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Archive for the ‘Featured’ Category

2

Sharp rise in auction properties foreshadows tightness in the market

Posted on: August 4th, 2011 | Filed in Buying / Selling a home, Featured

In a typical month, around 600 properties come onto the market advertised as auction sales. In the months of June and July this number has spiked to 1,168 and 1,132 respectively – in absolute terms these months have seen the highest recorded looking levels going back over the past 4 years.

This spike is even more significant when viewed against the decline in new listings witnessed this year. As a percentage the number of properties brought to the market in June, it was the highest ever seen at 13% – far outstripping the prior high of 9% back in September / October 2009. July has continued this trend with another month with 13% of new listings being marketed as auctions.

The vast majority of properties marketed as auctions are in the Auckland region – in July, Auckland accounted for 56% of all of the 1,132 auction properties marketed across the country in the month.

In general across all property listing categories, Auckland represents around 24% of the total – it would therefore seem that Auckland is the epicenter of NZ property auctions and in June and July over 1 in 5 of all new listings brought to the market across the Auckland market were auctions, far above any prior period.

Whilst this spike in auction listings is significant; it is important to ground the stats by stating that currently on realestate.co.nz there are 1,378 properties on the market as auctions this compares to just over 48,500 properties for sale across NZ in total on the market – that amounts to less than 3% of all properties currently on the website.

Having made that statement; there is no doubt that there is a very clear correlation between the state of the market in terms of inventory of unsold properties and the proportion of new listings being marketed as auctions. When listings are in short supply, as we are seeing at this time we tend to see a rise in the proportion of properties being marketed as auctions. The last time this happened was in 2009 as seen in the chart below:

The message is clear – the level of new listings coming onto the market over the past 3 to 4 months continues to be lean, this is matched to a steady but significant rise in property sales. Such a situation when combined with falling stock of property for sale places the “power” in the hands of sellers. In these circumstances the real estate agent acting on behalf of the seller is clearly recommending taking the property to auction to encourage those motivated buyers to battle it out in the auction rooms and front lawns to grab their chosen home.

For prospective sellers looking to put their property on the market in the coming couple of months, now would seem to be as good a time as any to get ahead of the game and list that property.

1

NZ Property Report – July 2011

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

The July 2011 NZ Property Report published by Realestate.co.nz provides an insight into the state of the New Zealand property market as measured by the supply side of the property market over the month of July. 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.

A full print version of the NZ Property Report – July 2011 is published below and is available for download (1.0MB) and distribution. Alternatively watch the video below for a presentation of this month’s report.

Summary of the market – July 2011

The property market is edging toward the Spring period – a time traditionally when more buyer activity appears at open homes and new properties appear on the market. This year unlike the past couple sees a challenging set of circumstances. New listings are in short supply, not just in the major cities but now right around the country. Matched to this and as a function of this and the upturn in sales the level of inventory of unsold property on the market is edging down – nationally below the long-term average. This low level of supply, if not met by a rise in supply in the short term could result in either or both price pressure upwards or disillusioned buyers exiting the market.

This trend of falling inventory off the back of rising sales and shortages of new listings began a couple of months ago in Auckland and then spread out through the major metropolitan areas into provincial NZ. Auckland remains the epicenter of this trend and now sees a situation where available inventory of property for sale is the lowest seen since this recent property malaise began back in 2007. Auckland currently has just over 5½ months of available inventory based on the recent rate of sale, not since September 2007 has the region seen this level – the highest level of inventory was recorded in June 2008 at just over 13 months.

Whilst shortage of supply matched to low inventory and rising sales usually sees pressure on prices, the asking price for July showed what is a traditional fall – seasonally adjusted it was down 1.6% indicating that sellers new to the market are not being wildly optimistic in their expectations – potentially keener to sell quickly than inflate expectations.

Asking Price

The truncated mean asking price for all new listings in July fell significantly from $415,053 in June to $403,474. On a seasonally adjusted basis the asking price fell 1.6% in the month indicating a continued degree of caution amongst sellers.

The overall trend of the past 2 years continues to show a slow but steady strength in asking price expectation.

 

New Listings

The level of new listings coming onto the market in July fell again to 8,966. This represented a 15% year-on-year decline but a marginal 1% seasonally adjusted rise from June.

On a 12 month moving basis the number of new listings in the past year totals 124,228 as compared 145,733 for the same period a year ago – a fall of 15%.

