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Archive for the ‘Featured’ Category

3

Grocery shopping and real estate – a match made in heaven?

Posted on: March 11th, 2010 | Filed in Buying / Selling a home, Featured, International, Real Estate Industry

Grocery aisle - real estate and grocery - a match made in heaven?This week has seen the official launch of a new real estate service in the UK, bringing the British public a real estate service packaged up with their weekly groceries.

Tesco logoTesco, the largest UK grocery chain has partnered with Spicerhaart, one of the UK’s largest real estate chains to establish iSold – what they describe as “The UK’s newest estate agency, iSold has taken the very best in estate agency and made it even better”.

The service offered by iSold appears from the website analysis to be a 3 tiered full service comprising an up front fee of £299 (NZ$636) for valuation and marketing including extensive online profile of the property across the main websites. A completion fee of £700 (NZ$1,500) is payable on sale. This basic package is complemented by a Premium package at a total cost of £1,119 (NZ$2,380) and Premium Plus at £1,299 (NZ$2,764) – no clear details of the extent of the premium services are yet available.

It is clear from the current site that a lot of focus is placed on the valuation and the right pricing to help you sell. The site states that iSold has their own locally-based valuation experts. The initial launch has been focused in Bristol before this week rolling out around a number of regional centers across the country.

This activity comes close on the heals of the move by RE/MAX real estate brokerage in New England (US) to open 17 micro real estate offices within a chain of grocery stores.

The question is – Is this likely to be a future trend for the real estate industry here in NZ as more and more real estate offices question their high street presence as more of the marketing moves online?

There is quiet a bit of precedent already established in this area of grocery chain diversification. It is worth reflecting on this to provide some perspective to this concept. Here in NZ we had an ambitious move by Foodstuffs in 2003 to establish a banking service (SuperBank) in their New World stores. That move which was itself modeled on the Tesco banking service in the UK ultimately failed to capture sufficient customers before the business folded in 2006 with all the customers being transferred to Kiwibank.

The fact is grocery stores are very high traffic outlets. They are very strong retail brands and they are always looking for higher margin offerings to supplement the high volume / low margin grocery business. So there is a possibility for such a move in the future. It is also interesting to compare this UK iSold model with “The Joneses” business model launched back in 2007 with a full service agency based on a fixed fee service instead of traditional commissions.

3

1,000,000 real estate listings!

Posted on: March 2nd, 2010 | Filed in Featured, Online marketing, Website searching

Champagne explosion

At 4.17am this morning we processed our one millionth listing onto the website of realestate.co.nz – a significant milestone!

The website began life in August 2006 when the former REINZ website of RealENZ was shut down and the new website burst onto the market. Since that time over 1 million listings have been featured on the website over the past 1,290 days – that equates to an average of 775 per day or around 32 new listings every hour of everyday.

Realestate.co.nz is the most comprehensive website for all categories of real estate listings in NZ as marketed by licensed real estate agents. The site covers the full spectrum from homes for sale and rent, commercial property for sale or lease, farms and agricultural land as well as businesses for sale.

More than half of the million listings have been made up of properties for sale. A total of 545,000 have been homes for sale – the biggest year was 2007 with 165,000 new listings comparing with the quietest year last year with just 125,000.

Commercial property for lease and for sale have comprised over 90,000 listings with a steady growth in each of the past 2 years – 2009 alone saw just over 30,000 new listings come onto the market.

A massive 77,ooo listings have been featured for building sections. This sector reached a peak in 2008 with 21,000 before falling back somewhat last year to 17,000.

Since day one realestate.co.nz has enjoyed the support of the vast majority of the real estate profession – a commitment that has grown stronger over the years to see now over 94% of all licensed offices using the site – far ahead of the nearest competitor Trade me property.

Taking the live data as of today – realestate.co.nz has for example 50,184 homes for sale. This compares to 42,499 on Trade me.

As most people appreciate one of the key differences between the two sites is that Trade me takes adverts from homeowners looking to sell privately. In a recent NBR article Trade me highlighted that 16% of their property listings were from private sellers – applying this calculation would mean that today 35,699 listings from licensed real estate agents are featured on Trade me Property as compares to 50,184 on realestate.co.nz. In other words a search on Trade me only shows 60% of the local market for real estate listings of homes marketed by licensed real estate agents.

Comparable licensed real estate listings - trade me property & realestate.co.nz Feb 2010

Note: The NBR article states that Trade me features 100,000 properties – this is the number of total listings covering all categories that are displayed on the website.

