The Unconditional Blog

The impartial voice of the industry


Archive for the ‘Website news’ Category


Foreign buyers clearly recognise the leading website for NZ property

Posted on: January 12th, 2009 | Filed in Online marketing, Website news, Website searching

The online landscape for New Zealand property has radically changed in the space of a month with now firmly established as the most popular and most comprehensive website for overseas buyers.

With the closure of allrealestate effective 1st December and all referrals re-directed to the outcome was fairly certain – the scale of the visitors viewing NZ property from overseas was surprising. December is normally a much quieter month as people interest tends to turn towards holidays, families and Christmas.

International web traffic - NZ real estate Dec 08

A total of just under 113,000 unique visitor checked out properties on during the past month – some 80% more than the #2 site of Trade me property.

Source of international web traffic Dec 08The largest representation of visitors from among the 113,000 was from Australia closely followed by the UK and the USA, overall some 235 countries visited the website in the month. In total over 2.7 million pages were viewed by foreign visitors in the month across the 114,000 listings on the site.

4 now judged to be – “The place to be”!

Posted on: December 5th, 2008 | Filed in Website news

A little shameless self promotion surely hurt no one!

That is why I could not help but highlight this article posted on a new global real estate marketing services website (Property Ad Guru) started by the former CEO of the REA Group – Simon Baker. The article provides his perspective of the recent restructure of the online real estate market in the NZ which saw the exit of on the 30 November and the re-direct of traffic to from the 1st December.

The consolidation in the market in his view and as expressed in the announcement post on this blog will be a great benefit for the consumer and the industry – this is beginning to be seen by the results of just the first few days since this change occurred on Monday of this week.

Set against what is traditionally a quieter period heading into Christmas (week on week decline averaging 4%) the traffic to over just the first 4 days has exceeded 87,000 unique visitors up 5% as compared to the combined traffic of the 2 separate websites this time last week, and representing a whopping 34% increase over last week’s traffic to just This is clearly a case of the merger adding value – rather than destroying value!

So not only is the closure of allrealestate adding redirect traffic to this website; the exposure of to a wider and wider audience is building an ever greater audience base – a base which in the view of Simon Baker could exceed 400,000 unique browsers per month boosting leads to agents by 30% to 50% – with no additional cost to the agents.


A new phase for – a major opportunity for real estate

Posted on: November 15th, 2008 | Filed in Website news

The announcement of the decision by the REA Group in Australia to shutter their NZ website and direct traffic to this website represents a major success for and a major opportunity for the real estate industry. launched in NZ in October 2005 – just at the time that the market was really beginning to open up with the web searching being the most efficient means to access content. Their early success leveraged their international traffic partnership with the Australian site of and coupled with a significant marketing campaign. Their traffic grew as sighted in the graph below through 2006 until with the re-launch, re-branding and re-platforming of their traffic began to suffer towards the end of 2006. The key issue was content – fighting against the comprehensive industry support of and the enormous pulling power of trade me – their appeal to the consumer began to falter and through 2008 the margin to has widened.

The benefits of this move will apply across the board to both consumers and real estate professionals:


The key to the web is comprehensive content – people searching for a place to rent or a home to buy, ideally want to find one website that showcases every offering on the market, that way their selection is made with complete information. Now whilst is the most comprehensive real estate website in NZ it does not feature all listings. The fact is that with a competitor like actively selling their service out around real estate offices offering subscriptions deals, some offices decided that their offering was better resulting in split content across the sites (and other websites).

Now with the exit of we can actively convince the remaining offices who did not choose to subscribe to to come across and fill the gaps and make this website the true comprehensive portal for all the real estate listings in the NZ – perfect for the consumer whether they be buyers, sellers, renters, investors, landlords or businesses.

The real estate industry

This move is great news for the real estate industry. With less confusion as to which website to promote their listings on, the industry can rely on to actively grow the consumer reach and usage of the website to ensure that their client listings achieve optimal marketing. Not only that, the industry can save the costs of an alternative media option and at the same time support an industry owned site which every agency has a vested interest in through the 50% ownership held by the Real Estate Institute (REINZ).

Having an industry owned site grow even stronger with this move will ensure that the alternative media competitor of Fairfax owned Trade me will be required to be more circumspect about price increases as now more than ever provides a more effective price competitive option. Currently the subscription costs of the 2 sites shows the profit ambitions of Trade me. A single office subscribing for all property and rental listings pays $699 per month to Trade me, by comparison the same office can secure the same service for $200 per month from – with the added confidence that the subscription is invested in the site operation, development and marketing – and not for dividends to Australian shareholders.

This is a fantastic opportunity for this industry and this website – it is a new phase – one that holds the tempting opportunity for to cement its role as the most valauble real estate website in NZ.

