The Unconditional Blog

The impartial voice of the industry


NZ Property report – March 2009

Posted on: April 1st, 2009 | Filed in NZ Property Report NZ Property report - 1st April 2009The 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 inventory of listings as well as 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 price as well as property values currently provided by other services. This first report from provides an insight into seller activity in the residential market for March 2009.

Asking price returns to 2007 peak – whilst new listings show modest growth March 2009 NZ Property report Asking price and new listings NZ Property report March 2009 - chart new listingsCommentary

New listings added to in March show renewed interest in the property market with 13,284 new listings coming onto the market. Buoyed by low interest rates (which have of course abruptly turned in the last week of the month) new listings picked up with a 9% growth on February, but still some 19% below last March.

For the second consecutive month the price expectations of sellers rose, reversing the downward trend seen during the latter half of 2008. At $399,000 the median asking price was 1.0% up on March 2008 and equal to the peak of October 2007, albeit on a lower volume of listings (October 2007: 16,753 new listings). NZ Property report March 2009 - chart median asking priceAn interpretation for this rise in asking price requires an understanding of the motivations of sellers and real estate agents. The sellers see media coverage presenting a degree of property market resurgence albeit with falling prices. With limited numbers of new listings, agents are eagerly courting sellers to win listings. With sellers eager not to capitulate on sale price they set a higher asking price in the knowledge that they can negotiate down to the buyer’s expectations. Agents counter this by informing sellers that property is only selling when priced to the current market but ultimately often fail to convince sellers when threatened with potentially losing the listing. The outcome is a divergence between selling price and asking price – a hope is that the presentation of these facts in this report for the first time will bring attention to seller’s expectations to enable greater visibility and transparency in the market.

Regional Summary

Across the country the results show a consistent decrease in new listings as against March last year. The only exceptions are in the regions of Coromandel, Taranaki, Central Otago Lakes and Gisborne which all reported increases in new listings. NZ Property Report April 1st 2009

In terms of asking price of new listings the country is fairly evenly split with 9 regions showing reduced asking price and 9 regions showing increasing asking price just pushing the national median asking price up the 1.0%. NZ Property Report March 2009 - Regional median asking price

Major asking price movements were seen in Coromandel down 12.0% with Wellington and Southland showing asking prices down 3.5% and 4.4% respectively. On the increasing side it is interesting to see asking prices in the 4 tourist hotspots of Northland, Gisborne, Otago Lakes and Nelson showing increases of over 10%.


The market for apartments shows a greater level of activity with 658 new listings coming onto the market a sharp rise from the lows in January of just 350. Measured against March of last year the new listings are exactly matching that period which was the start of a steady decline through 2008.

In terms of asking price the March figure of $409,000 is up 6% as compared to March last year and a massive 22% up from February although it is important to recognise the low volumes and diversity of listings within this sector of the market. NZ Property Report March 2009 - Apartment listings

Lifestyle Property

The market for lifestyle properties represents just 8% of all listings and in terms of new listings is showing the most lackluster activity. Just over 1,000 new listings came onto the market in March – down 21% from March 2008 and recording only a 3% increase on last month.

In terms of asking price the March figure of $570,000 is up 4% as compared to March last year and 1% down from February asking price. NZ Property Report March 2009 - Lifestyle Property listings NZ Property report March 2009 - Property price index comparisons 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.

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.

QV: data compiled from residential sales compiled by QV for the previous 3 month period.


With the largest database of properties for sale in NZ, is uniquely placed to immediately identify any changes in the marketplace. Property Report is compiled from new listing coming onto the market from the more than 1,150 licensed real estate offices across NZ representing more than 93% of all offices.
With a monthly level of over 12,000 new listings the 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 providing a feedback mechanism for 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 13, 284 new listings in the month of March a total of 447 listings have been excluded due to anomalies.

The categorization of Lifestyle property is defined by the land area of the property, the criteria is of a property having in excess of 0.3 hectares and being situated outside of 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 115,000 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 1,150 offices the website features over 90% of all listings from licensed real estate agents in NZ. receives over 350,000 unique browsers from both domestic and international visitors. The website is the most popular website for international visitors enquiring of NZ real estate with over 100,000 unique browsers per month from more than 200 countries.

Article Discussion

  1. Kate says:

    Great analysis – really interesting and worthwhile data.

  2. Alistair,
    A few points from me.
    First, very nice looking article.

    And now for the more critical….

