Tag Archives: New Zealand

The client experience

Client Experience

What comes first, the commission or the client?

We would all like to think that it is the client’s interests that takes priority, particularly when people are transacting real estate, there is only one thing in mind – seeing the mission accomplished of moving from A to B.

Being mindful of this throughout the selling process is paramount for us as sales professionals and it goes without saying that if this focus is lost, without question the client’s ultimate goal and quality of service is compromised.

Recently it was incredibly humbling to be awarded 1st place for Harcourts Canterbury’s Client Experience Award. For this to be endorsed by our very own clients makes it even more special. To our loyal clients – thank you. That endorsement makes the effort and long hours so worthwhile.

To my team, this award would not be possible alone. Your support both in the field and behind the scenes is what makes this possible. Creating memorable client experiences takes true teamwork.

For me personally, in the twilight of my real estate career that will span 30 years next year, this would have to be the absolute pinnacle and there is no better accolade I would wish to lay claim to – it’s simply amazing and the ultimate in job satisfaction.

This is the absolute reason why we do this every day! Thank you.

Team Griff’s Post-EQ Update

November EQ Update

Shaky start to the week!

Well for most it was a rude awakening just after midnight early Monday morning – not really the shaky start that we were all after, let alone for many the need to evacuate their homes in the early hours of the morning. We all feel for our North Canterbury communities as they battle the aftermath and clean-up of such a significant event.


Business as usual

That aside here in Christchurch it will be largely business as usual and thankfully apart from being sleep deprived and a long rolling/rocking motion the city has come away relatively unscathed. Obviously, it is a little unsettling but with the events fresh in our minds of recent years we are quick on our feet to both reach out to each other and swing a plan into action.


Insurance embargo

Just FYI here is a quick note that we received from our contacts at AMI this morning:

Just letting you know that we temporarily have an embargo in place regarding taking on any new insurance risks anywhere north of Rakaia River through to Kapiti Coast. This will unfortunately also include properties already insured with AMI or other IAG brands (State, NZI, Lumley General etc).

My advice, if you have any auctions or sales coming up soon, is to get your agents to make contact with us all the same. We can then take details and keep you and your agents updated, rather than you having to continually enquire about whether new policies are being sold. I recommend using the Papanui@ami.co.nz email address; we will acknowledge these requests and will assign to one of our consultants to take ownership of. We can also start the process so that once IAG has issued the “all clear”, we can give the quickest possible turnaround.

I recommend that your agents prepare your customers for the fact that any insurer will definitely ask about possible damage from the recent severe earthquake, so they would be well advised to be proactive by speaking to the vendor about this.

Given our past experience following the Christchurch earthquakes, this was largely expected as reinsurers seek to minimise their risk until losses can be quantified. Click here to read more.

UPDATE: Major insurers have agreed to a deal to lift the “freeze” on new house insurance policies being issued. The Insurance Council of New Zealand has brokered a deal in which insurers will issue policies to new owners of homes, if they insured with the old owner. Click here to read more.


Maximising the current market

Well aware that time is fast running out prior to Christmas it is vital to maximise on the time left prior to the close of business for the year. With the Canterbury economy healthy and $100m still being spent on the greater rebuild weekly plus purchasers remaining active, there is no reason why a sale cannot be concluded in this end of year countdown – there is nothing like a deadline! Providing flexible possession prior or after Christmas will add another arrow to your quiver and something as simple as being open to additional viewing times can also ensure no opportunity is lost for the sale of your home.

Here at Team Griff we are conscious of the importance of getting the job done at this busy time of the year, so we are happy to strategise a plan best suited for the market and your circumstances.
Take care, keep safe and sleep well!

Griff and the team

NZ’s Home of the Year announced

Home of the Year makes use of its thin suburban section.

Home of the Year makes use of its thin suburban section.

Sourced from Rosanna Price at Stuff.co.nz:

An E-shaped modern home in Auckland’s Grey Lynn suburb has been crowned Home of the Year.

Architect Richard Naish received the title for his family home where he lives with his wife and three children.

The five-bedroom, 290-metre-squared house won $15,000 in prize money as HOME magazine’s first-place pick.

“The challenge was to design a family house in a suburban location that was really going to work for an evolving family,” said Naish.

HOME editor and judge Jeremy Hansen said he’d seen a trend of generic-looking new houses “designed with resale value in mind”, especially in the buoyant property market of Auckland.

This design was different.

Rather than following the trend of enormous open plan areas, this house instead “proposed a series of smaller flexible spaces” for the family, he said.

The straight wooden lines of the three pavilions, joined by concrete courtyards and a long hallway, break from the surrounding traditional villas and bungalows of the neighbourhood. It looks like an ‘E’ when viewed from above.

“It makes incredibly smart use of its site, with a series of delightful courtyards and ‘garden rooms’ that feel not quite indoors, and not quite outside either,” said Hansen

The owners would not disclose building costs.

