Archive for the 'Market stats' Category

Web traffic for real estate – September 2008

September turned out to be a record month for online real estate in NZ. Excluding international traffic a new high of 1,034,181 NZ unique browsers visited at least one real estate website in September.

A key to this growth (+13% vs. Sep 2007) was the traffic generated by QV’s free property valuation offer – that site alone attracted 161,478 unique browsers (there average per month is of the order of 50,000). This clearly showed the fascination people have in this country to know the value of their property – never more true at this time with uncertainty of future values.

For the month of September realestate.co.nz received 188,837 unique browser visits up 3% on the same month last year and 4% up on the August month – that as shown by the daily chart on the right results in an average daily unique visit of 12,211 placing the site firmly as the #2 in the market.

October 07 2008 | Market stats and Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

Rental property inventory growth is matched by visitor traffic growth

The level of stock of rental listings has grown markedly over the first half of the year, peaking at close to 6,500 listings before falling back slightly over the past few months – potentially a large part of this could have been as a consequence of properties being withdrawn from sale for lack of buyer interest and thereby being placed on the rental market through property managers. This was the subject of a recent post on the Unconditional blog titled “Home owners opt to rent out properties that are struggling to find buyers

The graph below shows the movement of inventory (blue bars) over the past 18 months as well as the level of web traffic (red line) to rental listings over the same period.

It is very clear from the graph the extent to which the website has grown in relevance and appeal for rental properties in NZ – from an average a year ago of around 35,000 unique browsers per month to the current level of 50,000 per month.

The website of realestate.co.nz truly delivers a comprehensive audience looking for a comprehensive presentation of available listings be that rental properties, properties for sale, commercial properties, businesses for sale, lifestyle property as well as farms and agricultural land.

October 07 2008 | Market stats and Web facts | No Comments »

Web performance of business listings

The great benefit of this blog as with blogs in general is the ability to respond to a question and in so doing share the information with a much wider audience. So it was today when I was asked about the ability of the site to provide a valuable marketing platform for business listings.

As you will see I have posted a piece on the Unconditional blog about the comprehensive content of business listings on the website at this time – close on twice the content of any other NZ business broking website, which is interestingly not one of the “usual suspects”.

When it comes to visitors the business listings section has been consistently growing in audience terms over the past 2 years since we relaunched the whole website back in 2006. This is clearly demonstrated in the graph opposite that shows quarterly average unique browser traffic to the site over the past 2 years – we are receiving on average around 12,000 unique visitors per month. Just a year ago we made further modifications to the site designed to better reflect the specific needs of the differing segments of the overall industry. We consulted widely with the Business Broking community as well as Commercial Agents to ensure their needs were adequately met.

The outcome of this work were the following changes to the Businesses section of the site:

  • Distinct and personalised look and feel to remove references to homes
  • Creation of a “confidential location” allowing listings to feature with no physical location requirement under a confidential location category
  • Reclassification of the categories of listings
  • Re-establishment of the photos for all listing, previously there was a category icon for each listing on the search results

Whilst in absolute terms the traffic to these business listings is relatively small; representing as it does some 5% of all visitors, it is traffic to just 3,500+ listings from the total of 105,000+ that are currently featured on the site which actually means that traffic per listing for business is pro-rata higher than residential!

Another very important point worth highlighting is the value that this section of the site delivers – the subscription to realestate.co.nz – just $200 per office per month brings all business listings, and residential, rural, commercial and rental. I could not help but draw comparison to the much talked about site of nzbizbuysell – their published listing costs is $98 for a basic single listing and $176 for a featured listing – and that is for 2 months! (it might be interesting for someone to share an indicative costs per month for an office subscribing for unlimited listings – which I presume they do??)

I also notice that there is no differentiation of licensed business broker listings from private advertisers! – as you well know realestate.co.nz does not feature any private listings.

So to get a clear view of the whole picture:

  • Realestate.co.nz is the most comprehensive source of business listings
  • Realestate.co.nz has designed and adapted the site to meet the needs of the industry
  • Realestate.co.nz recognises the professional integrity of business brokers and only features their listings
  • Realestate.co.nz provides the greatest value for money for a business broking office

In some ways the only issue left unanswered is the comparable level of monthly traffic РNZbizbuysell does not get monitored by Neilsen Online, whereas realestate.co.nz and realcommercial.co.nz do РI have used the services of Alexa to estimate the traffic for nzbizbuysell. The NZ ranking on Alexa for nzbizbuysell is 4,462 (that is to say according to Alexa nzbizbuysell is the 4,462nd most popular website in NZ, by comparison realcommercial.co.nz is the 10,474th most popular website in NZ, and the total realestate.co.nz website is the  96th most popular website in NZ.

Anyway I found by chance that the Century21 website was actually the 4,562nd most popular website in NZ and it has a web traffic of 14,604 unique browsers in August, I have therefore deduced that nzbizbuysell has a traffic of around 15,000 unique browsers – ahead of the business section of realestate.co.nz as shown in this graph.