8 and form an alliance

Posted on: November 14th, 2008 | Filed in Website news

Two of the leading real estate websites in NZ have today announced that they will form an alliance that will see the website owned by the REA Group in Australia cease to operate the website with effect from 1st December 2008 and all traffic will then be directed from that domain and all NZ links for residential listings from the family of REA worldwide websites to

Clearly this is fantastic news for the company Ltd, the real estate industry and the consumer all of whom are keen to more efficiently search for NZ real estate.

The official press release details the facts:

The REA Group and Ltd Form Alliance in New Zealand

The REA Group and Ltd have formed an alliance . Under the terms of the alliance, the REA Group will close its residential portal ( on 30 November 2008 and direct its traffic to

The alliance gives access to the more than 9.7 million unique browsers a month*-including more than 4 million in Australia alone-who use the REA Group’s international network of real estate websites. These browsers will be able to access from a tab on the home page of every REA Group portal and from the map of New Zealand on the REA Group websites.

Alistair Helm, CEO of, said:

“This alliance is great news for New Zealand’s real estate agents and consumers; because together with the REA Group we can run a much stronger real estate web portal than if we continued to compete as with two separate portals. We believe this will mean a more efficient and cost competitive solution for the real estate industry as compared to all other media options.”

Shaun Di Gregorio, General Manager–Emerging Business Group, of the REA Group, said:

“We expect our alliance with the Institute will better serve the country’s real estate agents and consumers-and buyers overseas who are interested in New Zealand property. We have decided that in the long term it doesn’t make business sense for us to operate our own residential real estate site in the country.”

The REA Group will continue to operate unchanged its New Zealand commercial real estate portal,

About the Ltd is a Joint venture company owned in equal shares by The Real Estate Institute of New Zealand (REINZ) and Property Page (NZ) Ltd, a company owned by 6 of the largest real estate companies. The website is the most comprehensive website for real estate in NZ with over 112,000 listings, attracting over 90% of all licensed real estate offices to utilise the website which reaches an audience of over 260,000 unique browsers per month.**

About the REA Group
The REA Group, headquartered in Melbourne, operates Australia’s most popular real estate websites. In total, it publishes 22 websites and eight print publications in 10 countries. The REA Group had revenues of AUD$156m in FY 2008, has more than 9.7 million unique visitors each month* and is profitable. As a listed company on the Australian Securities Exchange (REA), Ltd operates as an independent entity.

* Source: Nielsen//NetRatings, Omniture, Google Analytics
** Source: Nielsen Online

This is a marketing alliance and does not represent any change to the ownership, operating principles or the website of


2 years of rich and valuable information

Posted on: September 8th, 2008 | Filed in Website news

The website of has recently celebrated its 2nd birthday – during this past 2 years the website has firmly established itself as the most comprehensive source of real estate listings in NZ. Currently the site hosts over 105,000 listings, some 20,000 more than any other similar website.

The website grew from the ashes of RealENZ, a website originally set up by the Real Estate Institute in the early 90’s – at the time an innovative and far sighted decision, however as time moved on and the web exploded, the capabilities of running a property portal website far outstripped the focus and resources of REINZ. It was for this reason that was borne as a separate company – chartered to act as an independent commercial operation to attain a strong position in the online real estate market and secure for its customers (the professional real estate industry) a protection against the aggressive pure profit motives of media owned competitor websites. is now the clear No.2 in the market behind Trade Me in terms of traffic of visitor, but still holds the coveted No.1 spot for content. It is further interesting to note that is (I believe – and I have researched this) the only industry owned website that holds a top position anywhere in the world.

Coupled with this rich content and largely as a result of it, the site has steadily and consistently grown traffic – up over 80% as compared to 2 years ago – far outstripping the growth of the market,

Overall traffic now exceeds 275,000 unique browsers per month, within this total are around 95,000 unique visitor from outside NZ using the website more and more to review the property market as returning ex-pat kiwis, new immigrants and overseas investors. The website is simply the more valuable answer to every question about real estate in New Zealand!

Allied to the enormous reach and appeal of the website is the fact that with such a deep and comprehensive database lies a rich history of information and statistics which I intend to present in the coming months. For whereas historical property sales data looks back to activity in the market up to 3 months in the past, the website traffic and enquiry level to agents tends to be a key “lead-indicator” looking to the prospects of future sales in the next 2 months. In addition the website can drill down to look at what people are looking at and where they are looking from. It is the power of the web that provides this rich repository of information; it is our role in running the website to make sense of this mass of information.

I propose to present and analyse regional as well as national statistics which I hope will be of value to all people interested in property for personal or business reasons.


