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12 Properties for Christmas – Day 3

Posted on: December 15th, 2013 | Filed in Other interesting reads:, The lighter side, Uncategorized

On the first day, my true love gave to me a stunning beachfront property with private beach access... then on the second day of Christmas, I was dreaming about this Hamilton art deco beauty.

Check out this special treat… On the third day of Christmas, I’m imaging coming home to this – right in the middle of pinot noir country, Cromwell, Central Otago.

This is a home that oozes extravagance, Italian tiled foyer entrance, quality appliances, powder room, Bose sound system, swimming pool, spa and three car garaging – the list of luxury goes on!

This award winning home is designed by renowned Architect John Blair. Our guests (I imagine!) would be extremely comfortable in the two bedrooms in the guest wing that even have their own kitchenettes.

All four luxury bedrooms even have their own ensuites. This 1.38ha lifestyle property offers breathtaking rural and water views all round and is just 5 minutes from Cromwell.

Did I mention there’s a vineyard right next door?

Someone hand me the pinot noir.

By Phillip Dunn
Acting CEO


12 Properties for Christmas – Day 2

Posted on: December 14th, 2013 | Filed in Featured, Other interesting reads:, The lighter side

Yesterday, my true love gave to me a stunning beachfront property with private beach access...

11 days out from Christmas my true love could give to me … A romantic art noveau house with sweeping views.

Re-live the romance of yesteryear in this huge traditional 1930’s Art Deco home.

Hey, I could almost see myself moving to Hamilton for this, can certainly see the kids and I having fun in the pool, entertaining indoors or out, throw-downs on the lawn or just relaxing in one of those lounges.

By Phillip Dunn
Acting CEO


New App features – sync your favourite homes between devices

Posted on: May 7th, 2013 | Filed in mobile, Other interesting reads:, Technology, Website news

You have been asking for it, and we have been listening! The app can now sync both your favourite homes and your saved open homes between the website and your mobile device.

Plus, view all of your saved open homes in a map, so that you can easily plan your open home visits.

And, when homes are withdrawn or sold we will keep these in My Property under an archived section for 30 days so that you can keep up to date on what is happening to homes you were interested in.

We have a lot of new ideas of what we can do to our app to make it even better in the future. But we would love to get some feedback from you on what makes our app great, and how we can make it even better.

Email your feedback & suggestions to and help us build an even better property app.

Visit or click one of the below buttons to download NZ’s Favorite Property App to your phone.

iPhone Download Android Download

If you have any comments or enquiries about the NZ Property Market or about marketing your property online, please contact me via Email, Google, or Twitter


Sticky: Nielsen survey shows surge in homebuyers using mobile

The free mobile app created by that gives users real-time, location-aware information about homes for sale and rent has now been downloaded over 100,000 times. The milestone coincides with the release of the 2012 Nielsen Real Estate Market Report, which shows a huge surge in homebuyers using mobile property search applications on smartphones.

The report revealed that 27 per cent of homebuyers who responded to the survey have used a property search mobile app in the last year, jumping up significantly from just 7 per cent recorded in 2011.

The report also revealed that seven out of ten of those homebuyers are using the app.

The significance of these two factors can’t be understated. It shows the app is truly changing the way New Zealand home shoppers look for and view homes, and how they interact with property and agents whilst on the go. The app gives home shoppers a birds-eye view of any area in New Zealand, showing properties that are for sale or rent.  By simply tapping on the ‘Near Me’ button, browsers are taken to a street map that shows properties within a one kilometre radius of their current location.

The app – available on both iOS for the iPhone and iPad as well as Android devices – has become an essential accessory for Kiwis searching for local properties for sale or rent. And we are aware of several buyers who have found and purchased their home for sale solely through using the mobile app. People are turning up to open homes guided by the app with a schedule fully planned of where they are going and what they are going to check out.

For more information on the smartphone app, visit

By Paul McKenzie – Marketing Manager,


Technology is the key to the future of real estate

Posted on: February 5th, 2010 | Filed in Agent Tips, Other interesting reads:, Technology

Real Estate Connect New York City 2010 | Real Estate and Technology News for Agents, Brokers and Investors | Inman NewsI have taken a week or so following my attendance at the Inman Connect Conference in New York earlier last month. In this time I have collated my thoughts around the conference to share these here now.