Inventory

The level of unsold houses on the market at the end of July continued to fall from prior months. July reported 45,674 down from 47,738 in June and 48,352 in May.

The current inventory is now well below the long term average. The winter season traditionally sees a reduction in new listings, this when seen against a strengthening of sale over the past 3 months is likely to see inventory levels continue to fall as Spring approaches.

 

Regional Summary – Asking price expectations

The national asking price expectation fell in July by 3.8% vs the recent 3 month average, this performance was mirrored across the regions with 14 regions showing a fall of which 4 reported asking price falls of more than 5%.

Countering this trend were 5 regions showing strength in asking price growth the most significant region being the Central Otago Lakes region including the key center of Queenstown, this saw a 7.4% rise in asking price to $581,666 – this is 10% up on a seasonally adjusted basis which when reviewed against the shortage of listings and low inventory would seem to highlight that the Queenstown property market is gathering pace again with recent 3 months sales volume up 26%.

 

Regional Summary – Listings

The dominant perspective for the 19 regions of the country is that in terms of new listings the market is definitely skewed to favour sellers. This month there are no regions reporting year-on-year growth in new listings.

There are 7 regions showing year-on-year falls of more than 20%, most notable in size are the Central Otago, Manawatu / Wanganaui and Coromandel. The latter being a region, which has seen a heavy weight of unsold inventory for many months, and has of late seen a significant improvement as these falls in new listings have taken effect.

Two regions saw record lows of new listings – Northland with 335 down from the previous record low of 352 from last month and Marlborough with 101 down from the previous low of 110 back in April 2009.

 

Regional Summary – Inventory

The NZ property market has markedly changed in the space of 4 months – in April of this year every one of the 19 regions showed an inventory well above long term average indicating that these regions as well as the national picture at 54 weeks of equivalent sales was stuck in a buyers market as it had been for well over 18 months.

Now just 4 months later the picture shows 9 regions as defined as sellers markets, just 4 as definite buyers markets and the remainder balanced markets.

The regions that are seeing the greatest pressure in inventory are the major regions of Auckland, Otago, Nelson, Otago Lakes and the Waikato. These 5 regions are all sitting with inventory well below long term average and based on recent listing shortages will see levels fall further heading into Spring.

Despite the national view there remains a number of regions which have inventory well above long-term average of which the Wairarapa and Northland feature strongly.

 

Lifestyle

Lifestyle property listings across the country fell significantly in July to a new record low of just 628; this was below the prior low of 727 seen in January of this year. The Auckland region – one of the largest regions for lifestyle property recorded a low of 124, lower than the prior record from January 2010 of 153. Overall listings were down 25% year-on-year and down 10% on a seasonally adjusted basis.

In terms of asking price the national truncated mean asking price at $520,109 was down 5% on a seasonally adjusted basis and down 8% as against recent 3-month average.

 

Apartments

Listings of apartments showed a 16% decrease on a seasonally adjusted basis, reversing what had been a strong June for new listings of apartments. A total of 443 new apartments came onto the market in the month. The truncated mean asking price for these new listings was $372,983, which was down 4.0% on the recent 3-month average, and up 4.3% as compared to July 2010.

In the Auckland apartment market, which represents over 60% of the market there were 295 new listings with an asking price of $340,344. The new listings shows a fall of 21% on a seasonally adjusted basis, and a 15% fall when judged on a year-on-year basis.

 

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:

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 95% 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 1,020 licensed real estate offices across NZ, representing more than 95% of all offices.

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

In analysing the details of the 8,966 new listings in the month of July, a total of 135 listings have been excluded due to anomalies. The land area of the property defines the categorisation of Lifestyle 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 1.6m properties with detailed specifications, map and local amenities. The site provides online reports for free and for purchase covering valuation and legal information to greatly assist the needs of property buyers and sellers.

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

The full NZ Property Report for July 2011 can be downloaded here (1.0MB 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 August 2011 will be published on this website on Thursday 1st September 2011 at 10am.

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Advanced property search – zero in on your selection!

Posted on: July 22nd, 2011 | Filed in Featured, Website searching

Searching for a property is a time consuming task, thankfully since the emergence of the web as the primary source of property information, this process has got a lot simpler.

Remember just for a minute, when your only means of finding property for sale in your chosen area was to trawl every page of the property magazines and newspapers and then drive round the streets. There was no intelligent filter to apply to finding only those properties that were in your price range and specific area – properties in print publications are still today presented as branded sections by real estate company!

