The Unconditional Blog

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Archive for the ‘Website searching’ Category

4

The wish list of property seekers

Posted on: April 28th, 2011 | Filed in Buying / Selling a home, Featured, Home features, Website searching

This week we have been extending the testing of our new beta site for Realestate.co.nz. In opening up access to a wider audience we have encouraged people to share with us the things they like about the new site, as well as those areas where we could do better!

Such an exercise is tremendous in opening up a dialogue with our users. To date we have received 116 emails. Reviewing and replying to them has been an enlightening and enjoyable experience as I have certainly gleaned a great insight into not only how they feel about the site, but also the things that as active users of our site they would love to see us do more of.

Overall we seem to have developed a site design and functionality that judged on this sample group is a positive step forward.

As well as functional feedback it is really interesting to hear of the things that people most want to be able to find on a website. Taking a simple poll of these comments I have tabulated the top 5 things people would most like to see on a real estate site.

Map based search

This is by far and away the greatest demand from our users and thankfully this is something that the new site delivers to the massive satisfaction of this audience.

Many have commented as to the excellent value and experience of the iPhone app that we launched at the end of last year (now exceeding 24,000 downloads to date and growing!). That user experience seems to so many people so intuitive that we had to bring it to the web.

A comment made by all the people was the extent to which they were surprised and disappointed that Google had ceased to offer this service. Now we can step in to fill this void and provide a vital way of display property for sale as seen from an aerial view perspective. Or as one email commented – “show the properties exactly where they are, rather than where the agent would like to have us think they are!”

CV

It is clear that richer data is expected by users of real estate website and the data that most frustrates them is the access to the CV or rating valuation. This is seen as a “must have” and as many quote – the data is accessible from most council websites.

The fact is we would love to add this key fact to listings on the website, however whereas a single query can provide the CV for a single property for free via a council website, to enable us to provide this for all properties requires access to a database for all properties. This is a service for which we would have to pay a significant license fee to local authorities or to QV who acting for these councils undertakes to provide the data.

Definitive price

This response (can we please have a price on every listings) is not news to us. Ever since we started the website in 2006 we have had constant comments and questions as to why we cannot get or encourage agents to provide a price on every property. Users of the site are vocal in their view that a price or a price guide would vastly improve the user experience. Many go as far to state that they completely ignore properties for which there is no displayed price – arguing that they have no confidence that the appearance of a property in the search results may not be a true reflection of the expected price.

We do share with these people that the listings we receive must be provided with either a display price, a search range or more common these days a non-display search price. We need to ensure that property listings for a filtered search price genuinely reflect the true range of the property for sale.

Land and building size

People generally believe that the size of a section or the size of the property should be as standard a set of data as the number of bedrooms or ensuites. It is hard to argue with this assertion as all properties have a legal title that defines the section size. As to building size this is certainly less easily available. To assist in this area we do integrate listings with property database of Zoodle which often provides section and building size. Where we can (accurate addressing of the property) we link directly from Realestate.co.nz to Zoodle.

Representative images

Interestingly a few comments were made as to the “authenticity” of some property images. The perspective was that photographers had been known to use certain types of lens to be – how it might be called “more generous” with the size of rooms when taking pictures.

Whilst we do not actively get involved in the production of photos (we simply display those images we are given) we are always delighted to see the general trend to have more photos, better quality photos and bigger photos. It is funny to think back 5 years ago when we started the website the average listing had just 4 photos and the size was tiny. Today the average has shot up to 16 and the size grown significantly.

8

Google exits map based property search service

Posted on: January 28th, 2011 | Filed in Featured, mobile, Technology, Website searching

google map search for real estate - Google SearchGoogle announced yesterday that it was ceasing the operation of its map based real estate search service. This service was introduced back in July 2009 as a complementary enhancement to their standard text search whereby listings for property for sale or rent were mapped based on addresses, supplied with listings by real estate agents and real estate websites (Realestate.co.nz fed content to Google for this service).

This is a significant decision by the world’s largest search engine.

