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Archive for the ‘Featured’ Category

12

Realestate comes to the iPhone

Posted on: November 26th, 2010 | Filed in Featured, Technology, Website news

Apple - iPhone 4 - Video calls, multitasking, HD video, and moreIf you are one of the 200,000 odd people in NZ (or in fact one of the 74 million around the world) that own an iPhone then you can now discover NZ real estate on your smart phone.

Realestate.coIphone home page - cropped.nz has been since its launch 4 years ago a leader in online real estate marketing; through social media, rich property and community information as well as innovation through the adoption of Google maps. That is why we are pleased to bring NZ real estate to the iPhone. This is the first dedicated iPhone app for the whole NZ property market. It is also the most comprehensive app for discovering property for sale.

We built the app after extensive research from around the world. We wanted to build an app that was not just a website on a mobile platform – that is not what buyers want.

We reviewed the top apps from the US (Zillow, Trulia and Redfin) and from the UK (Rightmove), we also looked at specific real estate company apps (Better Homes & Gardens Real Estate). We wanted to bring the best experience we could to make sure we offered a great experience – something that people would love to use and love to share.

In some ways the app needs no description – it is designed without a user manual. It is intuitive. However here’s 10 great reasons why this app is a must for any house hunter or real estate enthusiast:

  1. It is a discovery device Download the app and first off it shows you a property that is for sale near you! Hit the “near you” button and you are instantly shown what is for sale within a 1km radius (actually depends where in the country you are – in a remote location means it will search a wider radius).iphone near me
  2. Open Homes We have highlighted open homes with a flag to allow you easily see what you could pop around to view today or this weekend. Great when you have a quiet afternoon.
  3. Refine your search From the map you can refine your search – fancy property over $500k but less than $700k with 3 bedrooms, no problem. Fancy spreading the net wider than just your current location – zoom out on map to see a broader range. Keep zooming out a far as you like to see the whole country if you like!
  4. Zooming! You will notice that as you zoom out we have clustered the pins into blue dot which are numbered – this is the aggregate of listings in this area.iphone clustering
  5. Check out all the photos Found that interesting property along the road? Just tap to see the full listing details and all the photos. Flick the iPhone round to see them in landscape mode. Like the property but want to know more? – just call the agent or send an email – all from the iPhone.
  6. Virtual open home notebook When reviewing any property (especially open homes) you can make notes on all aspects of the property. Hit the inspection button and you can rate, make notes and add photos (or video) for any section of the property – the living area, the kitchen, bedrooms, outside etc. Also check out the Tips for things to look for and checkout when inspecting a property. All these notes then become part of the stored “My Property” section of the app housing you favourites. At this stage we have not, given this is version 1 synchronsied these with your “My Property” section on the website, that will come later.iPhone taking notes at open home
  7. Search by location Find out about property for sale anywhere in NZ. Given the comprehensive content of Realesate.co.nz why not go check to see what is for sale in your dream location. Use the “Search” function on the home page and either select by region, district and suburb or else type in the name of the town or street in the search box at the top – whichever way you choose you instantly see what’s for sale there.
  8. What you see is what you get Seem simple but this app only shows properties on the map where we have an address supplied by the agent. If you want to check to see if there are other properties for sale then hit the “list view” button on the map result page to see all the properties for sale in the area.
  9. Favourites Your favourites you have saved as well as open homes and also the most recently viewed properties are all stored in the “My Property” section – we want you to easily find that great property you were just checking out.
  10. The Mortgage So you have found that perfect home – but can you afford it? We have partnered with our good friends at Westpac to bring you an affordability calculator for each property. Check it out to see what the fortnightly or monthly repayments might be for different terms and different deposits. Then check out the local Westpac branch near you – right on the app for the contact details of a mobile mortgage manager to assist you. Oh and by the way the maps also feature locations for all of the Westpac ATM’s so there is no excuse for being short of some cash!iPhone westpac

So as you can see we are excited by this new app, so please let us know what you think, go to iTunes and download the app or visit our download page for the iPhone and leave feedback or on iTunes.

We are conscious that this is version 1.0 – we will continue to develop and improve the app, so tell us what you would like to see and how we can improve it. We can learn best when we listen.

2

Insight into online real estate marketing

Posted on: November 24th, 2010 | Filed in Featured, Online marketing, social media

marketing words croppedI was recently asked to do an online interview (they asked questions and I wrote a response!) for Property AdGuru on the subject of online real estate marketing. Whilst the focus of my response was addressed to the customers of realestate.co.nz – real estate agents and companies, I was conscious that the responses might well resonate with buyers, sellers and those who have a general interest in real estate.