The category of homes for sale excludes lifestyle property and sections for sale but does include apartments and townhouses as well as units and home and income properties.

4

NZ Property Report – February 2010

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

NZ Property Report - Realestate.co.nzThe industry has long been expecting a surge in new listings and February answered that call. However the timing is not ideal as these listings are hitting the market right at the time that sales volumes have gone soft. The last month of 2009 and the first month of 2010 surprised the market with particularly weak sales with both months showing long term lows of 4,957 and 3,666 respectively.

Click here to download the full report (1.4MB pdf)The month of February is traditionally a very strong month for new listings. Two years ago a record level of 18,700 listings came onto the market – at that time sales were beginning to weaken heading into the recession. Also at that time the inventory of unsold houses was beginning to rise from 34 weeks in Feb ’08 rising to a peak of 57 weeks a year later.

The rise in asking price to $419,015 puts price expectations back on an increasing trend and does reflect the traditional increase seen in February. Clearly sellers and their agents are confident that the pricing will find a willing buyer market at these levels; somewhat of a challenge given recent weakness in the stratified median sales prices as reported by the Real Estate Institute.

The key focus for the market is the inventory of unsold houses which at close to 12 months means that there is ample opportunity for buyers to evaluate the property that best suits their needs in what is clearly a buyer’s market.

Asking Price

NZ Property Report Feb 2010 - asking price expectationThe vendor’s expectation of asking price for properties coming onto the market in February rose quite significantly from $405,040 to $419,015.

This price represented a 1.6% increase in asking price when compared to the moving average of the past 3 months (Nov/Dec/Jan).

The asking price of new listings in February last year was $413,337 representing a 1.4% year on year increase.

New Listings

NZ Property Report Feb 2010 - level of new lisitingsThe number of new listings coming onto the market in February rose sharply in what is traditionally a peak listings’ month. The volume represented a 47% increase on prior month and 24% year on year growth. It is also the highest single month for nearly 2 years.

Inventory

NZ Property Report Feb 2010 - Inventory of listings on the marketThe level of unsold houses on the market at the end of February totaled 54,381.This represented the equivalent of 48.2 weeks.

This very steep rise in inventory of unsold houses is the result of the combined effects of a surge in new listings and sluggish monthly sales over the past quarter. Whilst the current level is 15% below the level at the same time last year unless sales volumes pick up or listings dry up then inventory could continue to rise in the coming months – clearly signaling a buyer’s market.

Regional Summary – Asking price expectation

NZ Property Report Feb 2010 - Regional asking price expectation of vendorsWhilst the national asking price expectation showed a rise in truncated mean from $405,040 to $419,015 the regional variances were quite significant with 11 regions showing increases set against the recent 3 month average and 8 regions showing falls.

The main metro areas showed only marginal variances of around 3% or less with Wellington just 1.1% down. In provincial areas significant falls were seen on Gisborne, Marlborough and the Central Otago / lakes region. In the latter region the asking price expectation of %28,137 was the second lowest in the past 12 months.

Significant rises were seen in Southland, Taranaki, Otago and the Hawkes Bay. For the Taranaki region the asking price of $335,423 is an all time high.

Regional Summary – New listings

NZ Property Report Feb 2010 - regional levels of new listingsThe surge of listings nationally amounting to a 47% month on month growth was seen most significantly in a key number of regions.

Most significant was Wellington which has for so long been running on a shortage of new listings – the regions saw a surge with over 2,000 listings, a level not seen over the last few years. Matching that level of new listings was Canterbury with a 34% year on year rise.

Regions seeing a fall in year on year listings were Coromandel, Central Otago / Lakes and Northland.

Regional Summary – Inventory of unsold houses

NZ Property Report Feb 2010 - regional summary of inventory of unsold housesThe steep rise in inventory on a national basis in February was reflected across the majority of the 19 regions which in the main are clearly indicating a buyer’s market.

The only three regions which are seeing a level of inventory of unsold houses below long term averages were Auckland which now has 30 weeks of stock, The Hawkes Bay with 32 and Wellington with just 18 weeks. All of these regions inventory levels are over 30% down on the same period last year

The areas of the country where inventory is significantly above long term averages were Northland (160 weeks), Central North Island (115 weeks), Taranaki (29 weeks) and Marlborough (74 weeks).

