Archive for March, 2009
The Real Estate Institute Industry Training Organisation is conducting a study on the real estate industry. The survey which is being managed by CBA Consulting is targeted to examine the attitudes and experiences of buyers and sellers as they have interfaced with real estate salespeople and real estate agencies (offices / companies).
Coming from a market research background myself I strongly encourage you to fill out the survey. The survey should only take you 5 minutes to complete and you can either complete it anonymously or if you would like the opportunity to be in the prize draw to win $300 of petrol vouchers then just provide your name and email – all questionnaires must be completed by Monday 6th April 2009.
To start the survey just click the link here or copy and paste this URL into your browser
There has been quite a lot of press lately for a service out of the US called WalkScore (David Leggott blogged about the site in January and the Business2 blog had a post today.) Although I love the idea of WalkScore I have issues with how it generates the score. It bases the score on the distance to local amenities but ignores other environmental aspects such as the quality of the sidewalks, street frontage, crossing signals and traffic conditions.
A more complete walkability audit needs to be completed to get a true understanding of the actual walk score for a neighbourhood. This is where a local organisation Living Streets comes in. Living Streets does (among other things) walkability audits of various suburbs such as Brooklyn in Wellington (report). To give an idea of the sorts of issued raised by the audit here is a short extract on the intersection of Ohiro Road and Todman Street.
Although this intersection has an overall walkability rating of A, participants commented that they felt under pressure from vehicles turning left from Ohiro Road into Todman Street. This was partly due to the fact that vehicles have to stop and start on a hill and they need to accelerate harder to get up it, making them approach the crossing faster than they perhaps normally would.
Two of the participants also felt that the pedestrian phase was too short, not allowing pedestrians enough time to cross before turning back to the red light. Participants noted that this is a particular problem at peak times when large numbers of people are crossing at the same time.
It is recommended that more priority be given to pedestrians crossing the street, preferably by keeping the traffic light signal on red whilst pedestrians cross, allowing pedestrians to cross without feeling under pressure and in danger from turning vehicles.
If this is not possible, we would suggest at least that the pedestrian phase be extended, particularly during peak commuter hours, to allow pedestrians to cross without hurrying and putting themselves in danger of falling.
As you can see many factors have to be taken into account when determining the walkability of a suburb, not just how close is the local dairy! I can however see the day when all neighbourhoods have proper walkability audits completed and published in a machine readable format. When this happens maybe WalkScore could integrate this data as well for an even more accurate score?
Here is a great idea for a city – A walking Metro map. I can see this really working in cities that are inherently walkable such as Wellington. Every time I go to Wellington I tend to walk to most of my meetings or between the various tourist sites. A walking Metro would be a great way to encourage walking and would give visitors a sense of how easy it is to get around the city on foot.
I like the simplicity of the map and how it gives times between ‘stops’ on the map. I can see the various lines being named after buildings they pass – The ‘Government Line’ to the Beehive and other buildings, the ‘Te Papa Line’ along the waterfront and the ‘University Line’ covering a route through the university.
I’ve just seen an excellent documentary called Radiant City which follows the lives of a family living in the Evergreen suburb of Calgary, Alberta. The film documents the issues raised by urban sprawl and what effect this has on the family. My only criticism is that one proposed solution of developing our ubran centres around the New Urbanism movement is not the best in my opinion. While New Urbanism is rooted is some great concepts the end results tend to be a little twee.
In the end though the film does make you think about how we need to develop our urban centres in New Zealand. We can’t continue to expand endlessly into green field land development given the strain on services and transport. What path will New Zealand take?
PS: You may also be interested in the documentary The End of Suburbia. Not nearly as good as Radiant City but still an OK documentary on Peak Oil and the effects of suburbia.
On Saturday the whole zoodle.co.nz and realestate.co.nz team ran (well some of us, including me mostly walked!) the Round The Bays fun run. It was an amazing day and the waterfront around the bays from the CBD to St Heliers Bay really is a special part of Auckland.
Hi, You’ve most likely noticed that all of the blog posts so far have been from Alistair who does a great job of dissecting the numbers and posting interesting insights into the market on both this blog and his industry focussed Unconditional blog. Today that changes as I step up to the plate and take on a more public profile for zoodle.co.nz and hence a more active role on the blog.
I’ve been working on the site from the beginning and I’m really excited about where we want to take the site in the future. If you’ve got any suggestions for the site, comments, questions, criticisms or just want to chat about property information I’m all ears. Feel free to comment on the blog, connect on LinkedIn,call me on +64 (9) 300 4153 or via email – firstname.lastname@example.org.
The best advice for a buyer is to be the most knowledgeable party in the decision making process, more knowledgeable than the vendor or the agent – quite a challenge!
To be knowledgeable use the best tool on the market today – the web. Research all you can about the market you are looking at. Be very specific as to the area you are interested in buying into so you can be the local expert.
Zoodle provides a massive amount of valuable information on your local suburb. It shows the information on the number of sales per month, the median price, the average “days on the market” (that is how long it is taking to sell property) as well as the number of listings on the market and how the interest in property in the suburb is going in regard to viewings on realestate.co.nz.
Take the time to identify the selection of properties you are interested in and keep a check on the how many other people are “watching them” – each property on realestate.co.nz has a tracking graph to show this information for the past 4 weeks – just click the link from the number of times the listing has been viewed at the top right of the listing page. This also shows you the origin by country of property watchers. Armed with this information you can be well informed as to the level of interest overall in the local market as well as details on key properties.
Naturally you will also be aware of the benefits of setting up an email alert or RSS feeds from realestate.co.nz of new listing that match your criteria – this service is part of “My Property” service on the website. Setting up these alerts ensures you are the first to be alerted immediately a new listing comes onto the market – this will not only highlight properties that may interest you but also highlight the trends in the number of new listing numbers coming onto the market.
There is a lot of property on the market – over the past 2 years as the market has progressively cooled the number of properties on the market as featured for sale on realestate.co.nz has grown steadily from around 48,000 to over 68,000. This means that based on the rate of property sales that the number of “months worth of stock” on the market has grown from around 5 months to well over 12 months.
The graph below shows this very clearly with the area in green representing the number of residential properties on the market over the past 2 years, whilst the red bars represent the number of sales per month falling from highs of over 10,000 to the current flat level of around 4,000 per month.
The website of realestate.co.nz represents the listings of over 95% of the listings of licensed real estate agents and is therefore an accurate bell-weather of the market. More properties being searched by fewer buyers means that you can and should shop around. It is important to clarify that the figures quoted here are an estimate of the number of properties on the market. As properties are often marketed by more than one agent the number of listings shown on the website will often be more due to this “multiple listings” which appear as duplicates of the same property.
In terms of advice – firstly don’t just look at new listings, have a look a little further down the page of listings on the search results – maybe for ones that have been on the market for a few months, there may be some hidden opportunities to approach the agent to discuss a property that has not been actively viewed in recent weeks. Remember that every property on the website is currently being managed by a licensed real estate agent and is therefore genuinely “on the market” to be sold. Agents earn commission when a property is sold and therefore properties are not added on a whim – that agent is only going to earn any income when the property sells.
Think about opening up your geographical range so you can find a range of optional properties that match your criteria – don’t forget that for any property on the market, Zoodle can tell you the in-zone schools which is so important.
Subscribe to zoodle