Here are the full written responses.

What are the top three things you think agents need to include in their listing to get it noticed?

1. Photos

Magnificent Mission Bay - Realestate.co.nzSeems so simple, but in NZ as in so many countries the art of taking / commissioning photos of a property seems to be forgotten at best and completely ignored at worst. I still to my horror, see listings with no photos or photos of the bathroom or the couch as the first photo. So little time taken to make such a major impact. It really frustrates me to see the abdication of responsibility. I often see better and more insightful photos taken for a $20 item on e-bay than I see for a $300,000 property.

Having said all of that we do see the average number of photos per listing growing all the time, back in 2006 it was less than 4, by 2008 it was just under 10 and today it is over 16. Many are taking advantage of our policy of no restrictions and we have many listings with in excess of 80 photos for a single listing.

Not only that, the property and thereby the agent’s client is being poorly represented, but the agent is doing themselves such a disservice – a smart vendor checking out the capabilities of prospective agents will make fast work out of eliminating agents that fail at this very first huddle. The sad truth is these agents get away with it because they will spend proportionally more time composing, reviewing and proofing a single half page advert in the newspaper – an advert potentially seen by a fraction of the audience of the online advert.

2. Address

It’s a property they are trying to sell! – so why not share the most basic of information!

Only 60% of all listings on realestate.co.nz show the address on the website – often this omission by 4 out of 10 listings is not because the respective agents don’t want to display it, but rather as we found out the other day there are still offices and companies that have a policy that the default for upload of listing data is to not display the address (even though in the data file we have the address).

The history of this tactic has been shared with me, as I am sure all in this industry will know, in that no address is thought to encourage the prospective buyer to contact the agent to find out the details. Well the world has moved on, and the consumers of today have a higher threshold expectation of transparency and so feel that the address should be there. Just as in the case of the photos, a prospective buyer not seeing an address will undertake to identify the address using whatever online tools they can – mostly Google maps and StreetView; if they through this super sleuthing find the address – the question will be – how will that reflect on their estimation of the agent?? – not that good!

3. Community information

Agents are flush with a wealth of information and knowledge. They are by the very nature of this industry, local experts. Their niche is the very small geographical boundaries that define their business area. They know so much about the houses, the schools, the transportation, the shops, the cafes (they are certainly experts there!) and the local amenities. This information is so vital for prospective buyers. It is valued and respected if the agents can get it across in a compelling and transparent manner.

The best advice is for agents to include snippets of this info in listings as sound bites and morsels that attract buyers to check out richer information curated on a personal blog. With websites allowing embedded html in listing details for blog links, this opportunity is a gold mine for agents that is seldom utilised.

What is the biggest mistake agents tend to make when listing a property?

Simply put; ignoring these key three points above!

- its a bathroomTo be more specific the critical importance of the first photo for a listing cannot be underestimated. It is the hero shot and has to work hard to really sell the appeal of the listing. As with poor quality photos, insufficient photos or no photos, choosing the wrong photo for the 1st place can be, and is often the case is the criminal mistake agents all too often make.

I have seen some horrible examples – photos of toilets, kitchens, untidy bedroom, couches – you name it we have seen it. Even the use of an image of the landscape view from the property can be poor choice. The mindset of the searching buyers is typified in having a brain hardwired to be evaluating property design types and looks. To throw in a view from a property is confusing.

Some agents tell me that this disruption to the regular type of photo is very successful in getting people to be inquisitive and get them to check out more photos. I cannot deny the logic of their argument, but as a marketeer I disagree as intrusive, out-of-context images tend to allow the viewer to eliminate; as that is the core task of a search / refine process – people need to eliminate to refine down to a meaningful number of properties to evaluate in detail.

image coming soonAnother appalling error (which I am glad to see declining in incidence) is the tactic of posting a new listing with a heading “Just listed – too new to photograph”, often accompanied with insufficient or no information. The logic for this behaviour from those agents is the desire to “get the listing online” as fast as possible – of course not appreciating that no content means no value to the target audience and going back to an earlier comment – blows the credibility of the agent. Added to the negative impact on the searcher online is the fact that all new listings are featured in the daily email to hot prospects – this one time medium is so powerful to target the listing to the right audience. As I say to agents, miss that first day and you have almost blow the campaign.

We did research recently on a sample of over 1,000 listings and found that over 40% of viewing for a property occur in the first week with the majority of that on the first day. So it comes down again to “proofing” a listing with comprehensive information before posting it to the web.

