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And, when homes are withdrawn or sold we will keep these in My Property under an archived section for 30 days so that you can keep up to date on what is happening to homes you were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.
The free mobile app created by Realestate.co.nz 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 Realestate.co.nz 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 Realestate.co.nz 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.
The mobile revolution is in so many ways redefining the way we go about so many aspects of our lives. For the property market it is literally turning the process of finding your next home on its head.
I was sent an example of a property over the weekend where the level of viewing on the mobile app was significantly higher than for most properties, as can be seen from the chart below.
On most days in the past month over 1 in 4 of all views were from the mobile app (green colour at the top of each daily bar), as compared to maybe 1 in 10 of all views from a mobile for most properties on the market. This certainly reinforced to me the power of the mobile device as a discovery tool for property around you.
The drive to make this assertion is based on the fact that this property was listed over 6 weeks ago and on the web the property appears around the middle of page 2 of the search results – it is actually the 31st listings in sequence of properties in Frankton, Hamilton. This position in the search results usually leads to lower daily traffic as searching tends to be to the first page of search results and to recent listings, however as can be seen there was more viewing in the last 7 days on the mobile than on the web – why?
Very simply, the app is all about discovering property for sale around you and this property was obviously viewed by people in the neighbourhood looking for property to buy. That is why I say that the mobile app is turning property searching on its head. Whereas the web (much like the old newspaper classifieds) was all about top of page results, the mobile environment is all about context – what’s relevant to where I am right now.
As a point of note and to further validate this assertion I had a look at a couple of other similar properties on the market in the same suburb, the stats for their viewings are shown below:
Certainly looks like there are some very active users of the app seeking property to buy in the Frankton area of Hamilton at the moment – they can be easily seen walking the streets, smartphone in hand highly attentive to NZ’s favourite property app!
A much requested feature has just been added to the mobile app – a flag to highlight the latest listings.
Every time you investigate property for sale or rent around you, you will see a Red Flag to highlight the latest listings. These flagged properties are listings that have come onto the market in the past 7 days.
In addition you can now “Refine” your search to set a parameter to just properties listed in the past few days or past week. Thereby ensuring that you can focus on recently listed properties.
We have also detailed on all listings on the app the listed date for the property – a useful insight to the status of listings.
So take the time to update your version of the app and start discovering those latest listings before other catch up to this great new feature.
We certainly appreciate the feedback on this feature and welcome other ideas if you have any you would like to share with us.
Mobile is in my view a key part of the future of real estate marketing. Already in NZ our mobile visitors represent over 1 in 5 of our monthly traffic with people accessing information on smartphones and iPads via the web and through NZ’s Favourite Property app.
Given the scale of usage it was natural for us to highlight the mobile usage on the stats that we showcase for every listing on the website – in case you did not already know how, just click the link under the listing number which counts the number of views.
Each day we now report the total for web viewings in blue and the viewing on the mobile app platform for Android and iPhone in green as shown below.
It seems that there’s really only one smart way to search for property in 2012 – that’s on a mobile device. Over the past week the usage of mobile devices to access real estate listing content blew through yet another new record.
A staggering 1 in 5 of property hunters used a mobile device to find property information – 22% of all views of listings on realestate.co.nz were undertaken on the go, from a mobile device. That’s a massive increase from just 8% a year ago.
Even more impressive is the fact that mobile users engage with the mobile app far more than the website – it is turning out to be very “sticky” – the average visitor using the app views 37 pages per visit as compared to just 11 on the website. People clearly recognise the real value of having real data in the palm of their hand.
The key fact to bear in mind when it comes to mobile, is that users on the mobile platform are by-and-large more likely to be seriously active property seekers. The mobile is not a “lean back experience” as the web can be with super-glossy wide screen images, the mobile is about information. Location details, listing details, great photos and easy contact to the agent by phone, email or text.
Choice of mobile device
When it comes to the choice of device the most popular was the iPad – it represented nearly half of all mobile usage in March. On the iPad the app though only represented 20% of users with the other 80% of users choosing to view the website on the device. The iPhone represented 40% of all mobile users in the month with a 60/40 split between the app and the web. Android came in 3rd with 14% of all mobile users, although it is fast catching up ground, with a 6 fold increase in the past year; its usage is evenly split between app and the web.
There are some interesting insights of mobile usage which surprise some people. Mobile usage is not restricted to just the main cities and large towns, in an average month, every single listings we have in the database with an address is viewed at least once. That shows the mobile app is used right around the country when discovering property around you for sale or rent from Kaitia to the Bluff!
NZ’s favourite real estate app
The app is clearly NZ’s favourite real estate app, blasting through 70,000th downloads and only growing faster by the day – an average week sees around 1,200 downloads, in the 4 days over Easter we saw over 1,600 downloads; taking us ever closer to 100,000 downloads in the next few months.
In the month of March over 85,000 visitors opened up the app to discover property for rent and for sale right around them, letting them make better house hunting decisions whilst out-and-about.