Lifestyle Property

NZ Property Report Feb 2010 - Lifestyle property new listingsA healthy 30% increase in listings in February with 1,113 new lifestyle properties come onto the market with an asking price expectation of $601,220 which is 7.6% up on prior year and 1.2% up on the 3 month average

Regions of the country seeing significant increases in new listings of over double as compared to prior year were the Hawkes Bay, Wellington and Marlborough. Only Northland, Gisborne and the Coromandel saw year on year declines in new listings.

Apartments

NZ Property Report Feb 2010 - listings of apartmentsThe apartment market had a very strong month with 747 new listings – the highest overall level of new listings for 2 years. Very strong listings came through in the Bay of Plenty and Wellington both showing year on year growth of over 100%.

The asking price expectation of apartments for February was $374,503 which was almost identical to a year earlier and just 1% up on the prior 3 months. The asking price in Auckland was $335,861 which was almost identical to a year earlier, but 2.6% down the prior 3 months.

The full report can be downloaded here (1.2MB 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 by attribution to the source of the data being Realestate.co.nz. The next NZ Property Report for March 2010 will be published on this website on Thursday 1st April at 10am.

6

Mortgagee listings show declining trend

Posted on: February 22nd, 2010 | Filed in Featured, Website searching

NZ mortgagee properties From the latest data it looks like the peak of mortgagee listings could be behind us. As at this time there are just under 300 listings on realestate.co.nz (lifestyle and homes for sale) that are being marketed as mortgagee sale.

Peaking in early 2009 at over 400 listings, the trend of decline began in the spring and continued right through to Christmas when there was a clear-out of unsold mortgagee properties which resulted in the stock level falling to less than 200. January and February has seen the number of listings pick up again, however the rise is a seasonal lift rather than an underlying increase.

The chart below shows the number of listings in absolute terms and also as a percentage of all residential listings. To be clear these statistics comprise residential and lifestyle property and exclude sections.

NZ mortgagee property listings Feb 2010

NZ mortgagee properties as a % of all listings of residential property

The number of listings as a percentage of all residential listings is key as the past few weeks has seen a significant increase in new property listings coming onto the market – in some extent a flood of new listings. The current level of mortgagee properties is less than half of one percent, that is just one property in every 200.

Matched to this decline in listings is a steady decline in the search enquiry for mortgagee listings. Over the past 6 months the number of search enquiry for the keywords of “mortgagee”, “mortgagee auction” and “mortgagee sale” has steadily declined. At one time over 1 in 10 searches were for these keywords – the past 3 months has seen this drop to just 6% – just over 1 in 18 of all keyword search queries.

The chart below tracks the past 2 years of the number of mortgagee keyword searches as matched to the number of mortgagee properties on the market.

Searching for mortgagee properties in NZ

5

Taking the property pulse of the market – February 2010

Property Pulse Realestate.co.nz Today was the start of a new regular slot on TV3 Business Breakfast for providing a mid month view of the property market. For those readers who were not up at 6.40am you can view the segment here on the TV3 website.

The key data presented in the report covers the latest Real Estate Institute sales figures for January as well as latest data on website listings.

Sales

The sales in January were very low. Just 3,666 properties were sold in the month. These sales were lower than many had anticipated, especially when compared to a year ago – a time you have to remember when the storm clouds of the recession were depressing all forms of consumer activity and confidence – in that month a year ago 3,706 properties were sold. So this placed January 2010 as the lowest month going back as far as 1992.

The chart below tracks the past 5 years and uses seasonally adjusted monthly sales data. The key periods of the past 5 years are highlighted to track the key events – STRONG MARKET 2005 – mid 2007, MARKET FALL mid 2007 – early 2008, FLAT MARKET in 2008, RESURGENCE AND FALL in 2009.

NZ Seasonally adjusted property sales 2010

On a seasonally adjusted basis the January 2010 sales volumes were not quite the lowest month, but they came pretty close.

Sales Price

The Stratified median sales price for January as reported by the Real Estate Institute in association with the Reserve Bank showed a further fall to a level of $360,687. Down from $366,500 in December which itself was a fall from November. The stratified median price as shown in the chart below is still some 5.3% below the market peak last seen in November 2007. The resurgence of houses prices seen through 2009 when the price came within 2% of the peak has certainly lost steam – certainly low sales volumes has the ability to apply a downward pressure on prices.

NZ Stratified house prices 2010

Listings

The most recent NZ Property Report for January highlighted the rise in the inventory of unsold houses from 34 weeks in December to 40 weeks in January. With this latest set of data reporting a further slowing of sales volumes added top which is a strong flow of new listings; that level of unsold inventory will likely rise again significantly for the February report – I suspect we will see a level around 48 weeks.

