The Unconditional Blog

The impartial voice of the industry


NZ Property Report – April 2009

Posted on: May 1st, 2009 | Filed in NZ Property Report

nz-property-report-apr-cover-pageThe NZ Property Report aims to provide a new perspective to the information on the residential property market in NZ. is uniquely placed to provide relevant and timely information on the state of the market from the perspective of the lead indicators of price expectation and the quantity of new listings coming onto the market. These unique indicators will, it is believed, provide a valuable balance to the established indicators of sales volumes and property selling prices.

This second report from provides an insight into seller activity in the residential market for the month of April 2009. This report also introduces a change in the presentation of asking price. Following consultation with economists the decision has been taken to utilise a ‘truncated mean’ asking price as a more accurate guide to asking price.

Significant fall in new listings points to a turning point in the property market NZ Property Report - April 2009 summary listings and asking price

Commentary NZ Property Report - April 2009 new listingsThe level of new listings coming onto the website in April slipped to a seasonal low of just 10,453. Traditionally April is a quieter month for new listings, as evidenced by the listings data for 2007, which provides a more reliable measure of seasonality than 2008, which was a year heavily influenced by a massive contraction in sales and the consequential impact on inventory on the market.

This lower listing inventory which has been seen as a trend for over 12 months, matched to the recent awakening of sales in February and March, could mark the end of the buyer’s market which is how the property market has been typified over the past 18 months. Whilst there is no clear sign that the market has entered into a sellers market phase with any consequential impact on prices, there has to be a point of inflection and that is a sense of where the market currently is. NZ Property Report - April 2009 table of asking pricesThe asking price expectation in many ways supports this turning point, as the asking price expectations are not perpetuating the declines seen through 2008, rather it is as though it is seeking direction as the market heads into the traditionally quieter winter period.

Regional Summary

The national decline of new inventory is reflected right around the country with year-on-year double digit decline. The only exception is Nelson which traditionally has maintained a very active property market and coincidentally Nelson recorded one of the leading increases in asking price – up 13.8% for the month as compared to April 2008.

The biggest fall in new inventory was recorded in Northland down 56%. The Auckland market, representing as it does over a third of inventory experienced a decline of 1,689 listings as compared to April 2008 and 1,369 as compared to April 2007. NZ Property Report - April 2009 Regional listingsAcross the regions, asking prices in the main slipped with 12 regions reporting price declines (largest fall 9.8% in Marlborough) and just 6 reporting an asking price increase. The largest rise was in the West Coast with a 22.4% year on year growth to an asking price of $279,882. NZ Property Report - April 2009 Regional asking price


Whilst March saw renewed activity in the listing market for apartments, April had seen a marked reversal with one of the lowest months of the past 2 years. Just 405 new apartment listings were added to the website, reflecting somewhat of a seasonal decline, and yet is 37% down on April 2008.

In terms of asking price, the April figure of $372,865 is down a significant 16% as compared to April last year, and an equally significant 15% from last month. Clearly the apartment market is struggling to generate much supply side activity outside of the lower priced segment. NZ Property report - April 2009 Apartment listings


Mirroring the comments of March, lifestyle property continues to show sluggish activity of new listings. A total of 906 listings were added in April down 32% on April 2008. A seasonal decline in listings is anticipated at this time of year but this decline month on month of 13% is ahead of 2007 and 2008.

In terms of asking price, the April figure of $581,938 is up slightly by 3% as compared to April last year, and pretty much line-ball with the March asking price. NZ Property Report - April 2009 Lifestyle property listings NZ Property Report - April 2009 Index comparions QV REINZ data compiled from asking prices of new residential listings as they come onto the market via subscribers to the website. website currently has over 93% of all licensed real estate offices subscribing and providing all of their listings onto the website. The asking price is presented as a truncated mean price at an 80% interval.

REINZ: data compiled from reported unconditional residential sales from all members of the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand representing all licensed real estate offices. The sale price is a median price.

QV: data compiled from residential sales compiled by QV for the previous 3 month period. The sale price is a pure average (mean) price.