In their official announcement they state that one of the factors in their decision was “the proliferation of excellent property-search tools on real estate websites“. They went on to say “We recognize that there might be better, more effective ways to help people find local real estate information than the current feature makes possible”.

Whilst I in no way doubt that the reasons they state are a true reflection of the circumstances that led then to this decision, I think there are other factors to consider.

I was always of the opinion that Google came at real estate search almost accidentally, especially in the early days. The concept was originated in Australia through the maps team under the leadership of the Lars Rasmussen. Their desire was to demonstrate their mastery of the mapping platform and locating property for sale and rent on these maps was appealing as data was readily available, with agents only too happy to collaborate (or put another way – the owner of the data would not object). The fundamental problem though, is that whilst mapping property is interesting and no doubt of value, it is not the intuitive first entry point of real estate search for buyers on the web.

Boutiques.com - Shop boutiques curated by style icons and you - Designer Shoes, Dresses, Handbags

The solution Google should have developed, in my opinion would have been using their image search platform. The primary consumer real estate search experience is really visual – rich imagery of properties for sale is so compelling. The map representation would have then been a natural complement to an image based search. In some ways Google recent foray with Boutiques demonstrated the true concept of a better approach to the real estate sector.

Another aspect of concern to Google could have been the view that an open free service for listing property opens up the potential for spammers to damage the user experience. Ed Freyfogle of Nestoria, who as an ex-Yahoo search expert is well positioned to comment, proposed this view that “The free model as demonstrated by Google means you’ll be spammed, get expired and fake listings, which are bad for users. And because you’re not earning any money, it’s hard to justify investing in the service”. There is no evidence that this did occur in NZ, but it was potentially a problem.

The existing specialist real estate websites like Realestate.co.nz that only accepts legitimate listings actively marketed by licensed real estate agents ensures that this eventuality cannot arise. A subscription fee model charged to real estate agents ensures the integrity of the content.

As to why Google will cease to provide this service. I suspect that the quoted reason being the changed structure of the Google Base to Google shopping data schema is the true reason – Google are a very highly advanced grouping of technologists.

In NZ the level of traffic from Google maps real estate search never eventuated to much. Realestate.co.nz fed 100% of content from day one and over the 19 months we received 220,000 session visits to Realestate.co.nz from the maps search – that is only 11,500 per month as compared to our total traffic being around 900,000 session visits per month. Consumers never easily found Google real estate map search, or even if they did, did not see it as that valuable.

Referring Sites - Google Analytics

The most likely people who did use it were real estate agents, who used it to better appreciate the total marketplace in their area. That is where it was of most value.iPhone map result example

The bottom line is that there is a significant place for mapping real estate listings – it is truly relevant in the context of mobile. When you are standing on a street corner, then a map representation of property near you for sale or rent is very compelling on your handheld mobile device – welcome to the smartphone apps from real estate portals!

Try it for yourself on the new Realestate.co.nz iPhone app.

13

Are we seeing some signs of improvement in the property market?

Posted on: December 3rd, 2010 | Filed in Buying / Selling a home, Featured, Media commmentary, Website searching

iStock crystal ballRunning the website of realestate.co.nz gives us some valuable insight into the property market – providing us with some hard facts, some interesting statistics and some anecdotal feedback from within the industry.

One thing I am keen not to develop is a reputation as a forecaster of the property market. Firstly; one thing about forecasting is that it is likely that you will be wrong more times than you are right. People then tend to remember the time you got it wrong far more than the time you got it right – I did once make this somewhat optimistic call back in 2008 “NZ property market may well see a brighter outlook sooner” – at least I used the word “may”!

Even economists are skeptical about forecasting the property market, and they make a living from forecasting!

However I am conscious that there has been a series of recent articles that show some general improvement in sentiment. The level of mortgage approvals brought some brighter comments from Interest.co.nz as did some greater competition among the banks with competitive activity around 2 year fixed rates. In addition First National Real Estate were quick to pinpoint some upturn as did Harcourts recently. Barfoot & Thompson have also just released their sales details for the Auckland market showing a considerable pick up from October.