Taking the latest pulse of the market looking at the flow of new listings coming onto the market – the fact is that February is going to be the month which a lot of people have been expecting for a while – 18 days into this short month we have already seen over 9,500 new properties hit the market. To put this in context last February saw 12,164 new listings – we are seeing a daily rate of close to 700 and with 7 more business days we could see over 14,500 for the month.

The NZ Property Report for February will be published on Monday the 1st March on this site and will provide a national as well as regional view of the property market as seen from the perspective of new listings, asking price expectation and inventory of unsold houses.

8

NZ Property Report – January 2010

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

blue pen and small houseThe NZ property market appears to continue to be in somewhat of a state of dormancy as judged from the new listings coming onto the market. This is also a reflection of somewhat subdued sales which whilst showing year-on-year growth are still lagging historical averages. Total sales for 2009 were just 69,629 up from the 2008 level of 56,128 but far from the mid 2000’s levels of 100,000.

Cover pageJanuary saw just 10,272 new listings coming onto the market; the first time in 4 years that the January figure has been lower than December. The start of the new year traditionally shows a strong lift in listings which seek to benefit from summer activity in the market. The 2010 year started with a 2% decline in new listings. However despite this signal of lower listings the trend is not as might have been expected towards a strong sellers market. The level of inventory of unsold homes on the market rose significantly in January to 40 weeks from the 34 weeks in December, this measure reflects the rate of sales which is running at a slower rate and therefore failing to clear inventory.

Supporting this position of a sluggish property market is the measure of asking price expectations which fell for the second month in a row from $412,319 in December to $405,040 in January, this is a sign of a market where sellers looking to transact in what is a quiet market are setting price expectation at realistic levels thereby ensuring that their property stands out in what is becoming a somewhat crowded market.

Asking Price

Pricing data Jan 10.xlsThe vendor’s expectation of asking price for properties coming onto the market in January fell by 1.8% from November to $405.040.

This price represented a 1.8% fall in asking price when compared to the moving average of the past 3 months (Oct/Nov/Dec).

The asking price of new listings in January last year was $391,780 representing a 3.4% year on year increase.

New Listings

New listings total Jan 10The number of new listings coming onto the market in January was just less than the total for December, despite the traditional strength of January as the summer season kicks into gear, this year a total of 10,272 as compared t0 10,349 in December.

Comparing January 2010 to January 2009 requires a note of caution as at that time the property market was suffering from the economic recession.

Inventory

Inventory cht Jan 10The level of unsold houses on the market at the end of January totaled 52,817.This represented the equivalent of 40.1 weeks – this represents over 9 months worth of stock.

This rise in inventory whilst new listings appear to be so scarce brings into clear focus the sluggish level of sales over the final quarter of 2009.

Regional Summary – Asking price expectation

Asking price expectations map Jan 10The overall trend of property price expectations as established by the listing price of properties coming onto the market in January was of falling prices. The national truncated mean asking price fell 1.8% from the month of December and 1.8% as compared to the recent 3 month average.

Of the 19 regions only 2 saw asking price rise – Wairarapa and Central Otago Lakes. The majority of the remainder posted falls of less than 5%, however Central North Island, West Coast and Taranaki all posted falls of more than 5%. Auckland fell 2.5% in the month contributing to a 5% slide since the November level of $543,522.

Regional Summary – New listings

New listings map Jan 10The level of new listings in January was a modest 3% over the same month last year. This is significant as last year the scale of the economic recession was weighing very heavily on the property market.

Across the country the picture was varied with the main 3 centers posting year on year growth in listings, with Wellington showing a 12% increase.

Only two regions saw new listing lower than a year ago – Coromandel down 29% and Manawatu / Wanganui down 12%.

Significant increases over last year were seen in 7 regions – all posting 20% or more increase with the Hawkes Bay leading with a 58% increase.

Regional Summary – Inventory

Inventory map Jan 10The steep rise in inventory on a national basis in January was reflected across the majority of the 19 regions which in the main are clearly indicating a buyer’s market.

The only three regions which are seeing a level of inventory of unsold houses below long term averages were Auckland which now has 30 weeks of stock, The Hawkes Bay with 32 and Wellington with just 18 weeks. All of these regions inventory levels are over 30% down on the same period last year.