Truncated mean
The monthly asking price for new listings presented in this report utilises the measure of ‘truncated mean’. This measure is judged to be a more accurate measure of the market price than average price as it statistically removes the extremes that exist within any property market that so easily can introduces a skew to traditional average price figures.
The truncated mean used in this report removes the upper 10% and the lower 10% of listings in each data set. An average or mean of the balance of listings is then calculated.

With the largest database of properties for sale in NZ, is uniquely placed to immediately identify any changes in the marketplace. The NZ Property Report is compiled from new listings coming onto the market from the more than 1,120 licensed real estate offices across NZ, representing more than 93% of all offices.
With an average monthly level of over 12,000 new listings, the NZ Property Report provides one of the largest monthly sample reports on the residential property market, as well as a more timely view of the property market than any other property report. The data is collated and analysed at the close of each month, and the Report is compiled for the 1st day of the following month. This provides a feedback mechanism as to the immediate state of the market, well in advance of sales statistics which by the very nature of the selling process can reflect activity with a lag of between 2 and 4 months.

In analysing the details of the 10,453 new listings in the month of April, a total of 262 listings have been excluded due to anomalies. The categorisation of Lifestyle property is defined by the land area of the property. The criterion is a property having in excess of 0.3 hectares and being situated outside metropolitan areas.

Background to is the official website of the real estate industry of New Zealand, it is an industry owned website providing online marketing services to the real estate industry. The website is the most comprehensive website for real estate in NZ, currently hosting over 112,000 listings, covering residential property for sale and rent, commercial property for sale and lease, rural properties and farms, as well as businesses for sale. With a subscriber base of over 1,120 offices, the website features over 93% of all listings from licensed real estate agents in NZ. was visited by over 355,000 unique browsers in the month of April from both domestic and international visitors. The website is the most popular website for international visitors enquiring of NZ real estate, with over 125,000 unique browsers in the month of April from more than 200 countries

Click here to download a PDF copy of this report (1.1MB)

Article Discussion

  1. Ross Brader says:

    It’s been the same in the sought after inner city areas of Pt Chevalier, Westmere, Grey Lynn where I operate.

    There’s been a serious shortage of good quality homes available. Most of the homes we have sold this year had multiple offers presented, sold in less than 3 weeks on the market and we need at least 25 new listings ASAP – we could sell the whole lot!

    We just started marketing a home at 22 Walford Rd and have been inundated with phone calls and emails about that particular one as there is nothing else like it available in Pt Chevalier right now. We have just had a bunch of buyers through over the lunch hour who couldn’t wait for the open home stampede! I expect that we will have at least 100 people through the open homes at that address this weekend.

    Many people who were under pressure and who would have otherwise sold have refinanced in a lot of cases at 5.95% for 3 years so now they will stay put and enjoy a lower mortgage interest bill. So supply of homes for sale is very low as a result. Likewise for rental investors who now have a much better rent vs interest bill scenario.

    The 20% deposit requirement has not made much difference to us. We have noticed parents helping kids with the deposit so even our entry level homes are being snapped up. Rental investors also very active.

    I suspect that the price decline will now stabilise as it is now more of a balanced market right now but verging on becoming a sellers market with low stock levels putting pressure on buyers and creating a very competitive environment.

    Now that Bollard has said he expects the OCR will be at 2.5% or lower until the end of 2010 I expect we will see a very strong surge in housing market confidence throughout the balance of 2009.

  2. Patrick Houlahan says:

    the point about interest rates is entirely irrelevant to those who have lost their income or had it truncated through the effects of the recession. And that will happen to more and more people this year as unemployment climbs up to nearer 8% than 4… If you lose your job and you can’t find another one, it matters little that your payments have dropped one or two hundred dollars a month. You will be unable to service your mortgage so you will have to sell. This will see the number of properties on the market swell and those people will not be holding out for the inflated prices the industry would like to see hold up for longer – they will be getting rid of their mortgages before the mortgages leave them destitute.
    The reality for most commentators is far far grimmer than the industry mouthpieces would have you believe.
    Careful what you read….

  3. Colin says:

    Patrick – It seems strange to me. If things were that bad would we not already be seeing a surge of homes hitting the market rather than a 34% reduction in homes being listed for sale?

    Prices are nowhere near as inflated as they were and have in fact already dropped around 10.1% according to Quotable Value.