Well the searching filters available to you on Realestate.co.nz just got a whole lot more advanced to help you can use your time far more effectively. We have rebuilt the Advanced Search feature specifically to help the many thousands of users of our site everyday who are really committed buyers, those for whom the buying process is not a casual browse, but a detailed committed search project.

The Advanced Search feature is located adjacent to the “Find Properties” search button in the property finder search box at the top of every page on the site. This feature opens up a wide option list to refine your search:

Location

Traditional search allows you to use a hierarchy to search for a suburb or group of suburbs within a specific district of the country. You have always been constrained to a search being geographically bounded, now that has changed.

With Advanced Search you can select a wishlist of chosen areas of the country and group them together to become your saved search parameter. Saving you chosen search using the My Property feature ensures you can get daily emails that tell you when new listings appear in your area of choice.

So lets look at a real scenario. Say for example you are interested in buying a beachside property – something of a lifestyle choice and you hear on the grapevine that beachside properties are a good buy and prices are good. You live in Auckland and your choice could extend all the way from the Bay of Islands through the Matakana coast down to the Coromandel. No problem with Advanced Search. Just select your chosen suburbs (or whole regions) to effectively build a “shopping list” for your search – for me this includes Matarangi, Kuaotunu in the Coromandel, Russell in the Bay of Islands and Algies Bay in Rodney district.

Price

Hard as it is to face up to the fact, not all of us have a bank balance approaching a lotto win! – for that reason we have to stick to a budget when searching for a property. The standard search price range selection on the website has been greatly enhanced as compared to the old realestate.co.nz website. We used to have 16 ranges, we now have extended that to 25 ranges.

The Advanced Search however takes it even further – now this feature allows you to search for any price range – you name your price!. Just under the price range boxes is a link titled “Specify your own price range” – this allows you to enter any price range you want – $425,000 to $465,000 for example. Just type in any numbers – a tight or as broad as you like. This advanced search will only show properties for sale which are being marketed with a price in this range.

Pricing method

A common and consistent feedback we have received from users of the website over the years is the desire to see properties with a price; they often go on to say “please don’t show us property marketed as tenders / auctions / price by negotiation etc”. We certainly feel that it is best to check out all property regardless of price method, however we respect the users of our site and that is why we have introduced this feature.

You can now select only ‘displayed price’ property or just ‘auctions’ or just properties going to ‘tender’ – you choose which one or combination you want to filter on.

Land area / Floor area

This additional filter allows you to set some parameters around the size of house or the size of section. As a note of caution please be aware that we do not have details of the floor area of every house nor the section size of every property on the website. This unfortunately is something that is outside of our control as we seek the input of this data from the listings agents and it may not be provided. So choosing this filter may mean that some property results are excluded as we do not have details on these parameters.

Addressed property

This final filter tool is pretty self explanatory. Researching properties that have a displayed address is more valuable as you can see the location on a Google map on the site as well as review the property information and free report on Zoodle about that property. So now you can select to search only on properties with an address, we think it will be helpful.

So there you have it! – an exhaustive view of the richness of Advanced Search – my choice; well I wanted to look for that beachside property so I have made my search based on Russell, Algies Bay, Matarangi and Kuaotunu; a price range from $465k to $585k; anything up to 4 bedrooms and I am only interested in property with an address and with a price displayed – my search gives me 18 properties to review!

 

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Specialised real estate search – Farms / Business / Commercial

Posted on: July 21st, 2011 | Filed in Businesses for Sale, Commercial, Featured, Online marketing, social media

Real estate as an industry is a large and diverse business employing over 15,000 people and transacting over 60,000 residential properties per year. As well as the residential sector the industry undertakes extensive activity in the transaction of commercial properties for lease or as investment, the negotiation of business sales and also the transaction of farms and other agricultural businesses.

Such diversity and specialization requires a different approach to web marketing, than a simple one-size-fits-all solution. That is why last year Realestate.co.nz took the decision to establish separate websites for each specialist category of the industry. These websites – the farming site of nzFarms, the business broking site of Prime Business and the commercial property site of Prime Commercial have ably and professionally represented the interests of the specialist agents in each category and their respective clients.

These websites have just gone through a major redesign – a design which reflects the successful re-design of the main realestate.co.nz website which was released in May.

nzFarms.co.nz provides the most comprehensive selection of listings by licensed rural agents for all types of farms and agricultural businesses as well as lifestyle properties around NZ.

The site currently displays 4,621 farms and agricultural business, with a further 11,807 lifestyle properties and lifestyle sections.

