Guttenberg Press, but in its own way it was a significant day.

It was the day of the Great New Zealand Property Tour – a fun and unique event to showcase the capabilities of the new iPhone app from Realestate.co.nz.

Air New Zealand Bookings - Multistop Search for FlightsWe wanted a means by which we could show off the extensive coverage of the app around NZ. So rather than invest in world leading advertising campaign featuring international TV stars to showcase the extremes of NZ coverage; we in typical kiwi style grabbed a couple of flights to set off around the country and try and get to 6 locations across the North and South Island in a day – only using scheduled flights.

14 hours after we set off from Auckland we returned home having taken 6 flights and seen 5 locations around the country and more importantly demonstrated the app at each location.

Due to the vagaries of the weather we had to unfortunately skip the stop-over in Blenheim. We did however touchdown at Napier, Wellington, Christchurch, Queenstown and Auckland.

Elvis- smallThrough the day we encountered some really great people – Elvis (aka Brian Childs) in Wellington, Louise McLeavy in the Garden City and Mark Martin in Queenstown – all great real estate agents and all passionate about the new app for their clients. It is great to see the way the real estate profession is adopting new technology and demonstrating to their clients the power of open accessible data.

We actively used social media during the day – employing both Twitter and Facebook to engage the growing audience with the fun and appreciation of the app. We created a unique Twitter page which captured 171 followers during the day, this was supported by tweets from key people in our team with their own tweets and also the Realestate.co.nz twitter page. On Facebook we created a special section on the Realestate.co.nz Facebook page to profile the tour and gained over 200 new fans on the day – come and join us and follow us on both now! We also added all the videos we produced on the day tracking our path round the country.

Prizes were flowing thick and fast with vouchers, a Foosball table and 2 iPhones – thanks to the great team at Westpac. These prizes were given away to fast fingered tweeters who decrypted the clues sent out when we landed at each location.Queenstown villas small

We had a chance at each location to launch the app and examine the market and in some cases we chatted to the agents to get them to give us a perspective on the property market. Our time at most locations did not allow us to check out any property with the exception of Queenstown where Mark Martin showed us this amazing Alpine villa property perched magnificently high atop Queenstown Hill. The property was easily found via the app with some awesome photos. We did our own checks on the home, storing images and making notes on bedrooms, bathrooms and gardens.

Credits:

Starring in order of appearance

Brian Childs (aka Elvis) – Professionals Hutt City

Aaron Davis – apologies from 16,000 ft over Blenheim

Louise McLeavey – Harcourts

Mark Martin – Harcourts Queenstown

Original concept – Bullet PR

Screenplay – Nicholas O’Flaherty

Script – done on the fly productions

App design and build: Cactus Lab – Karl, Matt and the team

Prizes :

Mitre 10

Endemicworld.com

Urbis Magazine

Hire a Hubby

Westpac Bank – Adrian McCaffrey : Marketing Manager – Housing

Production:

Video camera operator – Tammy Smith

Video equipment – Flip camera : Barnacle Barnes

All technology used in this production of this blog post and the whole of the NZ Property Tour was courtesy of Apple Computers

Make up – not enough time to apply any!

Facebook pages – Skinny marketing – Andrew & Anthony

Video upload – Skinny Marketing

Catering services – Air New Zealand Koru lounges

Tweeter – @nzpropertytour : Robyn Ellson

Tweeter – @realestateconz : Kerry Kissane

Tweeter – @bulletpr : Alex Erasmus

Tweeter – @alistairnz : Alistair Helm

Ground Transportation – Christchurch : Jackie (Christchurch Blue Star Taxis)

Flight planning co-ordination : Air New Zealand excellent online booking

Flight rescheduling : Adrian – Air New Zealand Koru lounge concierge

All flights – Air New Zealand

Special thanks to Westpac bank for being a great partner in developing and promoting the app

4

Great NZ Property Tour

Posted on: December 13th, 2010 | Filed in Featured, social media

iStock_NZ beach with caravan 000008468379XSmallThe launch of the new iPhone app late last month left us with an interesting dilemma – how to promote the app to an audience who were clearly “in-touch” with technology as users of the latest smart phone technology.

We wanted to leverage our knowledge and experience of social media and at the same time not cross over theBus shelter adverts Nov 2010 (1 page) excellent marketing campaign currently underway by Westpac covering TV and the new outdoor poster campaigns on Bus Shelters.

We wanted to do something to promote the app – something a bit different and something which could have an element of participation, most of all something that could show off the app to our diverse customer base of home buyers and agents around the country.

The off-the-wall idea we came up with is The Great NZ Property Tour, as reflective of the great tours of Europe and Asia, we decided we would challenge ourselves to get to as many places in NZ in one day using scheduled Air New Zealand flights.

Starting from our home base of Auckland we will undertake a frenetic schedule that will see us traverse both islands and take in 6 locations before arriving back in Auckland the same day. Air New Zealand did undertake a roadshow by plane last year involving Opshop playing gigs at 10 locations around the country in a day – they did though have the advantage of a chartered plane – we are sticking to scheduled flights on a variety of planes.

During the somewhat short stopovers at each location we will be meeting local agents, checking out the available properties on the market via the iPhone app and then hopefully seeing a few properties on the market.

To add interest to the tour which is happening on Tuesday 14th December we will broadcast live via social media platforms of Twitter and Facebook. We will be posting updates as well as images and videos – capturing scenes and a hopefully a few off beat events.

We have secured some great prizes which will be given away on the day. All you need to do is follow us on Twitter or Facebook on the day when we will be sharing clues and announcing prizes.

twitter-logo-1facebook_logo

The routing is not disclosed at this time, but I can tell you it covers some of the most beautiful parts of NZ and hopefully with a good weather forecast we can capture some great scenes and some great properties.