Besides creating high-quality listings, what else should Australian and New Zealand real estate agents be doing to market themselves online?

Every agent has to have a profile page on the web. This page must be the #1 link on a Google search for their name (with or without the reference to real estate in the search term – depending on the uniqueness of the name). Every agent needs to own this space. This is their reference tool 24hrs a day. Ideally the profile should be hosted on their own domain name, if not then on the domain of their company or as in the case of our site we offer profile pages on our site. The benefit of a profile page on realestate.co.nz is that if the agent changes offices/ company, the day of that change the profile page on our site changes, and maintains the same Google search page ranking, whereas the old profile on the old company website will still be there until the new profile gains ranking.

Step 2 after the basic web page is a web site, this is the opportunity for richer information to profile the agent and feature all the success and unique proposition they offer prospective clients. A natural evolution to the website is a blog. Today the lines between blog and website have blurred to the extent that they are one of the same. The feature set of being able to add dynamic content to a website is critical for an agent to build a profile as a local expert – or as a subject matter expert. This is or rather should be the ambition of every agent, this is their calling card, their prospecting tool, their letterbox drop all rolled into one.

As ever building the website is only the beginning – it needs nurturing and growing to attract an audience, it needs referral links in both on an offline references. This requires work, the use of social media tool such as Facebook and Twitter as well as outreach to establish back links to other relevant and contextual sites in their community or business area. It take time, but as with anything the investment will pay back – and the beauty of the web is that it keeps paying back 24hrs a day.

9

More and more listings found online is great for consumers and the industry

Posted on: November 19th, 2010 | Filed in Featured, Online marketing, Website searching

blue bar chart growing - croppedI am sure that the phrase “Content is king” had relevance prior to the internet age, however in the past 20 years it has become a mantra of web companies. As consumers gravitate to rich content, so will be found the opportunity for product and advertising sales.

In the context of real estate, listings content is critical. A property searcher wants to find the most comprehensive selection of property for sale or rent ideally on one site (to avoid having to visit multiple sites). In the NZ market the challenge for the 2 main websites (realestate.co.nz and Trade Me Property) has been in attracting real estate agents to list their content. The chart below tracks the total number of residential listings (this includes homes, apartments, lifestyle properties and sections) on these 2 websites over the past 4 years.

real estate listings for NZ between 2006 and 2010

As is very clear from the chart, realestate.co.nz has long hosted a more comprehensive selection of content than Trade Me. Realestate.co.nz is a website owned by the real estate industry through a 50% shareholding by the Real Estate Institute and 50% by six of the large real estate companies. Trade me is a subsidiary company of Fairfax media.

A key differentiation of Trade me as compared to realestate.co.nz is the fact that Trade me features private listings, something that naturally Realestate.co.nz and its owners are reluctant to do. This means that all of the listings on realestate.co.nz are from licensed real estate agents. Realestate.co.nz currently has around 95% of all of the listings of licensed agents in NZ featured on the site.

The growth of Trade me Property is impressive and they are to be congratulated. Their latest email for November celebrates this fact, citing that with “more than 70,000 houses for sale and rent.. that’s more than any other real estate site in NZ”. This is a fact if you add up all the homes for sale, together with lifestyle property and rental property Trade me Property has 72,835 and realestate.co.nz has 68,182.

This fact is a reflection of just how important the real estate industry judge the web to be in marketing property. This industry judges that in addition to their own websites and realestate.co.nz they wish to ensure that they all feature their listings on the largest trafficked website in NZ. As less people read newspapers and property magazines, with an ever growing use of the web for property searching it is completely logical that real estate agents on behalf of their clients would go for maximum exposure.

In most countries around the world now as newspaper and magazine advertising for property dwindles in relevance so each country begins to rely on 2 or 3 major real estate websites. In Australia it is Realestate.com.au and Domain. In the UK Rightmove.co.uk and Primelocation.co.uk. In the US – Realtor.com, Zillow.com, Yahoo real estate and Trulia.

However returning to the opening statement – content is still king and for the sake of transparency I think it is valuable to dive a little behind the headline figures provided in the Trade me Property newsletter. The chart below breaks down the number of listings by category. It is very clear that whilst Trade me Property holds a significant advantage in rental property (a significant part of that segment is made up of private landords) when it comes to homes for sale, lifestyle property and sections for sale, realestate.co.nz still holds a more comprehensive portfolio.

