Trade Me Property today released a new competitive attack on its rival Realestate.co.nz with its inaugural Property Price Index. This report provides insight into the trends in asking price by region and also by property type. In my view vital information from a credible source that will be greatly appreciated by the real estate and financial community.
In launching this new report Trade Me Property has literally picked up the baton from Realestate.co.nz - a baton it seems Realestate.co.nz was only too happy to relinquish, but this may turn out to be a decision it comes to regret in time.
The NZ Property Report from Realestate.co.nz was conceived of over 5 years ago and has become a vital insight into the supply side of the property market, data that was quoted and reviewed by financial institutions and real estate industry as well as the media. Sadly the last 12 months and especially the last 6 months has seen less and less effort focused on the report by the management of Realestate.co.nz. The lack of focus started with the timeliness. When it first came out and for the first 3 years it was published on the 1st day of each month and the media become accustomed to this information which built brand profile and credibility. Latterly however it often took until the 15th of the month before being published. Added to tardiness was incompleteness and lack of openness. The release of the monthly information ceased to be a complete report and became simply a press release and just last month the data was not even published online and no access to the raw data has been made available. At this time the online source still only shows the July report. Clearly Realestate.co.nz attach little importance to being judged and viewed as a respected knowledge base and thought leader - that is the baton that Trade Me Property is grasping.
So what is there to like about this new report from Trade Me Property?
As with all things from Trade Me there is a simplicity and clarity of communication I admire, clean graphics aid comprehension.
However the real value is in the detail. They are the first source to have segmented any property information by property type. To describe NZ property sales price by one number when that number is made up of such a variety of differing house sizes and types from apartments to townhouses and units is too simplistic but that is what all the other source do - be it REINZ or QV.
Trade Me Property Price Index details the typical listing price for 1 & 2 bedroom houses as compared to 3 & 4 bedroom houses and the trend over the past year. Who would have thought that within the headline price of property in Wellington rising at an annual rate of 6.8% that large 5+ bedroom homes are down 5.2% over the past year.
The overriding benefit of this report is timeliness, being produced on the 2nd day of the month - ahead of all other property reports on the September data. This is how it should be as a property portal has the data at its finger tips to compute and present in minutes.
As to future wishes. I hope the raw data will be published so those organisations who have found the Realestate.co.nz so valuable will have access to this alternative data which is potentially more comprehensive as it features private listings as well as licensed agents (of course the boycott of Trade Me Property by some agencies may still limit their ability to represent the whole market but statistically this data should be representative). It will also be great to get more granular data so people can see the trend in listing price for a suburb and for 1 & 2 bedroom houses in a particular suburb over time - now that would be great.
In my view Trade Me Property has made a smart move and Realestate.co.nz have dropped the ball - let's see if there is a reaction and Realestate.co.nz realise how important this move has been.