The areas of the country where inventory is significantly above long term averages were Northland (160 weeks), Central North Island (115 weeks), Taranaki (29 weeks) and Marlborough (74 weeks).

Lifestyle Property

Lifestyle listingscht Jan 10Lifestyle listings in January slumped from 995 in December to 869. Whilst this total represented a 12% increase as compared to January 2009, based on longer term historical data the expectation would have been to see a rise from December. The truncated mean asking price for lifestyle properties in January was $558,947 representing a fall of 9% as compared to December. Set against January 2009 the asking price was up 5%, but down 6% as against the recent 3month average.

The majority of regions showed declines in new listings with the exception of Coromandel, Canterbury and the West Coast all of which showed year on year increases of over 50%.

Apartments

Apartment listings cht Jan10As with the total and other sectors, the apartment market failed to spark into life in the new year. A total of 432 apartments were listed as compared to480 in December and 352 last January. This 10% month on month decline was largely a function of the rest of NZ as Auckland witnessed a 5% increase in listings with 251 being added to the market.

The truncated mean asking price fell 1% from the prior 3 month average. At $367,289 the asking price of January was 10% below the price a year ago and a fall of 3% as compared to December. These falls were reflected in the same scale within the Auckland market.

The full report can be downloaded here (1.2MB 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 by attribution to the source of the data being Realestate.co.nz. The next NZ Property Report for February 2010 will be published on this website on Monday 1st March at 10am.

8

Analysis of the real estate business model

Posted on: January 29th, 2010 | Filed in Featured, Real Estate Industry

Analysing real estate business modelsThe real estate industry has staged a degree of a recovery during 2009 – ending the calendar year transacting just on $29 billion worth of sales from 69,629 property sales. This was up 25% in value from the 2008, but is still down 23% from the 2007 year when 92,101 properties were sold with a total transaction value of $37.87 billion.

The chart below ably demonstrates the rise and fall of transaction values over the past two decades with the red line representing the 12 month moving average volume of sales and the blue line indicating the total value of those transactions.

NZ real estate industry - volume sales and value 12 month moving average 2009From this market perspective it is interesting to look into the structure of typical real estate offices within the industry. I am grateful to the Real Estate Institute (REINZ) and the Australian real estate training and business support company Best Practice for an insight into a typical real estate office’s business structure, which I am sure will prove insightful for anyone looking to build a future in this industry. Best Practice undertook a survey of NZ real estate offices in June and July 2009 seeking to understand the make up of the business – level of income, expenses, personnel and profit performance. This data was published in the REINZ monthly magazine in December.

The survey reviewed the performance of real estate companies across three tiers – those companies with sales of less than $2m per annum; between $2m and $3m and those with sales over $3m. From their analysis each of these segments represented a third of all offices that completed the survey. To the Best Practice data I have added some data drawn from the database of real estate office held by Realestate.co.nz. The detail of the sample size of the survey was not published in the magazine so there is no way to validate the numbers as a representative samples of offices of a similar size.

Small offices

According to the survey the bottom third of all NZ real estate offices as measured in terms if sales value had sales of less than $2m. These offices averaged 8.6 sales people and had 1.5 principles. By contrast the database of Realestate.co.nz shows the bottom third of all offices (by number of salespeople) have less than 4 sales people.

From the survey the average total revenue of such an office is $1,083k per annum. This business generates an operating surplus of $207.6k, which is effectively the return to the principle (owner / branch manager) of the office after all expenses have been covered.

The pie chart below shows the representation of the total revenue made up of all expenses and the operating surplus.

Analysis of costs and profit for real estate offices with sales of less than $2m 2009 Realestate.co.nzThe largest cost is the sales commissions and employee salaries which make up half of the revenue generated by the office, marketing accounts for 15% and includes both marketing of the office as well as the expenditure on behalf of clients, some of which is recharged. Group fees refer to franchise fees and marketing group fees.

Medium Offices

According to the survey the middle third of all NZ real estate offices as measured in terms if sales value had sales of between $2m and $3m per annum. These offices averaged 17.2 sales people and had 1.8 principles. By contrast the database of Realestate.co.nz shows the middle third of all offices (by number of salespeople) have between 4 and 8 salespeople.

From the survey the average total revenue of such an office is $2,271k per annum. This business generates an operating surplus of $558.9k, which is effectively the return to the principles (owner / branch manager) of the office after all expenses have been covered.

The pie chart below shows the representation of the total revenue made up of all expenses and the operating surplus.