The data I tend keep a close watch on, are unique stats from the web – a rich vein of real time information tracking real people looking at property. The two metrics which for me reflect the level of activity are (i) number of visitors online viewing real estate and (ii) the level of email enquiry to agents, the latter being closer to a lead indicator of future activity.

Usage levels on real estate websites

The chart below tracks the indexed web traffic to a basket of real estate websites monitored by Nielsen. The data is domestic traffic only and covers all of the top 10 real estate sites online. The blue line shows the performance of 2010 measured on a 4 week moving average, with the prior years of 2008 in black and 2009 in red.

Traffic_online_to_Nov_2010

The use of an index in the chart, rather than actual traffic, effectively removes the factor of the ever growing usage of the web – more people using the web, more of the time.

The conclusion I draw from this chart is that, as we have been aware, the past 12 months has been subdued. In many ways, very much like the depressed market of 2008 at the time of the Global Financial Crisis. By contrast the activity in the market during 2009 is very evident from the chart, showing heightened activity as buyer initially pounced on distress sales as prices fell, and then with limited stock, we saw some scarcity demand factors. This heightened activity did begin to seriously tail off towards the end of the year.

What we are seeing now though, is some relative sustained activity in searches during November, whereas this time last year the activity was really tailing off. The next few weeks through Christmas will naturally see a slowing down of viewing, but come that first and second week of January the level of activity online skyrockets!

Serious enquiry to agents

On a daily basis we are sending hundreds of emails to agents from interested prospective purchasers of property – these are warm leads and the tracking of this activity provides an insight into the market. As with the stats on website visitors, this chart below which shows weekly email activity is indexed to provide a more accurate view year-on-year as traffic and usage of the site keeps growing.

Realestate.co.nz_email_enquiry_to_Nov_2010

The blue line for 2010 clearly reflects the extent of the lackluster property market this year, with much lower levels of email enquiries. Whilst showing a tailing off in the past few weeks (which is only to be expected from a seasonal perspective), the tracking of 2010 does show a certain degree of relative strength, especially through that key period of late October through to mid November. The traditional lead time from email enquiry to property transaction would based on these strong periods, give sufficient time to complete transactions pre-Christmas. This might bode well for the sale figures for  November and December, this then ties back into the recent rise in mortgage approvals.

Classically we will have to wait to see if what we are seeing is a true trend or just a short term blip. What is certain is that we are seeing some key indicators begin to point to a brighter outlook. I am certainly not going to call it a resurgent market quite yet!

9

More and more listings found online is great for consumers and the industry

Posted on: November 19th, 2010 | Filed in Featured, Online marketing, Website searching

blue bar chart growing - croppedI am sure that the phrase “Content is king” had relevance prior to the internet age, however in the past 20 years it has become a mantra of web companies. As consumers gravitate to rich content, so will be found the opportunity for product and advertising sales.

In the context of real estate, listings content is critical. A property searcher wants to find the most comprehensive selection of property for sale or rent ideally on one site (to avoid having to visit multiple sites). In the NZ market the challenge for the 2 main websites (realestate.co.nz and Trade Me Property) has been in attracting real estate agents to list their content. The chart below tracks the total number of residential listings (this includes homes, apartments, lifestyle properties and sections) on these 2 websites over the past 4 years.

real estate listings for NZ between 2006 and 2010

As is very clear from the chart, realestate.co.nz has long hosted a more comprehensive selection of content than Trade Me. Realestate.co.nz is a website owned by the real estate industry through a 50% shareholding by the Real Estate Institute and 50% by six of the large real estate companies. Trade me is a subsidiary company of Fairfax media.

A key differentiation of Trade me as compared to realestate.co.nz is the fact that Trade me features private listings, something that naturally Realestate.co.nz and its owners are reluctant to do. This means that all of the listings on realestate.co.nz are from licensed real estate agents. Realestate.co.nz currently has around 95% of all of the listings of licensed agents in NZ featured on the site.