There are 9 categories of farms covering dairy farms, specialist livestock farms, grazing land, bare land, horticulture and viticulture as well as forestry.

 

Prime Commercial provides the most comprehensive selection of listings from licensed commercial real estate agents for all types of commercial property around NZ. The selection includes both property for sale as well as for lease.

The site currently displays 7,663 commercial properties and land for sale, with 18,613 commercial premises for lease.

There are 4 property types for leasehold premises covering office leased space, retail premises, industrial premises as well as hotels and motels for lease. The selection of properties and land for investment covers office buildings, retail property, commercial land and well as industrial land and buildings.

 

Prime Business provides the most comprehensive selection of listings from licensed business brokers for all types of businesses for sale across the whole of NZ.

The site currently displays 4,033 listings of businesses for sale from over 1,500 licensed agents providing services to business owners looking to sell and investors and business managers looking to take that first step on the ladder to owning their own business.

There are 12 specialist categories of businesses to search for on the site, from retail businesses to tourism, from age care facilities to hotels, motels and lodges. Whatever the type of business from just $5,000 to over $16 million!

 

The re-design of these sites is however not just cosmetic. We have added features and enhanced the presentation to make these sites even more effective as a business tool to these key audience groups.

More extensive search filters

There’s a property finder tool bar now located at the top of every page, which allows you to define your criteria. The selection is targeted to recognise the unique and specific types that exist within the farming sector, the business sector and the commercial sector. We’ve also extended the price range options and the ability to select surrounding suburbs by ticking a box.

Advanced search

This is an enhanced capability found on the Prime Commercial and nzFarms sites. Whilst it has always been a part of these sites it has now been upgraded to include much more advanced search criteria. You can now select multiple districts and regions. For example, searching for within the Canterbury region for Ashburton district, as well as Waikato region for the Matamata district, together in one search.

Other very useful new advanced search options are the ability to type in an exact price range (i.e. $740,900) and search by pricing method (i.e. Auction, Display price, etc.), as well as search by properties with a displayed address.

Larger images

The new sites display larger property photos on both search results and listing page. You can also view the properties in a full screen overlay, which shows off the listings to the maximum. You may notice that some listings have very different image sizes to others. We are constantly working with our customers to secure from them the largest available image which we process to give you the biggest and best impression of the farm, commercial premises or business you are interested in.

List view or gallery view

In addition to the standard list view of search results we also now provide a gallery view, which presents property purely by first image. You will also notice that all listings now have the ability to view all the photos from within the search results, making for a far more efficient process for browsing the property or business on the market.

Social share your listing

Located on the listing page, there is now the option of socially sharing your listing on Twitter, Facebook and Google+1. This feature enables any user to these websites to recommend a property to their peers and the rest of the world.

We plan on adding more enhancements throughout this year and next to these websites and will keep you updated. We hope you are as excited about these new redesigned websites as we are!

 

 

 

 

5

Shortage of listings is key to the state of the property market

The monthly sales report from the Real Estate Institute (REINZ) states clearly that “Listings tight in June housing market” – this assessment comes from “strong indications from agents in many regions that the supply of properties is really tightening“.

This perception is reality; the data in the monthly NZ Property Report underpins this with the numbers to show the decline in new listings as detailed in the chart below.

Listing numbers have been falling steadily for over a year, and matched to a slowly rising rate of sales, is beginning to show in the declining stock of homes on the market. This could potentially lead to a demand heavy market which could see price pressure in the medium term.

To better highlight the listings to sales ratios; I have developed these charts to show the picture nationally and regionally. I have assessed the property market based on the first 6 months of 2011 vs the first 6 months of 2010. Nationally this year is showing sales down 1% – however if you remove the Canterbury region the national picture shows a 4% growth in sales. Matched to this is a 14% decline in new listings (17% decline if you include Canterbury).

The chart ably demonstrates why Auckland is most definitely feeling the effect of a tighter property market – sales up 10% and listings down 13%. Wellington sales are sluggish but again listings are down 12% whilst Canterbury is experiencing the unique aspects of the earthquake of February.

Looking around the country the regions that are showing growth in sales year-on-year are grouped in the chart below. Eight of the 19 regions show year-on-year growth in sales – the West Coast of the south island topping out with a sales rise of 14%. All regions though show declines in listings.

The remaining 11 regions of the country presented in the chart below are witnessing year-on-year sales declines, some double digit declines. Equally they all (with the exception of Nelson) are seeing declining listings, largely in line or greater than the decline in sales.