NZ real estate offices - medium size with revenue between $2m and $3m - share of revenue by expenditure

As compared to the small offices, these medium sized offices have the same primary costs of staff, but do deliver a better profit for the owners at 25%, the marketing expenditure is less with better amortization of overheads of General & Admin (G&A). Interestingly this survey group identified the lowest cost of referral / conjoint fees – that is fees paid to other real estate offices when those offices sell listings of this company – the level was just 0.1% or $3,045 per annum.

Large offices

According to the survey the top third of all NZ real estate offices as measured in terms if sales value had sales of more than $3m. These offices averaged 29.4 sales people and 2.75 principles. By contrast the database of Realestate.co.nz shows the top third of all offices (by number of salespeople) had more than 9 sales people. Interestingly there are only 12 offices in NZ with more than 29 salespeople.

From the survey the average total revenue of such an office is $5,178k per annum. This business generates an operating surplus of $1,114.8k, which is effectively the return to the principles (owner / branch manager) of the office after all expenses have been covered.

The pie chart below shows the representation of the total revenue made up of all expenses and the operating surplus.

Analysis of top real estate offices in NZ - revenue over $3m - breakdown p&l 2009As compared to the other two thirds of real estate offices these large offices pay out the lowest percentage of staff costs – 42% compared to 50%. They deliver a healthy 225 operating profit to be shared by the owners. The cost of premises is slightly higher than the other groups whilst G&A is average. What is considerably different is the share of referral income and conjoint which at 7% is far higher than the other groups. Could this indicate a more co-operative style of business assisting the success of these businesses perhaps?

The last part of the analysis is comparing the revenue generate per salesperson. Based on the salesperson numbers in the survey the largest offices have the most effective sales people generating $176,324 per sales person. The medium office generated $132,089, whilst the smaller offices generated $126,273.

2

NZ Property Report – December 2009

Posted on: January 1st, 2010 | Filed in Featured, NZ Property Report, Other interesting reads:

blue pen and small houseDecember is traditionally a quieter month for new listings coming onto the market with a noticeable decline in activity after the middle of the month as property searching takes a back seat to Christmas focus. This behaviour markedly changes in the first week of January when searching starts again in earnest with the busiest time of year for online property search.

NZ Property Report - 1st Jan 2010 Realestate.co.nz cover imageThe calendar year 2009 saw the property market close with a continued subdued sentiment. The level of new listings for the year was down 17% on 2008 and 24% down on the 2007 year. This considerably lower number of listings has been matched by a slower year for sales. The level of property sales through the year remained subdued with the 12 month moving average to November being just under 69,000,whilst up on the year prior figure of 57,000; the long term average 12 months sales would be closer to 98,000.

The level of inventory fell in December to 34.3 weeks. The fall however is unlikely to reflect a tightening in the market at this stage as a possible indicator of an emerging sellers market, rather this statistic is more a reflection of the lower seasonal listings coming onto the market matched to the strong sales months preceding Christmas.

The key movement in what was a steady month for new listings was the easing of asking price expectation. The price fell back from what had been a noticeable spike 3 months ago when the asking price jumped by just over $20,000 in a month back in September leading into the Spring selling period.

Asking Price

NZ Property Report Dec 09 Asking price - Realestate.co.nzThe vendor’s expectation of asking price for properties coming onto the market in December fell by 1.7% from November to $412,319.

This price represented a 1.7% fall in asking price when compared to the moving average of the past 3 months (Sep/Oct/ Nov).

The asking price of new listings in November last year was $401,631 representing a 2.7% year on year increase.

New Listings

NZ Property Report Dec 09 New listings - Realestate.co.nzThe number of new listings coming onto the market fell in December to 10,349, from the November total of 13,857.

The total of 2009 saw 135,416 new listings come onto the market. The calendar year 2008 saw 163,488, with 2007 with 177,529 clearly showing the quieter state of the property market.

Inventory

NZ Property Report Dec 20009 Inventory - Realestate.co.nzThe overall level of available inventory as measured by equivalent weeks of sales slipped slightly in December from 36.0 in November to 34.3.

This fall is a common seasonal factor as December sees fewer new listings, whilst sales continue strongly for the first half of the month. A similar fall in inventory levels has been seen in each of the last 2 years of records.

Regional Summary – Asking price expectation

NZ Property Report December 2009 Regional map of asking price of property listings - Realestate.co.nzWhilst the national asking price expectation of vendors eased in December the total number of regions showing a fall represented only 7 of the 19 regions. The major influence of the 3 main centers however affected the overall picture with both Wellington and Canterbury down 2.6% and 2.5% respectively as compared to the recent 3 month average.