Real estate listings at Nov 2010 for NZ leading two portals

As a final analysis it is worth recognising that as mentioned earlier Trade me features listings from private sellers and private landlords. This richer data set will in time mean that as Trade me gains real estate agent subscribers, the total of listings on their site will grow ahead of realestate.co.nz. This component of private listings was estimated by Trade me back in January of this year at 16% of the total. Applying this calculation to the current listings produces this view of the comparison between the two websites.

real estate listings online as at Nov 2010 showing private listings and agent listings

7

When it comes to searching for property nothing beats the ease and functionality of the web – true?

Posted on: November 12th, 2010 | Filed in Agent Tips, Featured, Website news

Searching for a home istock - croppedThat fact holds so true and has been validated in consistent research and usage – especially as everyday close to 100,000 unique visitors check out property information online in NZ (on realestate.co.nz we average of 22,000 per day) – far in excess of any print media. They love the ability to refine searches and be notified of new properties; as well as view dozens of photos, maps, videos and property statistics; all from the comfort of their couch or desk.

Having said all of that, there comes a time in the process of house hunting when printed information is invaluable.

The printed page is still one of the best ways of sharing vital information in a close group of people. In the case of open home viewings, I know from personal experience the ease of grabbing a set of printed details for each of the properties we are going to visit. From listening to our customers this is often their experience as well. It is interesting how that contrasts with earlier responses I remember well when the response was “we are a website – why would you want to print details?”

To help just such people (I suspect more than we might imagine!) we have made some tweaks and added some technology so that now you can print details of an individual listing in a nicely formatted pdf file that can be shared with your friends and partner.

pdf printThe print function lies at the top right of every listing page (and has a clear highlighter saying “New PDF”) – depending on the browser you use, it will create and download a pdf or it may open a new tab showing the document.

In addition to collating all the information presented on the listing – photos, address, specifications and a map; we also have added the latest data of viewings for the listing. These statistics are presented in a chart showing the number of viewings of the property day by day over the past month as well as where those viewings have come from, anywhere around the world.

Sample pdf print of a realestate.co.nz property listing

Listing view stats(By the way these charts are accessible for any listing and are updated dynamically – just click the link in the top right hand side of the page marked “listing viewed xx times”).

So whenever you want to grab a record for a property and scribble some notes, then you can now use this great tool and have all the information laid out in an easy to read format.

We do however ask you to act responsibly and not print excessively! – we don’t wish to be the cause of environmental devastation as our print media colleagues are!

2

Homestar – energy efficiency rating for your home

Posted on: November 10th, 2010 | Filed in Architecture & Construction, Featured, Green

homestar logo horz RGB.jpg-1

We have long heard the media coverage of how close to 1.0 million out of our 1.6 million homes are poorly insulated, inefficient in the use of energy and potentially unhealthy. The big question as has often been asked is “how can I check out my own home to see if it is efficient”?

Well with the launch of Homestar you now can.

Through its online self-assessment tool you can complete a very detailed evaluation of all aspects of your home, from construction type, insulation, lighting, power usage, heating source, orientation, water usage.. the list goes on and on. The survey provides you with a rating score from 1 to 10. Further than just making you feel good (or depressingly bad!) about your score, the tool provides a superb report covering all aspects of your home to advise as to how to improve its performance with ranking as to how expensive such developments could be, how much benefit they could bring and how easy they are to implement.

This report and online tool should be a must for all homeowners, as well as landlords (and tenants). If you know what things could be done, easily and cheaply to improve the rating, then you are more likely to do it.

The good news is that as a country we are beginning to address this broad issue of energy usage and comfort. At the launch of the Homestar initiative this week, the Minister for Building and Construction, the Hon. Maurice Williamson shared the extent of the uptake of the government subsidy for insulation (warm up campaign) – some 61,000 households had applied for the subsidy since it was introduced, very effectively demonstrating the power of financial motivational over legislative mandate to drive homeowner behaviour.

The Homestar initiative, brought together through an industry collaboration with government support, goes well beyond just an online self-assessment tool. Certified Homecoaches will be trained to provide specialist advice as to how the recommendations of the self-assessment survey can be implemented, leveraging the private sector parters; who are the product and system suppliers to the solutions required and identified in the survey.

A very important third component of the scheme is of great interest to the real estate industry, and with the support of realestate.co.nz could become a very key part of selling and marketing a property in the near future.

Licensed certified assessors will be appointed by Homestar to carry out independent assessments of properties in the same way a valuation or a building report will be undertaken. This independent survey will then be public information in the form of a unique individual registered rating, which will have a value in the minds of prospective buyers. There is robust information from overseas examples which show that such rated houses put up for sale, performing highly in terms of energy efficiency and environmental impact not only attain a sale price premium, but also sell faster.