0

No mysterious spike in mortgagee sales

Posted on: July 5th, 2011 | Filed in Featured, Media commmentary

Mortgagee sales are still a part of the NZ property market. Currently there are 333 properties being marketed in NZ as mortgagee sales. These properties are being marketed by real estate agents on behalf of the mortgagor (in most cases the bank that loaded the money on the house in the first place).

This total though needs to be placed in perspective. There are today 49,782 properties for sale being marketed by real estate agents (excluding sections) across NZ; that means that a mortgagee listed properties represents just 1 in every 150 properties on the market.

The level of mortgagee sales as measured by the number of mortgagee listings on realestate.co.nz has been declining in the long term trend since the peak in early 2009. There has been some small ups and downs, however the chart below certainly highlights the trend over the past 4 years since the data has been collected.

In respect of this trend this chart which tracks year-on-year comparison of listings on a 3 month moving average basis shows when the emergence of mortgagee sales occurred; when the fall off from the peak occurred; and then just how steady this category has become over the past 6 to 9 months with a steady flow of new mortgagee listings coming onto the market matched to ones that have been sold.

It should be noted that the listings data only relates to properties for sale that are marketed as mortgagee sales and excludes sections. At this time there are some 113 sections which are mortgage sales.

This separation of mortgagee property from mortgagee sections in the presented data could be the reason behind the confusion of data presented in the Sunday paper article titled “Mystery spike in mortgagee sales“.

The article cited the number of mortgagee sales listed on realestate.co.nz as of last week at 435. This total would be for both properties and sections. This was then compared to a figure from October of last year of 321 listings; this lead to a supposition that listings were up 37%. (Our office was not unfortunately contacted to share the mortgagee data we track and thereby a misinterpretation occurred).

I believe that the article writer or researcher may have reviewed the article written on this blog back in October last year which detailed the then latest data of 321 listings for mortgagee properties on the market. The comparison is that the number of mortgagee properties on the market today is very nearly identical to that number on the market last October.

The data shows that there in no mysterious spike in mortgagee properties; they are still a part of the property market and from historical review tend to be a lagging indicator of the economic recessionary times that catch out home owners as unemployment and financial hardship hits home.

3

NZ Property Report – June 2011

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

The June 2011 NZ Property Report published by Realestate.co.nz provides an insight into the state of the New Zealand property market as measured by the supply side of the property market over the month of May. 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.

A full print version of the NZ Property Report – June 2011 is published below and is available for download (1.0MB) and distribution.

Summary of the market – June 2011

What began last month as an early trend towards a sellers market has taken on a faster pace through June. Nationally whilst the inventory levels hover just above the long-term average of 41 weeks, key regions of the country are now firmly set in a sellers market. This situation has the potential to be exacerbated by the traditional reluctance of property owners to list their homes through the winter period. During the winter, sales per month tend to drop by around 5% as against a normal month, however new listings tend to fall more significantly by up to 15% as compared to a normal month.

Heading into the winter period with a growing number of regions seeing inventory levels below long term average could well result in elevated buyer demand with a potential to see property price appreciation. Those regions are Auckland, Queenstown, Bay of Plenty, Waikato and Otago.

Countering this potential for price appreciation is the fact that in June the asking price expectation of those new listings coming onto the market at $415,053 showed no change as compared to May and in fact represented a 2% fall in price as compared to the recent 3-month period.

Asking Price

The truncated mean asking price for all new listings in June rose very slightly from $414,308 in May to $415,053. On a seasonally adjusted basis the asking price rose just 0.8% in the month indicating a degree of caution amongst sellers.

The overall trend of the past 2 years continues to show a slow but steady strength in asking price expectation.

New Listings

The level of new listings coming onto the market in June fell again to 9,111. This represented a 18% year on year decline but a 2% seasonally adjusted rise from May.

On a 12 month moving basis the number of new listings in the past year totals 125,848 as compared 145,920 for the same period a year ago – a fall of 14%.

Inventory

The level of unsold houses on the market at the end of June continued to fall from prior months. June reported 47,738 down from 48,352 in May and 50,398 in April.

The recent relative strength of sales as seen in March through to May has now stared to see a clearing of what has been a high level of unsold houses on the market over the past 18 months. Heading into Winter, a time of traditionally weaker listing will likely see this inventory level fall further in coming months.