To further accelerate this rate of download and usage we are delighted to have our partner Westpac undertake another extensive advertising campaign on bus shelters and on TV. Our partnership with Westpac is mutually beneficial adding value to Westpac customers to help them in the home buying process by showing them a smart way to house hunt on the go with the app, as well as info on local branches, ATM’s and also contact details for their Mobile Mortgage Managers.
It is always useful to compare NZ uptake and usage of real estate mobile with key developed markets such as UK, Australia and the US.
The data for the UK is not the most recent; the leading website for real estate in the UK is Rightmove, back in August last year they reported in their half year report that 14% of access to listing was via the mobile, I am sure that has grown significantly since then.
In the US the leading website of Zillow was a very early innovator of the mobile platform, starting with an iPhone app in 2009 and now having an app for all platforms (inc Windows and Blackberry) – they report usage on mobile being 24% of all access to listings. In their Q4 financial report for 2011 they reported also that property was viewed on the mobile devices at the rate of 53 houses per second (3,180 per minute) in January. Now that is a stunning stat. For us in NZ we are currently seeing a rate of 24 houses viewed per minute. Allowing for the fact that the US population is 71 times that of NZ means that we are seeing activity at about half the rate of the US.
So as ever the rate of development overseas shows us how the the future is likely to look; and it looks like we will continue to see exponential growth in mobile usage across the various mobile devices, with NZ’s favourite real estate app only continuing to grow faster in usage and engagement.
It was just over a year ago when we launched the iPhone app – the first in NZ and the only app with GPS location based property search. A year later and we continue to be surprised and delighted by the uptake and usage which now approaches 14% of all visitor traffic to our listings from the mobile platform.
The appeal of this method of property discovery has been turbocharged in the past couple of months as the summer peak property season has arrived. The month of October saw the highest ever level of downloads with over 6,000 in the month, greatly assisted by the new Android version of the app (another first) in late September. The level of downloads continues with over 200 new downloads per day providing the users with the experience of discovering the convenience and addictive appeal of this app.
Not only are people downloading the app in ever increasing numbers but they are engaging with it more often. Over 2,000 visitors a day check out property for sale and rent whilst on the go – at the cafe, in front of the TV, at open homes.
The app is so comprehensive and so appealing. With the largest selection of listings by licensed agents, usage appeals to the serious property hunter keen to be better informed and in control of the property searching process. Over 90% of users are returning users and unlike the web which is very heavily focused to casual image based browsing the mobile app is all about property information and insight in the palm of your hand.
We have been interested to see just how keen kiwi’s are relative to other countries in regard to uptake and usage of property apps on the the smartphone. Instead of comparing downloads by country (which is tricky as not many other websites publish their data) we chose to use the ranking of the various apps in their respective iTunes app store. Clearly this just seeks to identify the iPhone platform, but this has been the consistent largest platform across all international markets for property apps.
We chose six countries to compare against NZ from Australia and the US / Canada as well as Europe. What we found was very interesting. The Realestate.co.nz property app is the 16th most popular free lifestyle app in NZ, and the 209th most popular free app. Out of interest if you exclude the free “gaming” apps from the rankings the Realestate.co.nz property app jumps up to be the 41st most popular free iPhone app in NZ.
By comparison to NZ; Sweden appears to have the most popular iPhone property app from Hemnet coming in as the 8th most popular free lifestyle app in Sweden, and the 104th most popular free app overall.
Next comes Australia where the Realestate.com.au app comes in as the 11th most popular free lifestyle app and the 127th most popular free app. That then places NZ in third slot amongst these 7 countries. Next comes Canada almost equal to NZ with their Realtor app ranked as the 16th most popular free lifestyle apps and 239th place overall for free apps in Canada. After these four come the the French app from Seloger, the US app from Zillow, and the UK app from Rightmove.
The success of the Realestate.co.nz app for the iPhone has transformed the NZ real estate search experience. Every day thousands of eager property seekers fire up the iPhone app to checkout what property is for sale or rent right around where they are at that time. It’s the only property app in NZ for a smartphone that utilises the GPS capability to help you discover your favourite new home, from the most comprehensive database of listings for properties on the market.
All of these benefits has made the Realestate.co.nz app for the iPhone the mobile app of choice and is why over 40,000 downloads have been made through the iTunes app store in the past 11 months – with still over 100 new downloads every day.
The iPhone is unquestionably an innovative and highly appealing device, but globally the Android operating system is proving the leader with over 500,000 activations a day globally. In NZ the Android platform offers a wide range of smartphone options and this why it is so important for all these Android smartphone owners to have a mobile app for house hunting. To meet this need Realestate.co.nz is delighted to release an Android app to complement the iPhone app .
The functionality is very similar – again offering the only GPS enabled property search app in NZ for the comprehensive selection of property on the market. The app for both iPhone and Android draws on the enormous property database of Realestate.co.nz hosting as it does over 95% of all listed properties by licensed real estate agents.