The winning house, as well as six other finalists from Auckland, Waikato, Gisborne and Wanaka, will be featured in the magazine.

5 strategic tips: Add value to your home

ADDING VALUE: Make sure that the money you put in will be money you can get back out when it is time to sell.

ADDING VALUE: Make sure that the money you put in will be money you can get back out when it is time to sell.

Via Stuff.co.nz

Remember the children’s book Doghouse for Sale? Well in it, Freckles the dog fixes up his house in order to attract prospective buyers. But after adding a fresh coat of paint, putting in a nice new bed and making everything look attractive for a buyer, he has second thoughts and decides to keep it.

It’s an oldie, but a goodie, and is a good analogy for what a lot of homeowners do today – they decide to do renovations for selling purposes, and, just like Freckles, discover the house they have is in fact the one they wanted all along.

In fact, even if selling isn’t in your immediate future plans, it’s still good to think about the overall value to the property with any changes you do make. So if you are planning refurbishment for your house, Bruce Wiggins, a registered valuer and team leader for the QVV Northern Region, says the first thing homeowners should do is stand in someone else’s shoes.

“The best thing is to try and objectively take note of the good and bad points about your property, then identify what can be upgraded/fixed, and what will have to stay as it is. Consider present and future needs, and then ascertain whether the home in its current state meets those needs, or can be altered to meet those needs.”

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Ten reasons this property cycle is different to the last


From the latest issue of NZ Property Investor magazine:

  1. Stricter lending criteria by banks makes over-leveraging more difficult.
  2. The Reserve Bank’s LVR changes are also s topping investors from gearing so high.
  3. New Zealand’s economy is fundamentally stronger than at any time during the last property cycle.
  4. Investors tend to have a more cautious attitude to debt after the Global Financial Crisis.
  5. There is less of an incentive to negatively gear properties because of removal of building depreciation and LAQCs.
  6. Investors have more realistic views of capital gains with less buying out of comfort zones.
  7. Auckland’s housing shortage must be addressed and Christchurch must be rebuilt, these are unique drivers to this cycle.
  8. Fewer non-bank lender options are available so the risk of over-gearing is further reduced.
  9. Interest rates are expected to peak lower so risk exposure might not be as bad.
  10. Increased property compliance focus by the IRD is putting off some traders.

Is now a good time to buy property?


Via The New Zealand Herald [edited to apply to Christchurch]:

Property prices in Christchurch are continuing to rise despite lending restrictions and higher interest rates pushing up the cost of borrowing.

Massey University recently released a study showing housing affordability had deteriorated by 10.6% in Canterbury/Westland in the year to May 31.

The numbers seem stacked against buyers so should people buy a house in the current market? NZHerald.co.nz talked to a few experts about the issue…

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The battle for online real estate: Trade Me v Realestate.co.nz

REIn a bid to avoid Trade Me monopolising the online property market following their announcement to significantly increase individual listing fees, the real estate industry has taken a united front to support their own industry-run website, Realestate.co.nz.

The focus of the industry is to ensure individual online marketing remains affordable for both agencies and ultimately the selling public.

In response to Trade Me’s price hikes, Realestate.co.nz has come out with its own aggressive marketing campaign to position itself as New Zealand’s specialist property portal. It also boasts the newly acquired expertise of Brendan Skipper, a former head of Trade Me Property – a very smart move to ensure a third-party provider does not hike prices and hold the industry to ransom. I believe it is this proactive reaction that will future-proof the real estate industry’s online presence.

At the end of the day, the hike in Trade Me’s fees is no surprise, especially after it was acquired by Fairfax Media. Fairfax is struggling in its print media division and is constantly looking elsewhere to generate a better return for its shareholders. As pointed out to me by Jimmy McGee (see comment below), Fairfax is no longer a shareholder of Trade Me – my apologies for the error. It is worth noting, however, that the property advertisement aspect of its business has been identified as a key area for potential revenue growth as it faces flat revenues in its main general auctions business. See TV3’s ‘Trade Me in real estate battle’.

With a number of major real estate companies shifting off Trade Me as their contracts come to an end – and now listing exclusively on Realestate.co.nz – it’s interesting to note that Realestate.co.nz has now surpassed Trade Me in terms of property listings – 59,920 to 49,632 at a recent check. I have updated the listings comparison to include Trade Me’s lifestyle listings. Realestate.co.nz have over 1,400 more residential and lifestyle for sale listings than Trade Me Property, as at 08/04/2014 the split is Realestate.co.nz 59,676 vs Trade Me 58,258.

Here’s hoping that this rigorous competition between the two will result in better service and a better product for buyers and sellers alike.

Read more:
Alistair Helm, ‘It’s all change at Trade Me Property’, NBR Online.
Catherine Harris, ‘Agents warn of Trade Me backlash’, Stuff.co.nz
Tina Morrison, Trade Me may reap $22.5m more real estate ad revenue by hiking fees, fending off rivals, NBR Online.