Regional Summary – Asking price expectations

The asking price, having fallen in May barely changed in June. Across the regions there is certainly some variances. A total of just 6 regions saw an increase in asking price expectations as compared to 13 showing falls.

The scale of some of these movements was significant, even outside of the smaller regions, which tend to exhibit large variances. Most noticeable were falls of greater than 5% in Wellington, the Hawkes Bay, Taranaki and Otago. The largest asking price rises of greater than 5% were seen in the Bay of Plenty and Coromandel region, the latter still witnessing high inventory and as such is very much stuck in a buyers market. The biggest movement in asking price this month was seen in Southland with a 6.8% increase as compared to the recent 3-month average.

Regional Summary – Listings

The regional perspective of new listing is very clear this month with one solitary region showing a rise in new listings comparing June 2011 with a year earlier. The Central North Island as well as seeing a rise in new listings is experiencing a buyers market with inventory of unsold properties exceeding long term average.

The majority of regions (13 out of 19) saw double-digit falls of new listings on a year-on-year basis with the biggest falls seen in the West Coast, Gisborne, Bay of Plenty, Marlborough, Canterbury and Wiararapa.

Two regions in June reported the lowest levels of listings going back to Jan 2007, they were Northland with 352 listings and Wiararapa with 117 listings.

Regional Summary – Inventory

The levels of inventory of unsold homes on the market fell further in June. In the space of just 3 months the levels have fallen from significant highs to be very close to long term average for many regions of the country.

For 2 years the predominant look of the regional inventory map has signaled a buyers market. In June there were 7 regions on or below their long-term average for inventory of properties on the market.

The most significant regions experiencing this shift to a seller’s market are Auckland and Queenstown; now joined by the Bay of Plenty, the Waikato and Otago. Not far behind the regions of Nelson, Wellington, Canterbury and the West Coast all of which are edging to a turning point in the market with more balance between buyers and sellers.

That still leaves 9 regions, all of which are provincial NZ firmly in a buyers market with existing inventory well above long term average.

Lifestyle

The level of new listings of lifestyle property coming onto the market in June fell by 4% on a seasonally adjusted basis from May. A total of just 829 new properties were listed with a truncated mean asking price of $554,864. The asking price was down 1% as compared to the recent 3-month average, and down 3% as compared to prior year.

On a rolling 12-month average basis new listings are down 10.5% with 11,346 listed in the past 12 months compared to 12,679 last year.

Apartments

Listings of apartments showed a 21% increase on a seasonally adjusted basis as compared to May with 439 new apartments coming onto the market. The truncated mean asking price for these new listings was $397,747, which was up 4.0% on the recent 3-month average, and up 8.3% as compared to June 2010.

In the Auckland apartment market, which represents over 60% of the market there were 274 new listings with an asking price of $383,980. The new listings shows a rise of 17% on a seasonally adjusted basis, and a 3% rise when judged on a year-on-year basis.

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:

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 95% 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 1,020 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 9,111 new listings in the month of June a total of 166 listings have been excluded due to anomalies. The land area of the property defines the categorisation of Lifestyle 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 1.6m properties with detailed specifications, map and local amenities. The site provides online reports for free and for purchase covering valuation and legal information to greatly assist the needs of property buyers and sellers.

The web business of Realestate.co.nz site is the most comprehensive real estate web operation in NZ, currently hosting over 120,000 listings, covering this portfolio of residential property for sale and rent, commercial property for sale and lease, rural properties and farms, as well as businesses for sale. With a subscriber base of over 1,020 offices, the company represents over 95% of all listings from licensed real estate agents in NZ.

The full NZ Property Report for June 2011 can be downloaded here (1.0MB 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 July 2011 will be published on this website on Monday 1st August 2011 at 10am.

5

Australian real estate industry lines up to challenge web leader

Posted on: June 27th, 2011 | Filed in Featured, International, Real Estate Industry, Real Estate Industry News

NZ’ers are always interested to see what is going on in Australia and when it comes to online real estate we here at Realestate.co.nz are always interested to see what is happening on the other side of the ditch. At the moment it seems quite a lot judging by the front page headline from the Australian Financial Review.

Real Estate Agents ready to “revolt” reads the headline. It appears that after more than a decade of benefiting from the online transition of property buyers from print to the web,  with the consequential financial savings; the industry is now revolting from what they see as exorbitant charges from the online market leader realestate.com.au (just for clarity there is no connection between our site realestate.co.nz and the Australian site of the same domain name).