    It appears the combination of lower prices and lower interest rates is proving too tempting for house buyers while on the other hand home owners don’t seem to be keen on selling.

  4. Richard says:

    hmmm…. how many times has this blog called a turning point in the market and how many times has that direction been upwards price-wise? The claim of impartiality of this blog is looking more and more incredible.

    Looking at the changes in the listing volumes over the past few years, this April’s change from March doesn’t look to signal anything at all. If anything it looks like the pattern in 2007, which preceded the begining of the decline. Calling a turning point on one indicator that ordinarily has significant variation seems more wishful thinking than analysis.

  5. Richard,

    The fact is that anyone can create an interpretation from a set of statistics. I am not making a statement that we are about to see a boom in the market nor a sudden catastrophe. I am not in this report or on this blog saying that prices will fall or rise. I merely share statistics and insight into the real estate market here in NZ and overseas.

    The point here is providing a new set of statistics to the market – the report contains facts. The value of a blog is to allow the opinions of others to be shared.

    This blog does to make money by offering any advise as to where or when to invest. Clearly these comments concerning trends may very well be wrong – sitting here in May 2009 who knows where we will be in 6 months time or 12 months time, with respect you don’t know and nor do I. Look to the world economy where did the million dollar salary economists and strategist on Wall Street say we were heading in 2007/8?

    Many a newspaper has a called a turning point onto to be a false dawn or dead cat bounce. The difference here is transparency. Where can you as an individual have a voice to share your opinion?

    As to impartiality – this website has one objective, to provide anyone looking to buy or sell any form of real estate with a effective tool to research the market – listings and information, to be provided with the most comprehensive information – all for free, no subscription, no paid for reports, no consultancy or commission. Our business model is advertising – agents and offices pay us to create a platform that attracts an audience. We also earn income from advertising companies looking to advertise their clients products and services to an audience we attract – nothing mysterious here. Impartial – yes where in that business model does it say we earn any more money saying the market is going up or going down or prices going up or down??

  6. Verne says:


    You may not be predicting an increase in prices but in your commentary you are clearly predicting a ‘turning point’ in the market. I find the statistics presented in your blog interesting and informative. But I do find that some of the more useful data in assessing the conclusions you present in your commentary is often not presented. For example, I would find data on the state of the total inventory rather than just new listings more useful in assessing whether this really is a turning point. A substantial reduction in inventory from the increased activity in Feb/Mar together with sustained higher market activity into Apr may indeed indicate a turning point. But without this data, I tend to agree with Richard that the lower new listings in Apr looks more like a seasonal change ie the slowing of the market as winter approaches rather than any indication of a turning point or direction of the market. And what can really be concluded from asking prices? I know you don’t collect any data on actual selling prices from your website but the asking price data could be the result of so many things, unrealistic vendor expectations from the recent flurry of positive reporting on the housing market, agents over estimating prices to obtain scarce listings etc.

  7. Verne,

    I appreciate your feedback and I agree that the data of inventory would be a valuable addition to the data. I would hope that I can certainly demonstrate responsiveness on this blog, so allow me a few days and I will complement these statistics.

    As to making a clear prediction of a turning point – you could say it is a matter of semantics – use the phrase

    “could mark the end of the buyer’s market” – I go on to say “Whilst there is no clear sign that the market has entered into a sellers market….there has to be a point of inflection and that is a sense of where the market currently is”

    I certainly am pointing to the likelihood of a turning point – albeit it off what I do say is a “seasonal low” – thereby recognising the fact that April always represents a seasonal slowdown.

    As to asking price as you rightly point out the factors affecting this are many and varied, the key point though I would make is the sample set – this truncated mean asking price is based on over 10,000 individual records – more than twice the data set of monthly sales – thereby providing less influence of bias of external influence.

  8. Mason Parker says:

    good on you mate for calling things as you see them. Whether you are right or wrong doesn’t matter – the fact is you are attemtping to show the stats for what they are and doing something proactive to inform the market!