The Auckland market showed an easing of 1% down to $530,923 – this is still 3% below the peak of the property market in asking price terms back in October 2007 when the asking price was $547,163.

In provincial areas asking prices showed some significant increases with 6 regions having asking price increases over 5% as compared to 3 month averages with both the West Coast and Central North Island recording double digit increases.

Regional Summary – New listings

NZ Property Report Dec 2009 Regional summary of new listings - Realestate.co.nzNew listings were down in December as a function of seasonal factors. There were only 2 regions reporting listings lower than a year ago however. This overwhelming trend to year on year growth in listings across the country has more to do with the state of the market a year ago when the full economic impact was being felt in the property market with the fear of falling prices were negatively effecting buyer sentiment.

The majority of the increases in new listings are being seen outside of the main centers with Wellington and Canterbury showing very modest increases in listings and Auckland showing just 6% increase with 2,730 new listings.

Regional Summary – Inventory

NZ Property Report Dec 2009 Regional map of inventory levels - Realestate.co.nzGiven the seasonal trend to reduced inventory across the country in December the overall market appears fairly balanced with 7 regions tipping towards a buyer’s market and 7 tipping towards a seller’s market.

The main 3 metropolitan areas continue to point to a stronger position for sellers with Auckland at 26 weeks inventory as compared to a 12 month avg. of 35m, Wellington at 16 vs. 12 month avg. of 21 and Canterbury at 26 vs. 12 month avg. of 31. Other notable areas shifting to a more sellers market is the Coromandel and area that has over the past year been a classic buyer’s market with inventory peaking at 284 weeks now down to a level of 146 well below long term average.

On the buyer’s market side Marlbourgh region has been seen steady increasing inventory levels now at 69 weeks compared to 12 month avg. of 52 weeks, similarly the Central North Island including Taupo sitting at 88 weeks up from 59 weeks 3 months ago.

Lifestyle Property

NZ Property Report Dec 2009 Lifestyle property - new listings - Realestate.co.nzLifestyle listings in December were relatively strong based on seasonal expectation. A total of 995 new listings came onto the market with an asking price expectation of $614,951. The volume of listings was up 19% on December last year and the asking price was up1.9% on the recent 3 month average.

There were significant increases in new listings added in the Central North Island, Bay of Plenty, Northland, Wellington region; as well as Central Otago Lakes and Marlborough. Set against this were significantly lower new listings in Manawatu / Wanganui and Taranaki regions.

Apartments

NZ Property Report Dec 2009 New apartment listings - Realestate.co.nz

The apartment market slowed in December with just 480 new listings coming onto the market representing a year on year growth of 7%, however a 25% fall from November. In the calendar year 2009 6,416 new apartment listings came onto the market as compared to 6,916 in 2008 and a staggering 8,470 in 2007 indicating that the apartment market remains subdued.

The asking price expectation for the new listings in December was $379,567 – this represents a 2% decline as compared to the 3 month average.

The full report can be downloaded here (1.2MB 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 by attribution to the source of the data being Realestate.co.nz. The next NZ Property Report for January 2010 will be published on this website on Monday 1st February at 10am.

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So what have people been searching for this year?

Posted on: December 23rd, 2009 | Filed in Featured, Website searching

Searching on realestate.co.nz - the 2009 top searchesThe website of Realestate.co.nz is one of the most popular means by which people in NZ and overseas search for properties for sale or rent. With over 30,000 sessions per day and around 400 new listings per day – it is not surprising that people undertake searches for a wide variety of properties or property types.

Each year we trawl through the search queries from amongst the more than 500,000 searches carried out over the past year to compile the top 10 lists and also to see what the trending searches have been.

Realestate.co.nz Top 10 keyword searches of 2009

As may might have expected the tone of searching over the past year has been somewhat down-beat with a large number of searches for recession related terms. The keyword of “mortgagee” was the single most searched term – over 40,000 times this word was searched in the past 12 months – that equates to one in every 13 searches.

Realestate.co.nz top searches of 2009 - 10 signs of the recession

The keyword also featured in a number of other search terms such as mortgagee auction, mortgagee sale as well as the more obtuse mortagee and morgagee! – totaling up all of the related mortgagee terms delivers a whapping 50,000 searches – 1 in 10 of all searches.