Realestate.com.au (REA Group) has been a stellar success of web marketing, founded before the dotcom crash of 2000 it has grown from nothing to now be valued at in excess of A$1.6bn as an ASX listed company (the majority shareholder is News Corporation). The site holds the lion’s share of web visitors and around 95% of all listings. The chart below tracks the leadership in web traffic by realestate.com.au to its nearest competitor (Fairfax owned domain.com.au).

With this powerful position of dominance of the collective eyeballs of property buyers and the dominance of content, the company has over the past decade grown revenue from a couple of million dollars to well over A$160m. On average each real estate office in Australia pays realestate.com.au over A$1,000 a month and this scale of fee combined with the regularity with which they increase this fee now has the industry up in arms in a very public manner. The industry as reported in the article is looking to band together under what they are calling “Project Rebellion” to power an alternative website with which they hope to secure a competitive threat to submit realestate.com.au into reducing fees or potentially remove it from the market.

Could this happen? – the rich and comprehensive content of real estate listing is what property buyers seek, in theory they will go to the site that has the most content. That content is totally in the control of the agents, so in theory this is possible. However consumers are creatures of habit and have no idea what constitutes comprehensive content. A new website would have to spend a lot of money promoting itself to create awareness to say it was the “new home” of property listings online. At the same time the agents would all in unison have to stop using realestate.com.au, something many in the industry might be wary of doing as it is a very powerful and effective advertising medium for their clients listings with over 7 million monthly unique visitors.

The whole challenging conundrum is very well detailed in an article by Simon Baker in the Property Observer – his summation is that there is very little chance of this initiative having any legs. As a point of note Simon Baker is the former CEO of realestate.com.au and still remains a shareholder. As he states in his article, the publication of this story in the Fin Review last week knocked 5% off the market value of REA amounting to a paper depreciation of the company’s value of some A$80m – that personally impacts Simon.

New Zealand

What implications might this initiative in Australia have for the NZ industry?

In NZ there are really two key online real estate websites. Trade me Property has the highest level of website visitors. In the past month it received over 1.4 million unique browsers as measured by Nielsen online, by comparison realestate.co.nz received just over 400,000 unique browsers (as a point of reference there were just 5,766 properties sold in the month, which just goes to show the casual browsing appeal of property to kiwis). In terms of content realestate.co.nz holds the most comprehensive selection of listings from licensed agents – around 95% of all such listings. Trade me property has more listings in total on their site, however their licensed real estate listings are supplemented by a significant number of private sale listings.

Trade me Property is owned by Fairfax media whereas Realestate.co.nz is owned by two shareholders – the Real Estate Institute holds 50% and the balance is held by 6 of the larger real estate companies (Harcourts, Harveys, Ray White, Bayleys, Barfoot & Thompson and LJ Hooker).

In NZ there is a disparity of what each website charges for its services to its agent. Realestate.co.nz has a two tier subscription based on office size. Large offices (more than 6 active salespeople) are charged $300 per month with small offices $225 per month. The charges for Trade me are higher at $799 per month. Certainly the real estate companies in NZ do not pay as much as their counterparts in Australia, however when seen in perspective of the relevance of online marketing and how much it has made print media so redundant for property marketing, it is somewhat surprising that this reaction is happening at all.

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Are property buyers really in the box seat?

Posted on: June 23rd, 2011 | Filed in Buying / Selling a home, Featured

“There has never been a better time to buy a house” – this was the first line of the Sunday newspaper article this past weekend. A big call some may say, especially when the property market has seen a very sober and lacklustre market over the past 3 years.

It is worth pausing for a moment to reflect on what circumstances arise to cause the property market to be either a great time to buy, or a great time to sell.

These circumstances are usually in opposing territory. However there are always exceptions and most recently in that heady period around 2004 when the pace of the market favoured both buyers and sellers with prices and volumes rising steadily and at such a pace that you almost “had” to buy and sell – or you feared being left behind in the market.

Great time to buy!

Great times to buy are generally when the cost of borrowing (interest rates) are low; when the availability of property on the market is high, and when there are not many other competing buyers in the market.

As to whether falling prices are a great incentive to buy is debatable as a cautious buyer will usually hold off  in these situations to see if prices may in fact falling further.

Great time to sell!

Great times to sell are generally when the cost of borrowing is cheap thereby encouraging a lot of buyers to come into the market. Ideally this is also combined with a shortage of properties on the market therefore forcing buyers to compete with each other to buy your property.