The screen mockups seen here provide a concept of how the information could be added to the details of a listing and through the addition of a search filter could profile such properties as well as allow buyers to filter to specific performance criteria within their geographical and price boundaries.

Homestar Realestate.co.nz Nov 8 2010.ppt

As ever the critical success of this scheme and the full initiative will come from the advocacy within the core groups of which the real estate industry is so key. If real estate agents embrace this certification in the promotion of comprehensive data for listing a property it will provide value for their clients (the property owner) as well as enormous value for buyers.

7

Social media – return on investment ?

Posted on: November 9th, 2010 | Filed in Featured, social media

Social media croppedSocial media is here – that is a fact; and as more and more of us incorporate it into our everyday lives (personal and business) the key question as ever is – is this a good use of my time?

Running the website of Realestate.co.nz and writing this blog – (which is now celebrating its 3rd birthday with this the 503rd post written!) has given me a perspective of how to evaluate the ROI for social media.

The judgment I make is based on objective and subjective insight. Objectively, I can look at the value of social media in terms of search engine optimisation (SEO) and the value of incremental web traffic. Coupled with this is the more subjective value of the deeper and richer loyalty of engagement with our customers. This has been achieved by providing the Voices blogging platform for real estate agents.

Overall social media has been a excellent vehicle for developing and hosting a valuable portfolio of statistics and analysis which has been leveraged through the media to build the profile of the brand and establish the company in a position as a knowledge leaders in the market.

A core part of embracing these new technology and media formats is keeping informed of developments and learning from others. This year has been notable for the value of conferences I have attended, not by their abundance but by their content and presentation, and also more importantly for their interactive ability. In years gone by conferences tended to be dry and laboursome – today through the interactive ability, especially of Twitter, it is possible for all conferences to become highly interactive events.

I have attended quite a few conferences this year from the Inman Connect conferences in the US to the Social Media Junction conference, to the first of our own Future of Real Estate conference. All have been past fast paced with a wealth of domestic and international speakers, and all have leveraged the power of live tweeting to allow questioning, feedback and interaction so that as a participant or a speaker you can truly sense the feedback and if necessary modify the delivery.

So just as the year draws to a close I wanted to highlight a further opportunity of a conference coming up in the next week, which is a second Social Media Junction conference put on by Bullet PR. The first conference back in May attracted over 200 attendees from across the spectrum of NZ business and such was the appeal that the event is being put on again, this time in an extended format. This time the event covers 3 days. The first day is a specialist day for the public sector, this being a clear demonstration of not only the feedback from the first conference attendees but also a realisation of the engaging opportunities of social media for this sector.

The main conference is on the Tuesday and Wednesday the 16th-17th November and incorporates a range of new media visionaries from the US, UK, Australia as well as local practitioners who will offer their insights into how to ensure time spent on social media has a positive impact on the business’ bottom line.

The second day is what is described as a social media content masterclass with Lee Odden from the US, CEO of TopRank Online Marketing Blog. Lee sessions are designed to provide insight into how to deliver online content, how to build a community and how to drive your company’s SEO.

Both days are designed and structured to get to the heart of what works and what doesn’t in the world of social media and online marketing and what can be done to improve business performance as a result. The speakers will cover all the current trends in the market and really look at why you should invest in social media into what you can do to link everything to tangible outcomes.

Social Media Junction is a must-attend event for anyone interested in securing ROI from Social Media marketing.

Thanks to the generosity of Bullet PR they have given me a ticket for the 2 days of the conference to give away to a reader of this blog. The ticket covers entry to the sessions on the 16th and 17th – only, not travel, accommodation or other costs – just the sessions!

The lucky winner will be the first to post on this blog as a comment the answer to this question:

The film “The Social Network” comes out at cinemas on Thursday this week and charts the story of Facebook and its founder Mark Zuckerberg. The question is “what was the original name (full web address) of the website that later on changed its name to become Facebook?”

0

L J Hooker acquisition of Harveys propels them to 3rd largest group

Posted on: November 4th, 2010 | Filed in Featured, Market News

Harveys_and_L_J_Hooker

It was announced today that L J Hooker is acquiring the real estate business of Harveys Real Estate.

Both L J Hooker and Harveys are franchise groups with L J Hooker operating 53 offices in NZ coupled with a further 642 offices across Australia and Asia. Harveys on the other hand is a NZ company with 38 offices.