The growth of Trade me Property is impressive and they are to be congratulated. Their latest email for November celebrates this fact, citing that with “more than 70,000 houses for sale and rent.. that’s more than any other real estate site in NZ”. This is a fact if you add up all the homes for sale, together with lifestyle property and rental property Trade me Property has 72,835 and realestate.co.nz has 68,182.

This fact is a reflection of just how important the real estate industry judge the web to be in marketing property. This industry judges that in addition to their own websites and realestate.co.nz they wish to ensure that they all feature their listings on the largest trafficked website in NZ. As less people read newspapers and property magazines, with an ever growing use of the web for property searching it is completely logical that real estate agents on behalf of their clients would go for maximum exposure.

In most countries around the world now as newspaper and magazine advertising for property dwindles in relevance so each country begins to rely on 2 or 3 major real estate websites. In Australia it is Realestate.com.au and Domain. In the UK Rightmove.co.uk and Primelocation.co.uk. In the US – Realtor.com, Zillow.com, Yahoo real estate and Trulia.

However returning to the opening statement – content is still king and for the sake of transparency I think it is valuable to dive a little behind the headline figures provided in the Trade me Property newsletter. The chart below breaks down the number of listings by category. It is very clear that whilst Trade me Property holds a significant advantage in rental property (a significant part of that segment is made up of private landords) when it comes to homes for sale, lifestyle property and sections for sale, realestate.co.nz still holds a more comprehensive portfolio.

Real estate listings at Nov 2010 for NZ leading two portals

As a final analysis it is worth recognising that as mentioned earlier Trade me features listings from private sellers and private landlords. This richer data set will in time mean that as Trade me gains real estate agent subscribers, the total of listings on their site will grow ahead of realestate.co.nz. This component of private listings was estimated by Trade me back in January of this year at 16% of the total. Applying this calculation to the current listings produces this view of the comparison between the two websites.

real estate listings online as at Nov 2010 showing private listings and agent listings

0

Canterbury market continues to feel the after effects of earthquake

Posted on: October 14th, 2010 | Filed in Featured, Regional News, REINZ Monthly data, Website searching

REINZ monthly article headerThe latest sales results released today by the Real Estate Institute bear witness to the fact that the real estate market across the Canterbury region is struggling. A total of 359 properties were sold in September down from the 884 sold in the same month last year and also down from the 647 in September 2008 – up until August, the 2010 year was tracking pretty close to the same levels as 2008 as seen from the chart below.

Canterbury sales data for Sep 2010

The results for the Canterbury region are not unexpected given the catastrophic impact that the earthquake had on the built environment, not just in terms of actual structural damage, but more importantly in verification of structural integrity. The early signs of the impact of the earthquake were seen in terms of website visitors as seen in the days after the impact. That situation was showing signs of improving. However as can be seen from the chart below now that four weeks have passed the overall level of visitor traffic is down around 23% from where it would have been expected to be at this time of the year.

Canterbury region website visitor stats 2009 and 2010

The other early sign of the impact of the earthquake on the region was reported within the monthly NZ Property Report which was published on the 1st October and covered the month of September in terms of new listings. In September a total 1,211 new properties were listed in the Canterbury region which was down 19% on a seasonally adjusted basis from August. This compared to a total for all other regions of the country excluding Canterbury showing a small 1% increase from August on a seasonally adjusted basis.

Half way through October the picture is looking very similar with new listings still down, this is best shown from the chart below which tracks the % representation of the Canterbury region listings each month. The October data is for the first 14 days of the month so far.

Canterbury listings to oct 2010

17

The first week is crucial in selling your home

Posted on: September 20th, 2010 | Filed in Agent Tips, Online marketing, Website searching

There are enumerable phrases such as “the early bird catches the worm” or “you only get one bite at the cherry” or “first in – best dressed” – so it is with real estate, where based on research a new phrase can be adopted:

“Missed the first week and you may have missed the market”

A simple piece of analysis has been undertaken as shown in the chart below. Aggregating the daily viewings data of a sample of 1,079 properties listed on the website over the past 3 months from around the country shows that the most active period is the first week. Fully a quarter of the total of the first 2 months viewings takes place in those first 7 days.