As to price, it is likely sellers are not that concerned. All they want is to sell. The price they sell at will be as the market dictates, which will allow them to move on and buy another property as appropriate.

 

The newspaper article went on substantiates the claim of it being a great time to buy, by stating that interest rates are currently at the lowest levels for decades. That is certainly true and with the vast majority of property purchased with a mortgage the cost of borrowing is a key driver of the market. The chart below (courtesy of the Reserve Bank) tracks mortgage rates over the past 20 years and clearly shows how low today’s rates are on a historical comparison – especially when you see the peak at over 15% in 1991.

Reserve Bank of New Zealand - Floating & 2yr fixed rates for new borrowers

The article stated that in addition to low mortgage rates the other key driver of a “great time to buy” was the fact that “prices across the country plunging in the past month”. I would challenge this assertion from the standpoint as made earlier that falling prices can in certain circumstances impede buyer motivation. It is also so important to look at house prices not on a one month basis but on a trend perspective.

The recent blog post entitled “NZ property prices continue to ease” highlighted the Stratified mean sales price across the country. This showed no sign whatsoever of “plunging prices”. Property sales price are in all cases below the peak of the property market back in 2007 (with the sole exception of Wellington which has managed to set a peak back in late 2009). Prices would be better described as stable or lacklustre rather than plunging.

One fact the newspaper article omitted completely was the a key driver of the property market – the inventory of unsold homes on the market. As stated earlier this statistic, far more than sale price is likely to impact the state of the market as either a buyers or a sellers market.

Realestate.co.nz publishes its monthly NZ Property Report which tracks this inventory measured as the number of equivalent weeks of sales of unsold properties on the market. In the May report published on the 1st June as well as the regional Property Pulse regional factsheets the data showed that in the Auckland market and now emerging in the Queenstown market the power is moving from buyers to sellers. A lack of new listings and a rise in sales volumes which is helping to clear what has been high inventory is leading the Auckland market to be in a deficit of properties on the market. If as a consequence of these low interest rates, buyers are more active in the Auckland market, then there will be a need for more listings to come onto the market. This then directly favours sellers. Potentially in this seller’s market a consequence of the lack of listings may lead to property appreciation due to more demand than supply.

Outside of these major markets of Auckland, Queenstown and possibly Wellington the rest of the country is still very much in a situation of high inventory of unsold properties. This means that if there are buyers eager to take advantage of low interest rates then in these more provincial areas they will have ample opportunity to pick and choose amongst the properties on the market and allow them to drive a good bargain – maybe these are the areas of the country where buyers may well be “in the box seat”!

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NZ Property Pulse – May 2011

Posted on: June 16th, 2011 | Filed in Featured, Property Pulse - Regional Market Report

Each month we publish a factsheet for each region of the country as well as a national report to provide an insight to the key numbers that detail the health of the property market across the country.

These reports for the month of May cover all 16 provincial regions as well as reports covering the 3 main metropolitan regions of Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch. The Auckland report is divided up into each of the main metro areas (North Shore, Waitakere, Manukau as well as Auckland City).

Each factsheet provides the key numbers in table and chart form using the key statistics from the Real Estate Institute of NZ and Realestate.co.nz. This provides the number of property sales in the month, the median sales price for those property sales, the inventory of unsold properties on the market, as well as the number and the asking price expectation of new listings brought onto the market in the month.

Metropolitan Areas

Auckland City

North Shore

Waitakere

Manukau

Wellington

Chistchurch

Provincial Areas

Northland

Coromandel

Waikato

Bay of Plenty

Central North Island

Hawkes Bay

Gisborne

Taranaki

Manawatu / Wanganui

Wairarapa

Nelson

Marlborough

West Coast

Otago

Queenstown Lakes

Southland

National Property Pulse

The national NZ property pulse factsheet for May 2011 is published using data from Realestate.co.nz and REINZ (Real Estate Institute of NZ).

Property sales across the country totaled 5,766 in the month showed a rise on a seasonally adjusted basis in May and a 11% rise as compared to May 2010. The inventory of unsold houses on the market at 47 weeks of equivalent sales continues to sit well above the long-term average of 41 weeks.

The stratified mean sales price for property sales across the country at $358,925 is down just 1% as compared to a year ago, and has shown some easing over the prior month. The asking price expectation of new listings fell in May to $414,308, which is 2% up as compared to a year ago.

The level of new listings coming onto the market in April at 9,898 was down significantly from April and down 16% as compared to a year ago.

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