As has become traditional with Inman Connect conferences of the past couple of years there is usually a single takeaway that I carry with me as I return to NZ from attending these events.

In 2007 at my first conference the takeaway was social media and the emergence of blogs; 2008 was the rise of Facebook and Twitter as platforms for real estate conversations; 2009 was all about data and a growing transparency for the real estate industry – agents embracing the concept of consumer review and critique of the performance metrics of the industry.

For 2010 the takeaway was mobile – mobile as in real time, location based, real estate data, accessible on portable devices.

Mobile computing came of age in 2009.

YouTube - Trulia iPhone App UpdateWith more than 75 million iPhones sold and a growing collection of alternative smart phones, most significant of which is undoubtedly Google’s new entrance through the Android mobile operating system and now the Nexus One, it is very clear to see that we are on the fast accelerating adoption curve where we will see many hundreds of millions of new generation smart phones purchased in the coming months and years. All of these devices are in fact far more mobile computers that just happen to provide voice communication rather than phones in the sense of what we have been using for two decades to make mobile calls.

The future as Brad Inman (the conference host and owner of Inman News) said in summing up the conference; the future is very clear and bright (and profitable) for those agents who understand and leverage the technology revolution in this industry that began at the start of this last decade and in some ways is now really hitting its stride. The great quote I often use in many presentations I do is from an Australian real estate conference of a couple of years ago “Agents will not be replaced by technology – they will be replaced by agents with technology” it just keeps on resonating as so relevant, so true.

The Connect conference is structured to provide a rich mix of technology and real estate business discussions and debates. The origin of the name came from the concept of the place where real estate and technology “connected”. It is featured packed, somewhat frenetic in nature and very much a smorgasbord of discussion groups and break out sessions as well as short – but pithy keynote presentations as well as lots of valuable takeaway ideas and initiatives.

Here then is a smorgasbord of takeaways, which caught my attention during the conference:

  • More and more agents are confidently stating that print advertising has lost all relevance and now all of their focus is on the web, this even lead in one session to the heated quote from a prominent New York agent “print never sold properties”. The move online is not just for advertising properties but also for profiling agents as part of marketing themselves – their brand.
  • The appeal of the iPhone and the development of the apps store replete with real estate apps has developed a culture and unique behaviour particularly on a Saturday as witnessed by massive spikes in traffic to these apps when “soccer mums” seek out local open homes to check out after the kids sports event – this behaviour has now become a phenomenon which is contributing to a noticeable rise in open home visits driven by the real time location based data.
  • Google was a much talked about subject and the conference provided a platform for the company’s real estate representative to share the company’s plans. Needless to say not a lot was shared except to recognise the value that Google saw in liberating real estate data. They refused to be drawn as to any potential acquisition to enhance their already released map based search. As ever with Google they are undoubtedly the smartest guys in the room. They have very clear views and plans and they have massive resources. They will roll out new functionality to enhance basic search, it will be disruptive, it will provide opportunities for them to sell more advertising and more and more of these adverts will be bought by real estate companies and agents. Google are here to stay, and real estate for them is a key agenda item.
  • Video as a complement to image based property presentation always represents a component of these conferences. Whilst the technology is improving in leaps and bounds the limitation and appeal is as ever down to the capability and professionalism behind the camera. The percentage of all listings with a video is increasing; but in reality it still represents a small percentage and always will. Buyers are looking for speed and efficiency at the early stage of search – video is just not conducive as a medium to this process.
  • There were a couple of sessions during the conference titled and focused on challenges to reinvent the real estate brokerage model. This included a panel of key leaders in the industry. Having sat in the breakout sessions and the main panel, I have to confess I was particularly unimpressed by the level of innovation. There was a sense of the same model with just a new set of clothes. There were plenty of good words – such as accountability, transparency, ethics, and personal service. Lots of plans to leverage social media and engage with clients, but through it all; it was the same model – advertise and farm for vendor (and buyer) leads, advertise everywhere, manage leads and negotiate sale for a % of the selling price. The question in the back of my mind was:
    * Is the current model broken” – answer “No!” (Or at least not significantly broken)
    * Is their scope for innovation and significant differentiation in business model – answer “Surely must be!”
  • An excellent session was a “start-up alley” of new technology companies offering services to the real estate industry. This was the chance for these new companies to share with the attendees their pitch for their company and for the audience to vote for the concept most likely to succeed – which they would most likely invest in. These were all companies, which were largely operating, and at this time many of which were self financed
  • I was impressed at the diversity and innovation; they covered the range from agent business applications to online media sales to neighbourhood social – the winner being in the latter category NabeWise aiming to create social commentary around neighbourhoods.
  • As ever the conference has the usual heated debates and literal stand-offs, a classic of the last day was the ubiquitous debate around the structure, value, longevity and relevance of the USA’s unique MLS structure (that is the central Multiple Listing Service) – central is actually the wrong word as there are over 800 MLS’s covering the country and all are largely built as proprietary fiefdoms who to my naive and non-US eyes and ears exemplify the analogy of the buggy maker at the turn of the century as the motor car drove into town.