Visits to listing by days on the market Sep 2010

The reason for this is not difficult to appreciate, active buyers are already subscribed to receive email alerts of new listings, realestate.co.nz has over 100,000 customers with email alerts set up. In addition for those eager to watch the local marketplace saved searches always show the latest listings as the default on realestate.co.nz – no need to filter by latest, we do it for the customer.

This buyer behaviour is critically important for agents and vendors to understand fully as it needs to drive a set of key actions:

  1. Getting all the photos ready and uploaded before a property is listed – you can never have too many photos, there is no restriction on realestate.co.nz on the number of photos, we also host videos which can be a great way to view listings
  2. Ensuring the listing is well presented in an emotionally appealing description that provides loads of facts about the property and the local area
  3. A clear indication as to the price expectation of the property – buyers are eager to understand if the property is affordable within their budget
  4. The #1 photo which is the one included in email alerts is the best – the best at selling the property’s best features. Often this is the view of the front of the property, professionally photographed from the road

Get these four essentials right and you are ensuring that your property has the greatest chance of grabbing that viewing audience. Get it wrong or decide to change some details after a week and you could already have missed the boat. This is especially true when it comes to price. A reduction in price of a property posted in the 2nd or 3rd week to reflect a weaker market is less impactful than getting the price right at the outset before someone rejects the property in their mind.

I am grateful for the US real estate company Redfin who first wrote about this analysis last month in an article titled you only get one chance to make a first impression, the story was then picked up by the Wall Street Journal .

3

Real estate marketing – practical online advice

Posted on: September 20th, 2010 | Filed in Agent Tips, Featured, Online marketing, social media, Website searching

iStock_000000504669XSmallThe recent “Future of Real Estate” conference held in Auckland provided us with the opportunity of sitting down with the keynote speakers and interviewing them to provide some global perspective to the opportunity emerging in online marketing.

Blogging

Joel Burslem is a highly regarded consultant with a background in online real estate marketing which has included stints at Inman News, Prudential as well as 1000 Watt Consulting where he currently works. In this interview I seek to better understand Joel’s perspective, advice and insight into blogging from the standpoint of a real estate agent.

Search Marketing

No successful business these days can ignore the importance of search marketing and search engine optimisation. For real estate this is ever more important as the future of lead generation for agents will likely come from online referrals and evaluations. To achieve standout requires a deep appreciation and understanding of search. For the conference we invited Charles Coxhead to speak on this key topic. Charles has an extensive experience in this area and in this interview I speak to Charles and get him to share some of the critical issues and advice around this subject.

Online Marketing

With such an excellent line up of speakers, we grabbed the opportunity to have a panel discussion with Joel Burslem, Charles Coxhead and Simon Baker. This free flowing discussion starts off looking at the dynamic shift in real estate advertising from print to online as witnessed around the world. It then goes on to talk about the priorities for real estate companies, offices and agents in their online presence and marketing, covering the tools of Facebook and Google Adwords, amongst other things.

We split the session into 2 videos covering the 20 minute discussion:

Part 2

9

Connect – the global conference where technology and real estate “connect”

Posted on: July 17th, 2010 | Filed in Featured, International, Real Estate Industry, Technology, Website searching

San Francisco skylineWhat began as a small gathering of technologists and tech minded real estate people over a decade and a half ago has evolved into the most significant global conference on real estate – not just real estate technology. I make this statement as the reality is that technology is, has been, and will in the future, continue to be the largest change agent of this industry globally.

Connect is hosted by Inman News – the specialist news service for the real estate industry and its charismatic founder and host of the conference Brad Inman.

This year’s San Francisco event (they are hosted twice a year – New York in January) has just wrapped up and for me as a regular attendee the value of the event never fails to deliver.

A key essence of the event is information overload. The feeling that after 3 days you have been exposed to the largest mass of insight and emerging comprehension of where this industry is heading in the future. There are always (I sense deliberately) more sessions and content than one person alone can consume. That means that after these 3 days I have to sit down and re-read the scribbled notes and digest the learning in order to come up with a picture that has emerged from the conference.