    1. I don’t know about anyone else, but as soon as I get to the bits like this: “New listings added to in March show renewed interest in the property market with 13,284 new listings coming onto the market. Buoyed by low interest rates (which have of course abruptly turned in the last week of the month) new listings picked up with a 9% growth on February, but still some 19% below last March.” I switch off.
    I do not believe statements such as that can be substantiated, and are just your opinion.
    IMO it’s a shame that you combine facts with opinion, which to me degrades the quality of your articles.

    2. Now onto the facts. I note with great interest that you have quoted the median asking price. We all know that you have a wonderful database of all asking prices, so why did you choose to only publish the median?
    It is well known that medians can be very unreliable as indicators, just like the median sale price.

    I challenge you to publish charts giving the distribution of asking prices, for say last year and now, so we can all see whether asking prices have indeed gone up or whether it is in fact that more higher priced properties are now coming onto the market.
    If your median price is truly representative I would expect to see a bell curve moving up as a whole. If the shape of the bell curve simply bulges more at the top end, your median will be exposed as a poor indicator.

    The challenge is with you :)

  3. Steve

    Thanks for this detailed and considered response. My response:

    1. I see the value in the facts – however I believe that in my role I should add what I see as observations and as I believe I have done qualify these “An interpretation for this rise in asking price requires an understanding of the motivations of sellers..” for example – whilst I respect your opinion facts on their own can be dry. As another view of this – this report and this blog is designed to create a dialogue – this is what is happening adding value to the data.

    2. Median price is in my opinion a better statistic than average given the make up of the residential property market. With such a large sample size (13,284) the median is very robust to ignore the extremes of pricing which can skew an average.

    3. You don’t need to challenge me! – just ask, give me a few days to find the time and I will be as interested as you to see the distribution curve of listings. We are a small organisation and it is down to me to do this as is all the content on this blog.

  4. Andrew Burns says:

    The mexican standoff re-emerges thanks to bank economists and the media. I feel sorry for agents trying to sell houses in the coming months with rising long term interest rates, rising unemployment, winter coming and sellers expecting 2007 prices. Sales volume could quite possibly collapse in such an environment.

  5. Alistair,
    Thanks :)
    I thought a challenge would ‘encourage’ you from other more pressing work :)
    I suspect the results could be VERY interesting to many people.

  6. Pressing work includes a board meeting and customer meetings!

    Will look to start work on it shortly – keep a watching eye on the blog or set up an RSS feed!

  7. J.C. says:

    Bravo Alistair,

    I think your work looks interesting and is probably worth taking seriously. Readers have to consider that this is a “free” resource, unlike property reports that people such as Rodney Dickens and Terry Ryder produce. Therefore, I think you’re fully entitled to choose whatever methodology or analysis you want.

  8. J.C.

    Appreciated – the important thing is this is new data, it is comprehensive data and it is objective data. I have certainly added some perspective to make it a readable report.

    I am more than happy for others to take this data and analyse it with other sources to form their own opinions of the market dynamics.

  9. Andrew Burns says:

    This data has highlighted for me the extent to which the media impacts on the market in general and seller expectations. I am surprised that such a large movement occured in such a short space of time, especially given the current economic climate. I had previously underestimated the power of the media. Given some of the irresponsible journalism out there, it is certainly sobering. This property report has certainly provided a unique and interesting perspective.

  10. Andrew

    Appreciate that feedback – as a regular reader and commenter of this blog I think you can see that I have shared that view in the past.

  11. Alistair,
    I’ve had an RRS feed from here to my website for ages :)
    It’s great being able to catch both new articles and new comments.

  12. Kate says:

    Alistair, how do you treat the listings with a price expectation of PBN (i.e and all other no price marketing)?

    Are you able to tell us what percentage of total listings have this type of no price marketing?

  13. Kate

    A good question – as you may have seen in the “Notes section” we excluded 447 listings from the total 13,284 listings – this alludes to the rules we have applied to the data set.

    As you rightly say many properties (over 55%) do not display a price. However as part of the data input to the website we require all offices to provide a price range will all listings, this is what drives the price search facility on the site.

    We have analysed the make up of the listings and applied some detailed rules which mean that properties where the range is unrealistic (ie. $100,000 to $500,000)are excluded. The balance of listings (13,284 minus the 477)we take the price as the listed “displayed price” or the mid point of the price range. The logic being for this is that in discussion with the industry the range is generally set to attract interest below the expected price and equally to capture interest to an expectation above the expected price.

  14. Mason Parker says:

    Alistair, well done on the monthly property report – great initiative.

  15. CH says:

    how do we get this emailed to us on a monthly basis?

  16. CH

    This report is published exclusively on this blog – the best way to be informed of the latest report (published on the 1st day of each month) is to set up an RSS feed to this blog.

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