    1-why do the Feb 2009 asking prices in the NZ Property Report say $379,000 on 1 April and say $413,677 on 1 May? Shouldn’t they remain constant? especaily as the number of listings was 12,169 in both reports. These figures also differ from those in the Property Asking price Graphs below????
    2- On Zoodle you see listing price graphs for towns – can we get the data for towns (like Levin) with the figures or could the graphs show the numbers if we clicked them (I’m more of a data person than a graph person)
    3- any chance of a graph showing the number listings as a percentage of total households in a town or as a per capita figure

    Funnily enough Levin has 435 properties for sale and while the national trends seem to say March April prices are rising and that nationally there is a housing shortage- that isn’t reflective of Levin while we have a huge pool of properties for sale. But it’d be nice to be able to access data that accurately shows our local vendors and buyers the local trends

  9. Mason

    Thanks for the comments. As to the questions:

    1. The asking price difference for February ’09 between the 1st April and 1st May is due to the adoption with the 1st May report of a new statistic of “truncated mean” – this is different to the “median price” utilised in the 1st April report. All the pricing in the latest report is consistent historically and will be used in this format in the future.

    2. I can see what you are looking for – the data certainly could be made available. Let me take the request and see what we can do.

    3. As will probably have read in the other comments there is a desire to show inventory as well as new listings data – look for enhancements in future reports.

  10. Richard says:

    Thanks for your response Alistair. I don’t really follow the logic of some of what you’ve said though.

    The fact is that anyone can create an interpretation from a set of statistics… I merely share statistics and insight into the real estate market here in NZ and overseas.
    The point here is providing a new set of statistics to the market – the report contains facts. The value of a blog is to allow the opinions of others to be shared.

    My point with regard to your analysis and presentation of statistics is that it is consistently one sided. The stats that this post presents are used to support some pretty iffy analysis – your claim of a turning point.

    As to impartiality – this website has one objective, to provide anyone looking to buy or sell any form of real estate with a effective tool to research the market – listings and information, to be provided with the most comprehensive information – all for free, no subscription, no paid for reports, no consultancy or commission.

    If I understand it this site is owned by REINZ and only sells services to REINZ members. Given it’s in the interests of REINZ’s members to talk up the market and REINZ itself is always talking up the market, then this site’s consistent talking up the market (like you’ve done in this post on the basis of iffy analysis of statistics) makes it pretty hard to perceive that this blog as an impartial voice. Can you deny that talking up the market isn’t in the finanacial interests of your owner and only customers?

  11. Richard,

    The benefit of this website, aside from the obvious one of providing a search facility for properties for sale is the data that lies behind it as an aggregation of supply and demand side metrics on the real estate market. This report has been created to provide visibility to these metrics – we are not alone in this endeavour, many overseas real estate portals provide such reports which are valued by their commentators, economists and naturally the media.

    As I previously stated, I could simply deliver the facts and make no comment. That would be ultimately impartial. I however choose to make an interpretation – why? – because it is far more likely that in doing so the report will be referred to and commented upon – some will agree with the interpretation, some will disagree, at least though it will find a broad audience.

    My role is to promote this website to attract and retain an audience of buyers and sellers – that way I satisfy my customers and advertisers. That outcome is what all online sites attempt to do – be it MSN, NZ Herald or

    As to the assertion that the ownership of this website creates a bias, I would refute it.

    Firstly the website of is owned and operated by an independent commercial company Limited. There are 2 shareholders holding 50% each – REINZ does own 50%, the remainder is owned by Property Page (NZ) Ltd – a company itself owned by 6 of the large real estate companies.

    This ownership establishes the company and the website as 100% industry owned (no media ownership) – we are the only major real estate web portal in the world that is 100% industry owned.

    The website is open to all licensed real estate agents – from November of this year with the new Real Estate Agents Act individual agents will decide if they wish to be members of REINZ as at that time it will be voluntary. There will be no obligation on any of our customers to be members of REINZ – the only requirement is that they are licensed by the government authority which is currently being established.

    The website is run by a team who are not in anyway connected with the REINZ. I have a board of directors and report to them. My objective is the successful growth and development of the website. I judge what best strategy in media and general communications will best suit the success of the website – at times my views are in opposition to the directors – this is healthy.

    The success of this website is not a function of talking up the market and in the 210+ posts I have made I have not on balance consistently talked up the market. I have certainly written posts which have made calls that have been wrong – they are there to be seen. I would judge that just like a newspaper I have got it wrong in the past, however the beauty of a blog is that it allows people to challenge my assertions which I value.

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