There isn’t a single message promoted as the theme of the conference, but there is always, in summing up the conference an emerging train of thought that can best describe the conference. For me this year that came from one of the final speakers on the last day – Matt Gilligan of SimpleGeo, who made the simple statement that “Location is Context”. A simple statement, but in my mind loaded with powerful inference. For over the past 2 years the emerging role of mobile technologies has grown and grown to the situation where at this conference more than any other preceding Connect conference mobile was all anyone talked about. Mobile is all about location and being location aware is in a broader context a radical paradigm shift for almost all businesses, however for real estate location is at its very core. The phrase “Location, Location, Location” is an international phrase as well known as the McDonalds “I’m Loving it” or Nike’s “Just do it”

A show of hands ably demonstrated the view of the attendees (some 2,000 of them) as to ownership of smart phones (>70%) and iPads (c.15% after just 3 months on sale!). This industry, or at least those at the forefront of technology adoption within it, are embracing mobile as a game changer for the industry. The exhibiting companies as well as almost all presenters talked and demonstrated smart phone apps and iPad apps – next year this portfolio will undoubtedly extend to include Andriod and potentially Microsoft Mobile Window 7.

Another interesting stream of content from the conference of specific relevance to Realestate.co.nz was the whole area of search. A couple of excellent panel discussions and workshop looked at search as the online tool of entry to the real estate marketplace. Providing an unbiased and external perspective was Gary Flake of Microsoft who rightly asked the question; could there be a better way of searching for property? after all the facet based search on price, bedrooms, bathrooms and property type is really a crude way of interpreting the characteristics of lifestyle / lifestage. This theme was picked up by a workshop group who having the benefit of a 24 period to debate and discuss the issue came back with some excellent proposals around leveraging the “Social Graph” to apply all that accessible online information tied up collectively in all your personal behaviours, actions and intent online to better present property that really should suit you.

The practical application being that if you were able to share your key social graph around these parameters – salary = price range; family scale = size of house; age = size of house / location; entertainment likes & activity = location / style of house. All of these clues are bound up in your profile & activity on sites such as Facebook / LinkedIn / Amazon / iTunes / Netflix / your bank account. Now clearly this list includes some very non-public data and as such raises some red flags, but just challenge the concept for a moment to say, if this social graph was inputted through an algorithm to the database of available property on the market as well as alerts to new property, it would certainly provide a richer set of results than just searching for 3 bedroom homes under $500,000 in inner city suburbs of Wellington.

The Connect conference is in many ways a reaffirmation of the fact that we live in a wired (& more so these days wireless) and mutli-connected world and the issues and challenges faced in the real estate market in NZ are so similar to the issues in Europe, US, Australia and Asia, further evidenced by attendees from all the major developed countries of the world represented at the conference. This was further evidenced when set against the hi tech apps and online tools profiled at the conference, a presenter talked of the abandonment rate of telephone inquiries which divert to voice mail and from research how low the return call rate was. It left a sobering reinforcement of the fact that technology cannot replace the human process, but hopefully can make the smarter agents more effective and efficient and enable them to track that performance more accurately as an individual or business owner.

Connect is a valuable event. It has grown from being a US domestic event to become an international event – even noted by many at this years conference that Australians seems to be “everywhere”. I personally was delighted to see a good number of NZ representatives eagerly absorbing the content. It is a conference I would highly recommend to anyone with a conviction to invest in their career in real estate and who recognises the game-changing role of technology in that future.

Sydney skyline

Great news could be on the horizon, there was a question asked in the closing session as to other locations for hosting Connect. The question was posed by an American, their question was directed at an alternative US location, but the answer from Brad included the inference that they might look at international locations – Beijing and Sydney were mentioned.

To have a Connect in our Asia Pacific region would be enormous and I will share my passion and support to try and get such a conference organized.