Real Estate Connect SF 2008

Posted on: July 22nd, 2008 | Filed in Website news

I’ve come up here to San Francisco to attend the Real Estate Connect conference over the next few days. This will be the 3rd Connect I have attended and I can safety say that the experience at each of the past 2 has been “life-changing” – that is in the context of my “life” at

Connect is organised by Inman News and follows a format of maximum content and interaction with minimum “fluff” – there are no sponsored dinners or enormous exhibition areas. If you want to eat or have a coffee, you have about 3 minutes between the hour long sessions scattered among the 3 days of the event (which by the way start at 8 and finish at 5). Like a smörgåsbord of interesting topics, you choose the ones that interest you and then try and sequence the day to maximise content and networking.

As the week progresses I intend to share the insight and future development from the conference to try and cast a visionary eye over what I may borrow / steal / acquire to bring back to NZ and seek to deliver with the intent of adding value to both the website and the market of online real estate in NZ.

The conference here in SF last year was the pivotal event for showcasing the power of social networking within the real estate community and lead to the implementation of this blog as well as the Voices blogging platform for agents. Attendees at the conference come from all over the US and the world and represent the leading operators of online services for the industry as well as forward looking agents who actively embrace the technological transformation of the industry.

Watch this space for insight and opinion!


NZ visit this week by leading real estate visionary

Posted on: July 14th, 2008 | Filed in Website news

This week at the invitation of Stefan Swanepoel will visit NZ.

Stafan SwanepoelStefan is widely regarded as a leading visionary within the global real estate market with many books and hundreds of speaking engagements to his name. His most acclaimed role is as the author of the annual “Real Estate Trends” report. This comprehensive and throught provoking book is published at the start of each year defining the 10 major emerging trends for real estate professionals for the forthcoming 12 months.

This year’s reports singles out what Stefan calls “Two worlds; one industry” – The evolution of online communities and networks, as the # 1 trend for 2008.

This trend defines the way the web in our daily lives and in real estate has begun to transform business and industries, what is key is understanding the evolution of the web from browsing to searching to sharing. The concept of web 2.0 is something that has been much discussed and debated with the implementation of social media, in many ways social media is fundamental to the future of real estate marketing.

The trend is towards blogs as the platform for real estate agents to profile themselves – to demonstrate their “subject matter expertise” as well as creating meaningful dialogues with past, present and future clients. On we have provided the Voices blog platform to enable any agent to create a blog – to enable them to embrace this trend and demonstrate to a global audience as well as to their clients down the road their skills, knowledge, expertise and passion for their chosen career.

Real estate Trends - Consumer reportIn addition to the comprehensive full report, Stefan provides a free summary document which is targeted to home buyer and sellers – the 10 page summary report is available from Stefan’s website, seek out the link at the foot of the page (registration is required – simple email and name).

The visit this week is only the second time Stefan has been to NZ – he will be speaking at 2 events to an invited audience of real estate and business leaders in Auckland on Thursday and Friday.

I will take the opportunity to post a summary blog post at the end of the week providing Stefan’s views and opinions on the NZ real estate market. If there is any question you would like me to put to Stefan please post it as a comment below.


100th post for Unconditional

Posted on: July 13th, 2008 | Filed in Website news

It’s almost 8 months to the day that the first post on Unconditional was penned. Looking back it was a step into the unknown in someways. This is post #100 and it is worth reflecting on these past 8 months.

Prompted by the experiences witnessed at the Real Estate Connect conference held in San Francisco in July last year which showed the emergence and power of blogging within the real estate industry in the US, I returned from the conference confident that we could lead the NZ industry in the adoption of blogging and through this medium establish a broader channel of communication and thereby hopefully contribute to an enhanced profile for real estate in NZ.

The principle of blogging is founded around transparency, honesty and openness – qualities which seldom spontaneously spring to mind in the context of real estate and that is why blogging can and is now beginning to give a genuine voice to the career-minded real estate professionals, and start to right some of these long held attitudes.

In 8 months the Unconditional blog has garnered a broad audience which now comprises around 400 unique daily visitors, in June the total number of visitors exceeded 7,000; a number which has grown steadily from small beginnings at the start of the year. Participation in the conversations prompted by this blog is the key to the value of the blog and I am pleased and appreciative of the contribution from all of those that have posted – a total of 1,600 comments have been made to the 100 posts. As an indication of the topics that have captured the interest of the audience this is the top 10 posts based on the number of comments made:

  1. NZ’s Property slump – compelling facts cannot be ignored – posted in March with 40 comments
  2. Media seriously impacts the psyche of NZ’ers when it comes to property – posted in May with 39 comments
  3. Is NZ facing an impending property crash? – posted in February with 35 comments
  4. NZ Property slump is mirrored around the world – posted in May with 29 comments
  5. Will 2008 see house prices rise or fall? – posted in February with 22 comments
  6. NZ property market may well see a brighter outlook sooner – posted April with 20 comments
  7. Will we see property prices rise before 2018? – posted in March with 20 comments
  8. Newspapers and real estate – a match made in heaven; now beginning to show signs of disaffection – posted in July with 19 comments
  9. Auckland property market potentially showing signs of stability – posted in July with 16 comments
  10. Barfoot & Thompson sales figures for April reinforce the trend – posted in May with 15 comments

It is pretty clear that discussions around the future state of property sales and prices have naturally
captured the discussions. All discussions I am pleased to say have been professional, respectful of others and valuable. My role I feel is to prompt the discussion around topics and issues that are valuable to highlight and in doing so allow others to contribute.