Paralleling the theme of recessionary searches the top 10 business related searches almost all have a focus to making money. Top search was “investment” with “do up” and “home and income” rounding out the top 10.

Realestate.co.nz top searches of 2009 - emerging business opportunities

Contrasting the down-beat sentiment is the fact that within the top 10 are the lifestyle aspirations of property searchers seeking pools, waterfront living, character properties, villas and garages! – we do love our cars.

Keyword searches do provide an insight into the most heavily searched locations. Within this year’s list are some very interesting movements as compared to last year. The biggest rising location is the Christchurch beach suburb of Sumner – last year #354, this year rising to #45. Equally popular appears to be the Hauraki district town of Waihi, although outside of the top 10 suburb searches it did rise from #417 last year to #84 this year.

Realestate.co.nz Top searches of 2009 - locations

Queenstown continues to be the most searched location – up from #16 to #8. The other South Island centres of Christchurch and Wanaka faired well holding respective #24 and #25 positions. Big falls were recorded by Taupo falling from #21 to #39 and Devonport falling from #33 to #64.

Looking for emerging trends the biggest movers of the year had some interesting words – “grammar” (school) clearly shows an interest in the location proximity of home to school, “do up” and “home and income” demonstrate a continuing focus to saving money. As to why sleepout should the biggest rising search term? – that needs some investigation but going from #322 to #28 for the year is a big leap.

Realestate.co.nz top searches of 2009 - the fastest movers going up!

From biggest rises to biggest falls, the town of Paihia seems to have fallen out of favour – last year it was placed #115 – this year it barely scraped into the top 500, making it to #499. The Otago region similarly seems to have fallen from favour – down from #99 to #435.

Realestate.co.nz top searches of 2009 - the biggest fallers!

Whilst we seem to have a growing sense of interest in garages – car ports are clearly not adequate for our needs, falling from #81 to #409!

Finally when it comes to the softer side of property searching we seem to have hardened up this year – two emotional keywords “sundrenched” and “cosy” seem to have been ignored and have fallen by over 300 places to languish in the bottom 100 of the top 500.

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Unconditional goes out on its own!

Posted on: December 22nd, 2009 | Filed in Featured, Website news

v2Social media was a seldom used NZ phrase back in 2007 – especially in the context of real estate. That was when the first tentative steps were made by Realestate.co.nz to embrace the emergence of social media – creating a single blog to speak about the property market and the real estate industry, coupled with a free blogging platform for all real estate agents.

Fast forward 2 years and with more than 25,000 unique visitors per month logging on to read the more than 300 articles posted on the Unconditional blog and the many hundreds of articles posted across the more than 100 blogs started on the Voices platform, it is clear that social media has come of age in the real estate industry.

It is for this reason that we have decided that now is the time for Unconditional (the blog) and Voices (the blogging platform) to be launched on to its own platform separate from Realestate.co.nz to allow it to be seen for what it has truly become – a destination that truly can be seen as a place to find out exactly “what is going on in real estate”.

As from today Unconditional becomes a comprehensive web source of everything about the real estate market – written by people in the industry speaking openly, honestly and transparently about this industry, mixed with great data and reports.

There are 4 key sections of the new Unconditional site:

  1. The Unconditional blog – As was envisaged when this blog was started back in November 2007, this blog has become a valuable source of information, insight and debate. At times it has incurred the wrath of some in the real estate industry as it has striven to establish a honest and transparent commentary on what has been an incredibly turbulent time for the property market and the real estate industry at large. It intends to go on highlighting information, statistics and commentary on the market both here in NZ and overseas as well as the odd piece of light relied from the sometimes dry data.
  2. The NZ Property report – This monthly report produced from the data of the Realestate.co.nz website has fast become, since launching in April, a valuable complement to the established monthly data. The report track new listings, asking price expectations and inventory levels on the market.
  3. The Property Dashboard – This section provides a clear view on what are judged to be the key stats on the property market – selling price, measured as a stratified price index, inventory levels of property on the market and monthly volume sales. These charts are constantly updated to provide a comprehensive and timely view of the property market.
  4. Agent Voices – This platform has now been given a greater visibility for those active real estate bloggers who are keen to share their eclectic thoughts, insights and opinions on the market in their local area. There are over 50 active bloggers profiled on the Voices section of the site and these can now be viewed based on their geographical location.

The heart of Unconditional is the principle of social media – building and engaging in a conversation – an open, honest and transparent conversation, so please have a read and write a comment. There is much to share and much to learn so please let us (collectively) know what you think!

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