As a fellow conference attendee shared his thoughts with me during the conference – this is such a valuable engagement with like-minded people, a sense of reinforcement, substantiation and affirmation that in spite of the fact that we may operate in a market of just 4 million people – a tiny fraction of the business scale of Europe and the US we can share, learn, contribute and gain so much to ensure we are constantly challenges to deliver unique and valuable service

Returning to the key takeaway again of mobile as the technological catalyst most likely to impact this industry, it is interesting to speculate as to the landscape of real estate a year or two from now. Whilst the adoption and integration of mobile enabled capabilities within the agent community is uncertain, sitting as I do running a consumer website to assist buyer find their dream home I can very clearly see the future for property seekers as they become mobile enabled with real estate data. More data, more accessible, helping buyers and sellers to make better-informed decisions.


Asking price expectations : market impact or regulatory impact

Posted on: January 22nd, 2010 | Filed in Buying / Selling a home, Money Matters, Other interesting reads:

The December NZ Property Report featured here on Unconditional on New Year’s day highlighted that between November and December the asking price expectation of properties in NZ fell by 1.7% to $412,319. This fall had come off the back of a couple of stable months of price expectation.

At the time of writing that report, the assumption behind this decline in asking price was that the market was adjusting prices as a result of somewhat flat demand. This fall in demand was being seen in the much softer sales volumes through the last quarter of the year.

However another explanation for this decline was brought to my attention by Steve Taylor an agent in Christchurch who is a regular writer of a local real estate blog – Doctor’n the House.

His recent post “Why has asking price gone down?” highlighted the fact that with the commencement of the new legislation (Real Estate Agents Act 2008) real estate licensed sales people now have a legal obligation to provide a written appraisal for every house they propose to list on behalf of the owner. This appraisal needs to include an estimated market price of the property.

Whilst this change is in itself not vastly different from prior practices whereby a price level would have been discussed between agent and vendor – the view which Steve highlights and I tend to agree with is that this universal requirement is potentially driving a more accountable responsibility on the part of the sales agent to market the property at a price which is judged to be the market price.

Clearly the enactment of this requirement of the new Act has only been in operation for 8 weeks so it will be very interesting to see the coming months for signs of the movement in asking price of properties coming onto the market.


A significant decade for real estate closes – the future will be challenging

Posted on: January 20th, 2010 | Filed in Online marketing, Other interesting reads:, Real Estate Industry

The last 10 years witnessed some incredible highs and lows in NZ real estate – at its peak in the month of March 2005 houses were being sold at the rate of 368 a day – that is close to 33 an hour. At the other extreme in January 2009 sales stalled to a low of just 3,706 – a daily rate of just 120.

In pricing terms the decade started with an average NZ home costing $174,850 – in today’s money that would equate to $222,411. By the end of the decade that average NZ home cost $369,825 a rise of 66% over the decade. If you had decided to sell in that house in November 2007 when the market peaked then that house would have seen an inflation adjusted rise of 77% from the start of the decade.

At the start of 2000 the process of searching for a home likely involved a meeting with an agent early in the process as access to information as to what was on the market very much resided in their offices. The internet was used for property search but not as the primary means. Back in January 2000 there was only one website aggregating listings from various sources RealENZ (the predecessor of – the monthly traffic to the site was around 60,000 visitors as probably less than 20% of buyers used the web.

REALENZ - NEW ZEALAND LARGEST REAL ESTATE DATABASE ON NEW ZEALAND INTERNET-1In January 2010 78% of buyers turn to the web first when searching for real estate and the monthly audience for all monitored websites is over 1,300,000 unique visitors. This has largely placed the task of searching firmly in the hands of buyers with a vast amount of additional information accessible to educate and inform buyers mostly thanks to Google and their ability to organise the world’s collective knowledge and make it universally accessible.