September 18 2008 | Market stats and Web facts | 2 Comments »

What does online visitor duplication mean?

I was asked the question the other day by a real estate office – “so what is all this stuff about duplication of visitors across real estate websites?”

The question was prompted by a fact sheet distributed to the office showing that in the month of July the website of allrealestate.co.nz had 166,280 property seekers who visited their site and did not visit realestate.co.nz, together with 58,913 who visited both sites. The particular document with this information is available to review here.

The figures represented in this document are correct – however seen in isolation they can be misleading. It is best to see the same result for realestate.co.nz and then you begin to see the true picture. The diagram below highlights this.

In July based purely on domestic web traffic realestate.co.nz had 135,511 unique browser visits and allrealestate.co.nz had 69,751unique browser visits- there was a group of 46,166 browsers who visited both sites. Equally the figures when you include international visitors are respectively 233,565 for realestate.co.nz; 166,280 for allrealestate.co.nz and 58,913 visiting both.

The key fact that as a real estate professional you need to know is how many active buyers there are – now in NZ there are only ever around 35,000 active buyers in the market at anyone time and the reality is these buyers visit many websites and may well end up looking at both of these sites; that is why the number of duplicates at 46,166 is larger than this core group of 35,000.

The other key fact is that at anyone time there are thousands of people looking at websites for which they have no real interest – real estate is no exception. That is why there will always be a small relative overlap. The fact is that to say that you need one website because they can deliver property seekers that another one does not deliver, is not completely true as this group outside of the duplicate group more-than-likely are not actually property seekers, but just casual web browsers.

Finally another way of presenting these statistics is shown below. In the month of July of the 181,677 visitors to realestate.co.nz from within NZ – just 25% also went to allrealestate.co.nz, whereas of the 115,917 total NZ visitors to allrealestate.co.nz – 40% had already checked out realestate.co.nz.

I think that better explains overlap of audience.

August 29 2008 | Market stats | No Comments »

Real Estate market shows early spring buds!

The latest sales report for July issued this week by REINZ reflected what was clearly being talked about around the country by agents who are close to the business – transactions were being made, property has been selling and interest from buyers is clearly there.

The graph below tracks the annualised sales, together with the annualised value of the residential market since 1993, whilst on first glance its shows a bleak position, there are good signs.

Estimated total transactions for 2008 look to be around the 60,000 to 70,000 properties – pretty much the level of sales a decade ago. The sharp decline in sales which started almost a year ago is likely to be behind us as we head into the spring. As for prices the median price for July showed no change and this was reflected in the July figures published for Barfoot & Thompson for the Auckland region which shows that despite the media hype we are not as yet (and may in fact not) witnessing catastrophic property price falls across the board.

The sales statistics reflects the transactions undertaken in July, based on buyer interest in May and June, the beauty of the web is that information is available on today’s market now. This data can provide a key pointer to where the market is likely to head in the next quarter. The level of web traffic across all real estate websites remains pretty stable at or slightly ahead of last year as shown by the red line on the graph below.

What I think is very interesting and potentially far more exciting for this coming spring is the level of email enquiry from realestate.co.nz. I have analysed the statistics of the number of emails we sent to agents over the past 2 years and plotted it on the graph below.

What this shows is that on an indexed basis the level of email enquiries being generated from the website started to pick up in late May and has accelerated enormously since then to a level far above the relative level of enquiry last year, this I feel is a great indicator of growing interest in the property market again. Let’s hope these enquiries that you are receiving turn into valuable leads and sales – this is a really important time to make sure you are getting these emails, we send on average up to a thousand emails to agents everyday – have you had one this week?

August 14 2008 | Market stats | 4 Comments »

Commercial property for sale or lease on the web

I am conscious that we focus very heavily in this email and other general discussions on residential property – I am acutely aware that we are here with a website to support the whole real estate industry.

I wanted to share some key information with you in regard to the commercial property side of the site. In terms of content the high representation of content from the industry is reflected well in this category with the majority of major commercial agencies using the site – this has grown in the past year with some notable new subscribers. As a result and also as a function of the market the content of commercial listings on the website has rocketed up from just over 8,000 18 months ago to now stand at 15,000 – the most comprehensive stock of listings on any real estate website for commercial property in NZ.

Not only does our site offer rich content it draws a large audience of close to 13,000 unique browsers per month. Look at these statistics comparing the commercial section of realestate.co.nz with our competitor realcommercial.co.nz. Realestate.co.nz offers your listings twice the exposure and twice the duration of visitors to these listings.

Ammendment made 15 August

As per the comment from Glen below I have added the following key information to provide complete transparency.