The Android app is free and can be downloaded through the Android marketplace. Simple and easy to use and sure to swell the numbers of property seekers turning to their smartphone as well as their web browser to search for their next home.
Homebuyers who search for property online are also turning to their mobile devices to locate properties for sale. This fact has been presented in the latest survey undertaken by Nielsen in the annual Nielsen Real Estate Market report.
As would be expected, the survey continues to show the trend of online being the most preferred and useful source of real estate information – over 95% of those surveyed stated that online was “useful or very useful”- this as compared to newspapers which dropping down from 42% to just 38% (compare this to earlier reports when more than half of respondents stated that newspapers were a useful or very useful source of property information).
The key insight though came when the survey respondents who had an internet enabled phone were asked if they had ever accessed a real estate website on the device? – 32% stated they had. This is significant as whilst there are dedicated real estate apps for the iPhone (the realestate.co.nz app) there are no mobile website versions of any NZ real estate website. People are clearly showing that they are keen to use their phone to access property information when they are out and about.
The report also discovered that real estate researchers online were much more likely than the national population to own an internet-enabled phone or device, with 48% compared to 34% of the population overall (Nielsen Consumer and Media Insights, Q2 2010 – Q1 2011).
What is significant is understanding the behaviour of accessing real estate information on a mobile device as compared to a laptop or desktop. Computers on your desk or on your lap are excellent for the “lean back” character of browsing property listings via ever more extensive galleries of high quality images. This is why real estate websites collectively attract a daily audience of over 134,000 unique browsers per day when only around 180 homes are sold each day in NZ.
Compare this with the behaviour of mobile users – they want and need information that is contextual to their location right now – what’s for sale around me? / what’s for rent here now? / When is the open home for that property 2 blocks down? / I need to contact the agent selling that home! / I want to look at the aerial image for this street to see what the backgarden looks like… and so on. People on mobiles accessing property information are not casually browsing, they are committed, active, passionate property searchers.
Back to the survey, other illuminating information provides some great insight into these mobile users.
Globally the Android platform for smartphones is now the #1 market leader with a 48% market share according to Canalys report of August 1st, additionally the platform dominates in 35 of the 56 countries surveyed. In NZ however whilst no published data is available industry opinion (web search analysis) would have the iPhone with a leadership of installed users with a ratio of close to 3 to 1 – far different to the US.
It is therefore very interesting to see from the Nielsen survey that 40% of those surveyed whilst searching for property online who had a smartphone claimed to have an Android device compared to 35% with an iPhone or iPad. This result surprised us and provided the impetus we needed to get an Android version of the Realestate.co.nz app (please be patient it is in development!).
Given the scale of adoption of the Realestate.co.nz iPhone app (over 35,000 downloads since launch in Nov last year) we were keen in the survey to see firstly how many mobile device owners had downloaded and used an app and also which app they had chosen to use.
The survey showed that of the 586 respondents that had a mobile internet enabled device 7% had downloaded an app and used that application to search for property / discover property. In terms of popularity – the clear winner is the Realestate.co.nz iPhone app – 49% people spontaneously identified that as their tools for property search.
The Nielsen Real Estate Market Report is based on a site-intercept survey on New Zealand real estate web sites conducted during May to June 2011 with a sample size of 1,219 respondents and a margin of error of 2.86 percent.
Close to half of all agents polled in a recent survey said that they owned a smartphone with nearly 7 out of 10 of the remainder indicating that they would be acquiring one within the next year. These findings were part of a recent survey undertaken in partnership with 2degrees mobile amongst the real estate agents using Realestate.co.nz.
The survey was undertaken online with 216 completed surveys giving a margin of error of 4.2%.
Real estate agents were early adopters of mobile phones back in the 80’s and 90’s as their work environment certainly had them out and about more than many other professions. This adoption has continued with a clear imperative for all agents to have a mobile. The most active use of their mobile phone is to voice calls (40%) followed by texting (32%). It is interesting to note the preference of texting to handling emails on the mobile phone – just 13% indicating that they used their phone for this purpose.
At present the iPhone is the most popular type of smart phone for real estate agents with 24% of all those agents surveyed indicating that they owned the iPhone. Certainly the success of the Realestate.co.nz iPhone app would indicate the appeal of this smartphone to ensure that agents were able to be able to access the most comprehensive selection of property on the market. The adoption of Android at 17%; or put another way there is an Android user for ever 3 iPhone users, is higher than would be seen in the general population, and this signals a significant opportunity to ensure there is a Realestate.co.nz app for Android sometime soon.
As to the 54% of agents that do not as yet have a smartphone the message is clear that they will soon – 69% saying that they expect to buy one in the next 12 months with 40% indicating a purchase in the next 6 months. It would appear to be clear from these stats that a smartphone is now close to being by the end of this year a significant “must have” tool for all agents.
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