So as we start this new decade and consider how the industry will change in the next 10 years I was prompted to share the following summary from Brad Inman written as the introduction to last week’s Real Estate Connect Conference held in New York attended by over 1,800 delegates from around the world. Brad is highly respected in the industry as the publisher of Inman News and a knowledgeable and insightful observer of the industry.

“The first decade of the new century ended last month. What began in a boom and ended in a bust, the real estate market, is slowly coming alive. Along the road to recovery is a raft of innovation that has enabled the smart and technology savvy real estate agent/broker to survive. Combine the technology transformation with a revived market and change will accelerate dramatically in the coming 24 months.

Think of these changes in phases. Phase one included a greater number of steps in the home buying and selling process being digitized and automated, allowing consumers to more intelligently navigate real estate deals. In addition, the Internet has enabled home buyers through maps, search, AVM’s and MLS data (US centralised Multiple Listing Service) to structure their own home hunt, in one way relieving the agent/broker but reshaping their world along the way.

Because of technology, consumer needs are changing, and smart agents are transforming their business practices to focus on these new expectations. Technology – communication and information delivery – has become a central part of the services that home buyers and sellers expect and that savvy agents are providing.

Instant online real estate intelligence will be the next big change as consumers rely more on rich live data feeds, social media and local metrics to make house buying and selling decisions.

These innovations will change the role of the agent and the broker again. At one time, the listing data was perceived as the central value proposition of the industry, but that has changed with ubiquitous listing data. Then the agent became more of a counselor, teacher and advisor, which will evolve as Internet real estate intel becomes more sophisticated and matures.

In the future the role of the agent will be to focus on the gnarly often confusing transaction and direct and move it along. Smart agents are using technology to make that process easier and less confusing for their customers. The agents with the best technology will find and close more deals online and dwarf their slower-to-adopt competitors. Thanks to technology adoption, their business will scale and they will capture greater market share by closing more deal efficiently”.


Latest property data shows weakness in sales numbers

Posted on: January 19th, 2010 | Filed in Buying / Selling a home, Other interesting reads:, REINZ Monthly data

NZ house sales data for 2009 shows sluggish market - image istockphotoThe statistics released by the Real Estate Institute (REINZ) yesterday focused on the record median price – $360,000 – stating in the article:

“Real Estate Institute of New Zealand President Peter McDonald says it’s an appreciating market fuelled by a shortage of properties for sale but is looking optimistic for 2010”.

The other half of the story relates to property sales number which were 4,957 in the month – these sales figures are the 3rd lowest in the last ten years for December which is naturally a quiet selling month. The best December ever was back in 2003 when 8,669 properties were sold.

The more concerning fact behind the numbers is that through the last 6 months; year on year comparative monthly sales have been steadily building on the very low sales base of 2008. Through the period from April to November the volumes compared to 2008 was averaging increases of 40%. In September sales were up 44%. However the December sales at 4,957 was only up 15%.

What is more concerning is that a year ago we were experiencing the low point of sales volumes as a result of the global economic recession and the slow down of the NZ property market. This was acute in the 3 month period of November, December and January last year. So in theory we should have seen a sales volume in December more of the order of 5,500 rather than 4,957.

The reasoning behind this view is seasonality. December is on average 7.3% of all annual sales just as November is a bigger month representing 9.1% of annual sales on average. Taking the last 6 months of seasonally adjusted sales prior to the December figures the calculations were all pointing to a total annual sales for the whole of 2009 of 75,000.

The input of the December stats resulted in the total for calendar year 2009 of just 69,629 just 24% up on the all time low of 2008 of 56,128.

To provide a view and perspective of the current sales volumes the graph below tracks the seasonally adjusted 12 month moving average sales volumes over the past 5 years. The key periods of the market have been highlighted to bring clarity to the market movements.

NZ Property sales - 12 month seasonally adjusted

  • The strong sales period – through 2005 and 2006 with sales in excess of 100,000 per 12 month moving average
  • The downturn which started midway through 2007, bottoming out in March 2008
  • The flat period through most of 2008 averaging just 55,000 per 12 month moving average
  • The Spurt of activity in  the first half of 2009 before what has been another leveling off leaving sales at this 70,000 12 month moving average level, before the recent fall off over the past quarter relative to seasonal averages.