So join us and have some fun!

3

Realestate iPhone app proves popular!

Posted on: December 7th, 2010 | Filed in Featured, mobile, Online marketing, Technology

blue bar chart growing - croppedThe first week with the app has been a blast! – we are delighted and so it seems are our audience, which feels great.

Since we launched 10 days ago we have had just over 7,000 downloads.

The usage so far is spectacular. Over the weekend we found that the level of traffic really picked up as expected (and as shared with us by US real estate sites with apps) as people used it to plan, navigate and collate their open home tours!

On Saturday we had the equivalent of 1 in 10 of our website visitors to listings on realestate.co.nz accessing property information via the app. During that period they viewed over 10,000 unique properties – that shows just how compelling the app is with people on the go, who want to be in touch with the property market.

Not only is the usage great, the feedback is awesome – thanks!

iTunes-1The iTunes store provides a platform for rating the app and we are again delighted to have had 20 written reviews and 25 ratings with an aggregate score of 4 out of 5 – plenty of people rate it 5 stars, there are some 4 stars and some 1 stars (its an open rating system!). The review section though does not allow the opportunity to comment back to posters, so here is some answers to questions asked.

FatCat Matt commented “Good app for the crazy ones buying houses like us. But needs to list the auctions date also!”

This is a good point and currently the app only highlights that the property is being sold by auction, tender or by negotiation. We will take this on board for future updates to the app.

ReaderG commented “Looks great but why not iPad too? Look forward to the upgrade”.

A good question and one that has been asked a few times. Firstly the app works well on the iPad – in the 2x mode you get great images (example below) and maps – the images are in the main configured for the iPhone 4 retina display so the quality on the iPad is pretty good.

iPad image example

Secondly we are waiting and reviewing the role of the iPad in real estate search process and are keen to get feedback. The principle of the iPhone app is to have a device which people can use “on the go” – whilst out and about at open homes and at the weekend. The integration of photos captured at properties as part of notes on the property is core to the principle of the app and this cannot be handled on the iPad – at the moment.

What I think this comment shows us is how valuable a search on a map is to the real estate search within the website of realestate.co.nz. We are currently working on this update for the new year on the website.

I can say that an iPad app is part of our plans for the near future as would be an Android app and Windows 7 mobile app.

……………………….

Mazone66 commented “Sadly doesn’t show over 50% of current listings. Disappointing”

The app is currently showing 45,296 listings of properties and building sections for sale as per the screen shot below (great feature this to be able to zoom right out to the whole of NZ).

iPhone addresses 6 Dec 2010On the site currently we have 49,314 homes for sale, 16,743 building sections for sale as well as 11,382 lifestyle properties. That means that the app has 58% of all the current licensed real estate listings we have on the website (we have a subscriber base of over 95% of all licensed real estate offices in NZ).

So Mazone66 is partly right in that we do not show all listings, but we do have more than 50%. There are 2 reasons for this lack of completeness. Firstly whilst we have close to 100% of all listing sent to us by real estate agents with an address, still a lot of agents request us not to publish the address, secondly address matching to map positioning is not an exact science (for more detailed explanation on these two issue please read my comment to a question on the earlier blog post on the launch of the iPhone app). Rest assured we are working really hard to improve the ratio of listings that are shown on the app – we want to provide the most comprehensive experience.

……………………….

Zoomzoom.mike commented “The only app that has ever asked me to go into general settings to enable location; the rest ask the questions within the app“.

We have double checked with our development team at Cactus Lab and they tell us that the code for the app for the iTunes App store does not have an option to ask for location or not to ask. The experience that has been noted here is not a function of how the app is built but may be a part of the set up of the phone on an individual basis. I am sorry Mike that this was the experience, the iTunes app store and the iPhone platform has many compliance requirements and we have to build to that, we want a seamless experience and we are sorry that you had this experience.

ZoomZoom mike also commented”Needs to have more specific search / filtering to make it truly personalized and useful. For example I only wanted to see 3 bedroom, 2 bathrooms, less than $400k

The “refine” button allows for filtering of bedrooms, price and type of property. It does not provide filtering on bathrooms. We did in reviewing the spec for the app judge that removing the bathroom filter would not be a great loss in the interest of use of space. Clearly we may need to review this.

iPhone refine options Dec 2010

……………………….

appUser John commented “This is a great idea, done really well, except for the out of date realestate.co.nz database.

3 out of 4 houses I found with this app were actually no longer on the market. There are other houses around that don’t show up on the app. Also, it crashed 3 times in the 1day I was playing with it

The issue in regard to the houses that are for sale not showing up on the app was answered earlier. In regard to property found on the app no longer being on the market. This is of concern to us. Our database of properties for sale (as well as rental, commercial properties, businesses and farms) is an integrated database with all of the customers of the website (real estate companies and agents).

We have over 1,000 real estate companies and offices sending us data everyday – sometime multiple times per day. In this way our database becomes a mirror of the database of the real estate offices and is very much live and dynamic with listings constantly being added and removed. These companies and offices want to ensure that they only advertise on our website or theirs properties that are truly on the market.

As to the experience of the app crashing, this is very frustrating. Naturally we have extensively tested the app however unlike a PC environment the mobile OS environment is susceptible to the connections with carriers and the nature of the computing platform. We are really keen to be able to investigate such crashes. To help us if you wouldn’t mind if you could go to this website and follow this instruction to log crashes – it does this through a sync feature with iTunes so you don’t need worry about remembering where you were on the app when it crashed!!

Page 13 of 21« First...1112131415...20...Last »