UPDATE: Jimmy McGee from Trade me has provided a response, which I am grateful for.

Reserve Bank exempts new builds from LVR restrictions

House ConstructionIn what some may consider an about-face, the Reserve Bank has announced that it will be exempting new builds from its new lending restrictions. The Press reports:

New builds will be exempted from new lending restrictions, the Reserve Bank has announced.

It comes after the building industry raised concerns the lending restrictions would affect the number of new houses being built, affecting Government efforts to increase the supply of new homes to help curb house price inflation.

The Registered Master Builders Federation had claimed the central bank policy could jeopardise the construction of up to 5000 new homes a year and they were seeing an increased number of planned new builds cancelled as a result.

Reserve Bank Deputy Governor Grant Spencer said they had decided on the exemption following consultation with the industry.

“While high LVR construction lending is only around 1 per cent of total residential lending, it finances around 12 per cent of residential building activity.

“This exemption will help to support the supply of new housing and, in doing so, reduce some of the pressure arising from excess demand in the New Zealand housing market,” he said.

It did seem that an exemption for new builds would be inevitable. Further, it is a good move for housing affordability. The exemption now creates an incentive for first-home buyers who are short of a 20 per cent deposit to embark upon a new build, which will in turn create an increase in housing supply.

A recent report entitled, Priced Out: How New Zealand Lost its Housing Affordability by the New Zealand Initiative notes that despite a richer and larger population, our country’s rates of building since the 1980s have not reached the levels of the 1960s and 70s. As a result, our new house building is lagging with a shortfall of at least 10,000 new houses annually – a shortfall that is continuing to grow. Here’s hoping that this exemption will go some way in mitigating that shortfall – but we still have a long way to go yet!

Sales volumes ease nationally, Canterbury growth continues



The New Zealand Herald reports a rise in median prices, but a slight dip in the number of sales:

Reserve Bank home-loan limits slowed house sales last month, but prices are still on the rise.

The seasonally adjusted number of house sales in October fell by 4.1 per cent compared with the same month last year, Real Estate Institute of New Zealand (REINZ) figures released today showed.

Unadjusted sales were up 2.1 per cent last month compared with a year ago and up 0.9 per cent compared with September, the institute said.

The Reserve Bank imposed loan-to-value ratio (LVR) restrictions early last month in an effort to cool the over-heated housing market.

Most first-time home buyers now require a 20 per cent deposit to qualify for a mortgage.

While the lending speed bumps had slowed the volume of houses sold, prices were still rising, REINZ said.

The national median price hit a new high last month of $407,525.

The median house price for October was 1.9 per cent above the previous record, the data showed.

Prices were 7.2 per cent higher than in October 2012.

Auckland, Canterbury-Westland and Waikato-Bay of Plenty reached median highs last month.

REINZ chief executive Helen O’Sullivan said sales volumes typically changed quicker than prices.

The full effect of the LVR restrictions on median house prices could take a few months to flow through as borrowers with pre-approved loans bought a house, she said.

It is still early days to gauge whether the Reserve Bank’s LVR restrictions will have a marked effect on the market, although many in the industry have reported a decline in open home attendance for entry-level properties. My preference is to consider a broader base (at least 3-6 months) of statistics to get a much more accurate picture of emerging trends in the marketplace. The tendency of the media to draw conclusions on the basis of one month’s stats is often not helpful in bringing reassurance and stability to any market.

As per last week’s comment, the buying public are enjoying a little more choice and a little less intensity, and maybe that is not such a bad thing – supply and demand has a significant balancing effect in any marketplace.

Well that’s one way to deter the tyre-kickers…

From The New Zealand Herald:

A grand hilltop estate with sweeping views over Tauranga has hit the market with a $12 million price tag – and a $400 fee just to take a tour.

The five-bedroom neo-colonial home – boasting a rare wind-up music box, a guest bedroom with its own indoor balcony and the largest privately owned solar power array in the country – was put up for sale this month by its US owners.

Perched in the hills above the suburb of Ohauiti, the house dubbed the Majestic Haven forms the centrepiece of a 43ha estate, taking in a pine forest, streams and a solar panel array capable of generating 30Kw of power.

Buyers are principally being sought in overseas campaigns and agent Julie Hignett of Anthem NZ and the owners opted against holding open homes.

“It’s just not that calibre,” said Ms Hignett.

She will show prospective buyers the manor for a $400 fee, which she believed would separate out serious buyers.

It was something Real Estate Institute of New Zealand president Helen O’Sullivan had never seen before in a big sale. “I guess what they are aiming to do is avoiding too many tyre-kickers,” she said.

I’d certainly hope one is treated to bubbles and canapes upon arrival! Somehow I don’t think this practice will take off in the east of Christchurch…