3

Dedicated real estate websites deliver target audiences

Posted on: June 14th, 2010 | Filed in Website searching

New portfolio of logosThe objective for Realestate.co.nz as a company is to deliver rich and compelling information to the real estate market. That market comprises a wide variety of users – first time home buyers… property investors… commercial developers… renters… farmers… lifestyle seekers… empty nesters… commercial investors… retail tenants…. The list goes on and on, such is the impact real estate has on our personal and business lives.

In order for us to provide this rich and compelling information, we have over the past couple of months launched a strategy of segmenting the rich content of listings we hold on behalf of our customers into the key categories of residential, commercial, business and farms.

To each of these segments we have developed a custom designed, dedicated and comprehensive website. Each website is the market leader in rich content, just examine the extent of content.

nzFarms features 5,207 listings of farms and agricultural land from across the country added to this the site showcases 11,701 lifestyle properties that come under the category of rural sector.

Prime Commercial features 26,154 commercial property listing. From within this total are 7,263 properties for sale and 18,689 for lease.

Prime Business features 3,846 listings of businesses for sale. The largest segment of which is 1,451 retail food and beverage business for sale.

Realestate.co.nz features 49,117 listings or homes for sale, 17,571 building sections and 6,384 homes and apartments for rent

Zoodle features details on over 1,500,000 properties across NZ

Each of these website is the largest and most comprehensive source of content for their specific sector and thereby ensures the specific enquiry as to the type of real estate someone is looking for can be found easily in the context of what they are looking for.

The test for these sites is as with everything on the web – audience. The statistics for the month of May show clearly how effective these website are at attracting audience. Five of the top 20 websites in real estate as measured by Nielsen are now these 5 websites brought to you by Realestate.co.nz.

Top 20 for May 2010 websites

It is well worth mentioning at this point that overall audience numbers of some sites represent a much larger audience than is potentially the true target audience, this is especially the case when it comes homes for sale.

The fact is that a vast amount of property browsing online is not done by serious property seekers. The facts speak for themselves. This year total house sales will be around 70,000 – lets assume that property seeking takes 3 months, therefore around 25% of that annual total will be searching – lets double it to allow for home and office / partner searching – lets add 50% for good measure – that still only gives us just over 50,000 unique browsers every month who are serious buyers.

Now do the sums for another category by comparison – say farms – around 2,000 farms sold a year, plus 5,000 lifestyle properties. Against this a monthly audience of 20,000 unique browsers looks pretty realistic to be capturing the core target audience.

1

Annual real estate survey

Posted on: May 24th, 2010 | Filed in Featured, Online marketing, Website searching

cropped Image of research chart online iStock_000006227392SmallYou may well have experienced over the past week a pop up on the website of Realestate.co.nz or Zoodle. This pop-up requests your participation in an online survey on consumer attitudes and usage of real estate media.

Nielsen survey

This annual survey is in its 5th year and in so doing provides not only a professional and comprehensive insight into consumer activity around searching for property, but also with 4 prior years of consistent data provides a highly robust tracking of key trends over time.

There are a number of very important statistics that we closely monitor each year, and in August when the results of this year’s survey are published we will share the results on this site.

These are a few of the key points from the 2009 survey.

  • The web and specifically specialist real estate websites dominate searching for property – 78% of respondents said that in the past week had used a specialist real estate website, compared to just 46% consulting a property magazine or 31% consulting a metropolitan newspaper
  • On average the respondent spent 172 minutes (c. 3 hours) per week reviewing property on specialist real estate websites as compared to only 1 hour on main newspapers
  • Overwhelmingly buyers want comprehensive data on all listings – the address, a clear indication of price, large comprehensive selection of images all scored a requirement by over 95% of respondents
  • Nearly half of all respondents have purchased a property report online at some stage

If you would like to have a good read the full report is now accessible to review online courtesy of Slideshare – please review and most important of all complete the survey if you get a pop-up on your screen.

Nielsen online real estate report 2009

Update 26th May – the full presentation of the research is unfortunately not available to view as it is copyrighted to Nielsen. My apologies for posting this in error. If there is any specific aspects of the data that you would like to better understand then I would be happy to share this on a specific subject area.

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