I have enjoyed enormously writing every one of these 100 and I look forward to writing the next one just as a much as the last. There are times when the brain dries up, but with real estate that momentary lapse of creative inspiration is soon swamped with new ideas and topics – that is the nature of real estate, it affects so many of our lives and is such a great conversation piece.

Thanks to all of those who have followed this blog from the start and to those who may be finding this for the first time – please stay with us and join the conversation.

Alistair Helm

CEO and passionate blogger of Unconditional!


Google maps add terrain details to enhance property mapping on the website

Posted on: June 20th, 2008 | Filed in Online marketing, Website news

One day in the near future – in theory at least, you will be able to do a virtual fly around a property that you are interested in buying – all aided with the benefits of tiny helicopter. This will show you all of the property and the surrounding properties and landscapes! However until that time comes we must press on with what is becoming an every richer portfolio of information helping to provide context to property listings on the website.

As has been detailed recently we provide rich Open2view photographic portfolios on properties which include dynamic floor plans and virtual tours. We also have added embedded videos – all of these enhancements are designed to enable you to gain a greater understanding of properties from the comfort of your armchair.

Thanks to the technical competency of Google and their mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful, we are now able to provide you richer mapping information on every property on the website for which we have an address provided by the listings agent. (As an aside we only show maps for properties for which the agent marketing the property has told us we have the right to display the address. If your property is not shown with a map it is necessary for you to instruct the agent to notify us to show the address – from our research maps are a highly valued aspect of a listing for a property for sale).

This new information is topography – terrain information provided by Google – maps with the contour lines showing you clearly the hills, mountains and valleys of the area around the property. So now for every property with a map you can see the satellite image, the 2 dimensional road map and now the terrain perspective – all adding up to a more complete perspective on a property as this beautiful property of a winter wonderland just north of Queenstown in the valley looking towards the Coronet Peak snow field clearly shows. The difference in having a terrain map is invaluable in enabling a more complete picture of the landscape surrounding the property.


Need assistance promoting your property for sale?

Posted on: June 17th, 2008 | Filed in Online marketing, Website news

As is fairly self evident these days that the real estate market is not looking too bright. As to it being a crash, a slump or a correction – that is a matter of debate. What is undeniable is that it is a challenge to try and sell a property in today’s market, especially as you are competing with over 80,000 homes for sale.

As recommended back in February if you are thinking of putting your house on the market – don’t be afraid of being a tall poppy! – the message being, you have to find ways of ensuring that your property stands out from the rest of the crowd – the crowd that is actively trying to grab the attention of prospective buyers.

In times-gone-by the best approach was to purchase a full page advert in the newspaper or Property Press, or undertake through your agent a letter box drop. Well naturally with the sophistication of the web things have moved on and the solution today is in featured listings – you go to any retail based website and you will see the “featured product” of the day or the “home page featured product” – well at it is no different – we have the equivalent – Featured Listings.

These select few listings get premium exposure on key parts of the site and are effectively become billboards on the search process – enabling your property to be seen by a wider and larger audience than would be the case with a standard listing.

Just 3 properties are featured exclusively per suburb, these properties are also featured on broader searches of the relevant region of the country. To add that complete component of premium exposure the listing is featured in rotation as one of 6 images on the home page of the website.

Featured property listing on of the compelling components of web marketing is the fact that for every action you can accurately track activity in the form of viewings. Compare that to a single page in the weekly property publications – can anyone accurately say how many people looked at it or actually did anything? With a web listing every time the property is viewed it is recorded, anytime an email is sent it is recorded or if the viewer goes to the agent website to see more details – all recorded.

In terms of performance of a featured listing the figures are undeniable – on average a featured listing is viewed over 2,000 times in a 2 week period – that’s compared to non-featured properties receiving on average about 80 viewings for the same period.

featured listings performance on see the performance of any one of these featured listings just click any of the properties on the home page and then look to see the viewing stats by day – as the example here shows the impact of promoting a listing to become a featured listing turbo charges its views.

If you want to give your property listing that kind of premium exposure then talk to your listing agent, the cost is $795 for 14 days – 24hrs per day. Or if you want our help email us or call our customer support center. Go on give it a go – your property deserves the best marketing – online.

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