The acquisition is a complementary fit as the two companies do not overlap regionally, with Harveys strength in the Auckland, Waikato and through the Central North Island whilst L J Hooker has a good coverage especially in the South Island where Harveys is not really present.

The move will leapfrog L J Hooker from the 8th biggest group by number of offices in NZ to the 3rd largest player with a combined 91 offices as the charts below show.

NZ_real_estate_market_by_offices_Oct_2010

As the industry adjusts to the current level of sales which this year is heading for around 60,000 sales as compared to 70,000 last year, and compared to 100,000+ in each of the years spanning 2002 to 2006, the pressure on margins and overheads will and have already lead to closures of some offices and industry consolidation. As ever under such pressure there will always be opportunities for those well capitalised companies to take advantage to grow market share through marketing or acquisition. This move by L J Hooker is just such a move. It will be interesting to see if this is the only development or if we will witness others in the coming months.

The likely result of this acquisition will see a rebranding of Harveys offices as L J Hooker thereby leveraging the brand franchise as operating two separate brands provides no beneficial economies of scale in marketing.

As a point of disclosure both L J Hooker and Harveys are both shareholders in Property Page (NZ) Ltd which owns 50% of Realestate.co.nz Limited.

3

NZ Property Report – October 2010

Posted on: November 1st, 2010 | Filed in Featured, NZ Property Report

blue pen and small houseThe October 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 October. 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 October 2010 report follows a similar story to that of the past 3 months as the market has moved into what is traditionally a strong spring listings peak. As with sales the level of new listings continues to be well down on 2009 levels as well as slightly down on 2008 levels – a time when recession and global volatility inn credit upper most in consumers minds. The overriding issue in the market is the level of unsold houses which continues to offer buyers choice but is challenging for sellers competing with so many alternative properties. The theoretical impasse to this situation would normally be a weakening of prices, this is certainly not shown by the latest month’s expectation of asking price which rose again.

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

Summary of the market – October 2010

Cover page - NZ Property Report - Oct 2010The month of October is traditionally the 4th highest listings month – a key time as sellers, keen to capture the start of summer list knowing that the run up to Christmas is sufficient to ensure a transaction close before the year-end. This year that peak has been somewhat subdued. Total listings at 11,911 even allowing for the factor of continuing weakness in the Canterbury region was down significantly on last year (12% down) and on a seasonally adjusted basis 1% down indicating that the scale of the seasonal uplift was equally subdued.

The key factor in the market continues to be the level of sales which is the reason for the significant high levels of unsold houses on the market which is now edging ever closer to a full 12 months worth. Sales over the past 4 months have been stuck within a very tight range of 4,300 to 4,400 with no appreciable seasonal movement. These sales levels are very comparable with the same period in 2008 when this situation went on for over 10 months until the market saw activity as prices eased and inventory was cleared.

In terms of asking price expectation, sellers are certainly indicating that their view is that property prices do not need to adjust, rather the opposite having seen a further rise in asking price in October from $411,745 to $420,451 which is a significant monthly rise – 4% increase on the recent 3 month moving average and up 0.4% as against October 2009.

Asking Price

Asking_price_chart_Oct_2010The truncated mean asking price for all new listings in October was $420,451, this compares to $411,745 last month and $418,759 in Oct 2009. The market tends to see asking price rise in the spring accompanying the rise in listings. The key issue is that with the high levels of inventory the strength in asking price is counter to the market trend which was seen in 2008 when prices softened.

The current asking price is now closer than ever (just 2% behind) the peak of the market back in October 2007.

New Listings

New_listings_chart_Oct_2010The volume of new listings rose in October to 11,911 however this increase was in line with seasonal trends and in scale was significantly down on the levels of 2009.

Seen over a longer time period the total new listings in each of the past 3 years for the first 10 months were 140,742 in 2008, 111,210 in 2009 and 116,933 in 2010. This provides an insight into the change in the scale of the property market over the past 3 years.

Inventory

Inventory_chart_Oct_2010The level of unsold houses on the market at the end of October rose to 52,043 from 51,035 in September. This represented the equivalent of 48.8 weeks, as assessed on a seasonally adjusted basis.

The continued subdued level of sales is holding inventory at such high levels despite this slower level of new listings, thereby adding to pressure on the market.

Regional Summary – Asking price expectations

Regional_asking_price_map_Oct_2010The national asking price expectation showed a 3.8% increase as compared to the recent 3 month average.

The majority of the 19 regions showed overall increases with 8 showing increases of more than 5% as compared to recent 3 month average.

Particularly large growth in asking price expectation was seen in Wellington where the truncated mean asking price rose 5% to a new peak of $455,422 surpassing the prior peak in Nov 2007.