  1. The data reported above in the bar chart of unique browsers and Total time is based on comparable audited data from Nielsen Online
  2. The data relates to domestic NZ traffic only – this is a consistency I use in all market information as the primary appeal for our commercial customers is domestic traffic
  3. The data for realestate.co.nz Commercial listings comes from Nielsen Online Site Census which is an internal analysis which we subscribe to and is internal data
  4. The data for international traffic of UB in July was as follows:
    • Realestate.co.nz Commercial listings 2,238 adding to the domestic of 13,045 to give a total of 15,283
    • Realcommercial international¬† 3,231adding to the domestic of 7,045 to give a total of 10,276
  5. As has been highlighted in the other comment realcommercial.co.nz also includes business listings, so to provide a true like for like comparison the data for traffic to business listings on realestate.co.nz in July was 4,247 UB in total with of these 876 international visitors. Therefore in total for business and commercial listings relaestate.co.nz delivered 19,530 UB in total in July vs. realcommercial.co.nz at 10,276

August 14 2008 | Market stats and Nielsen Online stats | 5 Comments »

Connect SF08 – The Bulls vs. Bears of the US Property market

This general session was bound to attract an eager audience of realtors keen to find out the latest predictions of the view of the market in the next 3-5 years.

The panellists comprised

  • Avram Goldman – President & CEO of Pacific Union GMAC Real Estate
  • Dottie Herman – President & CEO of Prudential Douglas Elliman
  • John Williams – Economist, Shadowstats.com
  • Noah Rosenblatt – Founder of Urbandigs.com
  • Yves Smith – Author of NakedCapitalism.com

Starting from the bear side of the picture, the outlook could not look worse with a ballooning current account deficit now amounting to a level where the debt to GDP ratio of 350% (the position during the great depression was 260%). This was however very much a function of the oil price which compounded with the low dollar had sent current account deficit to the level which if oil price come back (as people here are saying) below US$120 then the ratio would fall below 300%.

As to property prices, the level of falls is a long way off reaching a new bottom with 19% being the current level of fall nationally, however as is so often reported the local picture is vastly different – the hyper hot spots of 2004/5 being Las Vegas, Miami for example are down in some cases by 40+%, but take the Bay Area and San Francisco and you would say “what housing crash” here as in NY – people are seeing property sales activity year on year hardly change and prices barely fluctuate.

One indicator that the panel agreed upon was that the supply side of the market was now fully adjusted in respect of new homes being built – this flow has dried up, yet what is left is an inventory which on national scale is close to 12 months supply and at the extreme many (greater than 7 in some cases!) years supply.

The bulls view of the picture was less bullish and that I think pervades the view of the market over here. The sense is that the root of the problem still lies in the credit market and this is only getting worse whereas a year ago credit process has tightened up on approvals, now credit itself – the availability of the cash to fund property is now almost non existent, and the panic over the Freedie and Fannie securities over the past weeks sent shudders through an already nervous market. It should be noted that the Senate passed legislation last night to further support this underpinning of the mortgage market which as the news broke was well received by the delegates.

Some rays of light were shone by the bulls who reflected that with the state of credit there was an emerging trend that the true money in the country – the wealth of people which has not been destroyed as it has been in the past in stock market crashes is seeking out safe havens and is being seen going into real estate – it is a rock solid investment in the long term for patient investors and with prices down to somewhat more realistic levels people were snapping up bargains.

One key point in the US market is the fact that prices have fallen, but volumes have not fallen as much as in the NZ, this speaks I think to the fundamental issues – the US is a major problem driven by its own lapse processes of credit with real fundamental issues of taking the hit on way overvalued debt. In NZ the problem is not the overvalued debt but an issue of confident spooked by the scale of the US problem.

In looking for the timetable for the “bottom” of the cycle and the recovery the consensus was late 2009 for the bottom and from 2010 to 2012 for a recovery – there is a long way to go, but sales this year in the US will be around 4.1 million which is the same level as 2002/4 – the peak was 7 million in 2006.

July 25 2008 | Market stats | No Comments »

Online real estate July 2008

As with the general state of the real estate market visitor numbers to real estate websites in general remained soft in June as represented by the graph below. This graph tracks the total of 7 real estate websites for the past 2 years.

The level of visitor traffic across this collection of sites averaged 327,000 visitior sessions in June as compared to a pretty much identical 328,00 in May, these level equally are identical to thsi time last year. The positive note from these statistic is the clear view that depite the slower market for property sales and general enquiry the level of searching and activity of browsing for property has not diminished and property viewing still remains an active past time for kiwis!

In terms of performance of websites the relative traffic performance remains stable with the Top 10 sites for June as detailed here from Nielsen Online. These figures show the average daily unique browsers visiting these websites during the month and these figures rather than the total unique browsers in a month are generally now regarded as a more accurate reflection of true website visitor activity. The data clearly shows the consumer attraction to the websites that provide comprehensive data.

Looking at the tracking performance of websites the following updated graphs provide a rich analysis of the online marketplace.

July 10 2008 | Market stats and Nielsen Online stats | No Comments »

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