Just for clarification this chart is developed by weighting each months actual sales to the seasonal average representation, with the average based on the period 1992 to 2009. So for example taking December 2009 with 4,957 sales – December on average represents 7.3% of all sales of a year therefore in theory this sales volume for December would extrapolate to a 12 month equivalent sales volume of 68,084 sales


Some genuine home truths about home buying

Real Estate_ Everyone_s an expert | there is one thing more certain in NZ these days than the latest political scandal or sporting event, it is the view people have to real estate and the purchase of a property.

It is so true that everyone has an opinion and every opinion is the polar opposite of everybody else’s!

It was with this in mind that my eye was caught by a great blog post by Jane Yee, who writes on Jane is a classic Gen X / Gen Y and her life is played out through her regular blog entitled the “Girls Guide”. Now there are two really important things to reflect on at this stage (i) Jane is of the age that most people start to buy property, and (ii) Jane writes from a woman’s perspective which is as is well known very much the influential voice in real estate transactions in the case of couples.

Her most recent post “Real Estate, Everyone’s and expert” is one of the clearest perspectives I have read on the consumer psyche of buying or searching for property I have ever read. It should be mandatory reading for anyone in the real estate industry. Added to Jane’s excellent prose is over 60 comments from “people like her” that further add to the richness. I really urge everyone to read and comment.

By way of dissection, below I have distilled what I consider to be the key takeaways I see as pivotal to the process – valuable sources of focus for ambitious operators in this industry.

  1. Buying a home despite what many believe it to be is not always a rental investment property. Many people just want to satisfy their emotional desire to own a home – it is also a great form of forced savings
  2. The process of house hunting is time consuming, enormously time consuming involving – daily review of listings (I clearly need to introduce Jane to as well as Trade Me, after all does feature a more complete view of whats on the market), as well as weekend open homes
  3. The activity is very much a self managed exercise.
  4. Everyone has an opinion / piece of advice. At the end of the day the collective wisdom as represented by the comments is that you have to make that decision yourself and accept the implications.
  5. Your key partner in the process seem to be the mortgage broker rather than the real estate agent
  6. Unfortunately real estate agents tend to be seen (and demonstrate the behaviour) of being seen as purveyors of other people’s listings
  7. There are huge emotions involved in real estate process – the heartache of missing out, matched to the desire to find just the right place
  8. Home buying has a benefit in a sense of control, something that can not be attained through renting and therefore financial comparisons are not always relevant

Out of date information on web listings damages agent reputation

Posted on: January 11th, 2010 | Filed in Agent Tips, Online marketing, Other interesting reads:

iStock_000006985948Small lndscapeThe Christmas and New Year period is a time of year to relax and unwind. For the real estate industry it is the calm before the storm as January tends to be a hectic time of house hunting – certainly judging by traffic to real estate website which sees the highest level of visitors over the next few weeks.

With this backdrop it does surprise me and to be honest frustrate me that some in this industry omit to update information of their listings on the web over this critical period. Let me explain my frustration.

Just yesterday my wife and I decided that we were keen to explore the idea of a new house for this new year. Scanning the web we found some interesting properties – we narrowed it down to 2 properties. One property contained within the details on the fact that the property had an open home 1pm to 1.45pm Saturday and Sunday. So eager to enjoy a beautiful day to view a prospective property we drove round to find a deserted house – no open home, no real estate agent!

Now I know exactly why this situation arose. The house in question was listed at the end of November and on the for sale board in the street it actually said “Deadline for offers – 17 December”. So there was clearly no intention for the property to be an open home on the 10th January. But why had the website not been updated !!

But image for a minute that I was not involved in this industry – maybe I am moving to Auckland or NZ and am in the city and want to find a house – I rely on the web (why shouldn’t I, it is the most comprehensive source of property information). To me this house should have been open for viewing yesterday – or else the details on the listing should have been amended.

I should not have to rely on calling an agent or picking up a paper – the web should be and must be the most complete, accurate and up to date source of information of properties for sale – not a forgotten archive of what was listed day, weeks or months ago. Real estate is a service business and the service this agent left me experiencing was one that would not encourage me to use them in the future or to recommend them.

So a New Year wish from me to the real estate industry – please look at the web this year and from now on, as the live picture of your listings – update them, review them and in so doing help people like me who want to buy a property to use it to make my life easy.

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