Just 4 regions showed a fall as compared to the recent average with both Gisborne and Otago posting falls of 5% or more.

Regional Summary – Listings

New_listings_regional_map_Oct_2010The regional perspective with regard to new listings in October shows some variations with still the majority of regions showing a year on year decline indicating the potential for these markets to be deficient in new listings and therefore potentially leading to a seller’s market.

Notable regions showing significant declines in new listings are Waikato, Coromandel and Bay of Plenty – however all 3 of these regions though are seeing very high levels of unsold houses.

The main metro centres of Auckland and Wellington show falls of 12% in Auckland and just 2% in Wellington. The impact of the Canterbury earthquake continues to impact the property market there with new listings down 26% an identical level to last month in some ways reflecting the fact that whilst significantly impacted, the situation has not worsened with 1,312 new listings in the region over the past month.

Regional Summary – Inventory

Regional_inventory_map_Oct_2010It is very clear from the regional map of inventory levels that the property market continues to favour buyers when viewed purely from the perspective of the rate of sale as compared to the level of unsold houses on the market.

Some of these levels across the country are approaching or has reached new highs. In the month of October 4 regions posted new highs: Coromandel at 325 weeks, Northland at 181 weeks, Marlborough with 87 weeks and Waikato with 67 weeks.

Set against those significant highs are the only 2 regions which are showing levels below long term average – the West Coast of the South Island and Gisborne.

The main centres of Auckland and Wellington has levels slightly above average with Wellington showing this month a significant rise to 26 weeks. The Canterbury region has risen significantly this month primarily as a function of the very low sales reporting in September as a function of the disruptive impact of the earthquake at the start of the month.

Lifestyle Property

Lifestyle_listings_chart_)ct_2010The level of new lifestyle listings grew again in October following strong growth in August and September. On a seasonally adjusted basis the total of 1,110 listings represented a 3% growth, as compared to October 2009 actual listings are down 4.3%.

The truncated mean asking price for the new listings in October was up 11% from September to $584,912. This also represents an 8.3% increase in asking price compared to the recent 3 month moving average.

Apartments

Apartment_listings_chart_Oct_2010A total of 509 apartments were listed in October. The last 3 months has seen almost identical levels which reflects in a 7.5% seasonally adjusted decline and a 21.8% year on year decline. The truncated mean asking price fell to $356,306 in October from $362,427 in September. This level is down 5.4% as compared to October 2009. It is also the lowest price since the peak of the market at $460,734 way back in December 2007.

In the Auckland market total listings amounted to 310 down 27.1% as compared to a year ago and down 23.5% on a seasonally adjusted basis. Asking price expectation also fell from $321,845 in September to $317,283 in October, this represented a 10.6% fall from October 2009 and a down 0.9% as compared to the recent 3 month moving average.

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:

Property Price Index oct 2010

Index comparison Realestate.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 1,130 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 11,911 new listings in the month of October a total of 153 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 400,000 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 118,000 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 1,130 offices, the company represents over 95% of all listings from licensed real estate agents in NZ.

The full NZ Property Report for October 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 November 2010 will be published on this website on Wednesday 1st December 2010 at 10am.

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Global property price analysis places NZ at the median spot on the podium

Posted on: October 29th, 2010 | Filed in Buying / Selling a home, Featured, International, Money Matters

Digital GlobeWe seem to be a nation that loves to benchmark ourselves to the global market and so it was naturally of interest to see the latest analysis by The Economist of the trends in global house prices.

The analysis is very timely as there has been some very interesting articles recently on both the NZ and Australian property market and the speculation as to the emergence (in the case of Australia) of a property bubble and in the case of NZ the continuance of a bubble.

The data utilised in the Economist article provides insight across 22 countries, across all continents and highlights recent price trends as well as long term trends and an insight into their evaluation of whether property prices are overvalued or undervalued and by how much. Certainly the picture of NZ is not certain as to future trends, but measured against other developed western economies our position is not out of line.

Recent price movement

The past year based on Q3 data for 2010 vs Q3 data for 2009 shows that from the chart below a large number of countries have seen property price appreciation. NZ has seen a 3.4% appreciation (QV data). The comparable REINZ stratified price data shows just a 0.47% appreciation based on actual sales price.

Economist global house price analysis Oct 2010 - Q3 py

The comparable position of Singapore, Hong Kong and Australia is significantly different with appreciation over the past year of over 15%. At the the other end of the spectrum the woes of the Irish property market continue to be felt with a 17% year on year decline.

