We recently undertook a survey amongst our email subscriber database. What prompted this was a desire to learn more about the make up of this group of avid users of the site to see how we might improve the service we offer on Realestate.co.nz to buyers, sellers, investors, tenants and any other form of property hunting fanatic!
What we have discovered is very interesting and certainly worthy of sharing. If you participated in the survey; we really appreciate you taking the time to complete the survey and we hope with your help to repeat it again on maybe a quarterly basis as the data is valuable, and to see trends over time for some of the finding will be useful.
To start with we had 398 people complete the survey – a significant number and certainly large enough for the data to be representative of people in the market for property (we are not statisticians nor a research company so we are not trying to make any comment as to statistical margin of error etc).
The first question we asked was as to the status of the respondents.
The largest group (40%) are looking to buy property – this made up of 7% as first time buyers and 32% as general buyers. A fifth of respondents describe themselves as a landlord, with a further 7% saying that they are (or are looking to be) an investor.
We then went on to ask the prospective buyers amongst the respondents when specifically they were looking to buy?
Not surprising was the fact that just under a third were looking to buy (we assume this is intent to be buying / searching actively as opposed to completing the purchase) in the next month. In total it would appear that over 60% of buyers are looking to be buying in the next 6 months in total, this would be expected as subscribers to the email are actively keeping tabs on the property market and receiving daily email alerts of new properties. We will be keen to ask this question again in the future to see how trends change over time by factor of market conditions and seasonality.
Additionally of interest is the fact that 11% are showing a reluctance to buy as they are waiting until the market improves.
Tenants – looking to buy
We also asked the same question of current tenants who expressed an intent to buy a property in the future. Their response was somewhat difference due to their circumstances.
Clearly the key issue for this group of respondents is the need to save for a deposit; a third of the respondents saw this as the key step to buying. Of the remainder 18% said they were looking to buy in the next 6 month, far less than active buyers, but interestingly a lower percentage (8%) felt that they would leave it until the market improves.
Type of property to buy
Going back to the group who are thinking of buying a property we asked them what type of property they were considering buying.
The majority of people (53%) looking to buy were interested in a property that would need a bit of work to be done – clearly the kiwi DIY mindset is still alive and well as people as still keen to add value to properties. This compared to just under a third who really wanted somewhere where the renovations had been completed and the property was ready to move in straight away.
Moving from buyers to sellers we wanted to find out when those people who considered themselves sellers were looking to sell. The vast majority (83%) were looking to sell in the next 6 month, with 4 out of 10 thinking of selling in the next month, or at least putting their property on the market.
How would you sell?
We then posed an interesting question to those looking to sell. We asked them how they were looking to sell their property. Would they use a licensed agent, try and sell it themselves or might they give private selling a go, but more than likely end up using a licensed real estate agent. Having collated the results of this question we compared these with the recent Nielsen online real estate market survey asking the same question.
These results are very interesting. From both surveys the majority of respondents were likely to use a licensed agents, the sample respondents from the Realestate.co.nz email group were slightly more likely than the broader Nielsen market survey.
When it comes to selling privately the difference were significantly different, just 5% of the respondents to the Realestate.co.nz survey indicated that they would try and sell privately as against 11% for the broader Nielsen survey. Of note is the fact that the Nielsen survey was based on questionaires posted on both Trade Me and Realestate.co.nz and this is clearly showing that greater interest in private sales from Trade Me respondents to the Nielsen survey.
The final set of questions we asked related to investment property. We asked those who described themselves as a landlord or investor how many properties they owned.
70% of those respondents who identified themselves as a landlord or investor had more than 2 properties with 14% having more than 5 properties. Clearly the Realestate.co.nz website is a core resource for investors looking to enhance their property portfolio.
Of these landlord we then asked if they used a Property Manager to manage their property / properties – or if they did themselves. Fully two thirds said that they managed their investment properties themselves with just one third using a professional property manager.
Probing a bit deeper we then asked them why they chose not to use a Property Manager.
Some useful insight here to assist the Property Management companies in providing support for this important sector of the property market.