Long term property appreciation

Taking the period of 1997 to 2010 shows in the chart below a consistent global appreciation with the majority of countries seeing around a doubling of value. Clearly the performance of the past 2 years will have depressed some of these performance numbers. NZ sits again firmly at the median point with a period appreciation of 108%. Again using the REINZ stratified house price analysis this appreciation was 109.6%.

Economist global house price analysis Oct 2010 - 97 to 2010 appreciation

Relative pricing

The most interesting analysis is undoubtedly the evaluation as to how over priced (or under priced) each countries properties are. New Zealand is judged to have property prices over priced by 20% as shown in the chart below.

Economist global house price analysis Oct 2010 - over under priced

This places NZ bang on the median spot on the podium with Australia taking its usual gold medal with property prices accessed as 63.2% over priced. It is interesting also to see our often comparatively benchmarked country of Ireland being judged as 13.2% overpriced – that after seeing a year on year negative appreciation of 17%. Just shows the extent to which that country’s property market had bubbled up in the past decade.

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NZ Property Market Pulse – October 2010

Posted on: October 21st, 2010 | Filed in Featured, Property Pulse - Regional Market Report

Property Pulse Realestate.co.nzThe Property Market Pulse report provides a set of factsheets for each of the 19 regions of the country consolidating the latest data from key sources in the real restate market. From the Real Estate Institute (REINZ) comes the latest sales numbers for September as well as the median sales price for key regions and the stratified sales price for key centers. From the Realestate.co.nz comprehensive database of listings comes the key measure of inventory of unsold properties on the market.

Property Sales

The number of property sales is a key measure of buyer activity. The Real Estate Institute release this data on a monthly basis from the sales made by all licensed agents in the prior month making this data the most timely and comprehensive. Actual monthly sales data is effected by seasonal factors, for this reason seasonally adjusted data is presented which clearly shows one month to the next if the sales are going up or down.

NZ property sales - october 2010

Commentary:

Sales in September totaled 4,323. On a seasonally adjusted basis as presented in the chart above the sales were up just 0.6% on August. As compared to September 2009 this month’s sales represent a fall of 33%. The level of sales in the calendar year to date reflect closely the sales levels of 2008 rather than 2009. In the first 9 months of 2008 sales totaled 43,131; in 2009 they totaled 52,394 and in this current year the total is 42,630.

As is highlighted in the regional reports the impact of the Canterbury earthquake significantly impacted not just that region but the national numbers. The Canterbury sales impact probably amounted to around a 5% decline on a national basis as the region itself suffered a close to 40% decline.

Property Price

The selling price of properties measures that critical balance between what a buyer is prepared to pay and what a seller is prepared to accept. The Real Estate Institute data of prior month sales produces a median price. This raw number is then re-calculated through a model developed in partnership with the Reserve Bank of NZ to create a Stratified Price, which ensures that volume changes in key price segments do not skew the figures.

NZ Stratified house price - Sep 2010

Commentary:

The stratified price fell in September at $359,555 reflects a marginal change on August when the price level was $360,675. The level of sales price using this accurate stratified method has been without any great volatility for the majority of this year after recovering from the market lows of 2009. At this current level it represents a 5.6% fall from the peak of the market back in November 2007.

Stock of Property

The number of properties on the month is provided from Realestate.co.nz data and measures the level of seller activity in the market. The data represents the total number of new listings coming onto the market each month and is compiled at the start of each month for the prior month and is published in the NZ Property Report. The measure of properties on the market is represented by the number of weeks of equivalent sales, and judged on a comparative basis with prior months more accurately reflects the state of the market.

NZ Inventory - Sep 2010

Commentary:

The level of inventory of properties on the market measured in equivalent weeks of sale picked up slightly in September. It now stands at 47 weeks as compared to 46 weeks in August and compares to 32 weeks in September last year. The long term average is around 38 weeks which would indicate that the market is still very much in favour of buyers rather than sellers.

These statistics are the aggregation of all the statistics from across the country. As is well know by those in the industry, real estate is a local business and in an attempt to provide greater insight into the local market the same set of key data – sales, selling price and inventory has been calculated for each of the 19 regions of the country. Check out the factsheet for your local region to see what is happening in your neck of the woods.

North Island

Northland

Auckland

Coromandel

Waikato

Central North Island

Bay of Plenty

Gisborne

Hawkes Bay

Taranaki

Manawatu / Wanganui

Wairarapa

Wellington

South Island

Nelson

Marlborough

Canterbury

West Coast

Otago

Queenstown Lakes

Southland

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