Real estate in New Zealand the hard numbers for 2012

by Alistair Helm in


In 2012 the NZ real estate industry sold exactly 74,000 properties for a total sales value of $33.954 billion. These transactions of residential property were undertaken by an average of 9,400 active agents who listed 132,494 properties in the year and shared amongst themselves and their business owners and franchise companies just over $900 million in sales commissions.

2012 was by recent year comparisons, a good year for the real estate industry – the year saw an increase of 12,731 in the number of properties sold, a 21% increase. In terms of commission an increase of $175 million a 24% increase.

In the past few years the number of agents actively involved in the industry has not change that much, which means most agents enjoyed a significant rise in salary as compared to 2011 – far above the raise most employees would enjoy. That though is the nature and challenge of real estate – you take the rough with the smooth on a commission-only salary as a self employed contractor. The years of 2008 to 2010 were lean years for many in the industry.

Now when it comes to how much an agent earns it is not possible to simply divide the commission value of the sale by the 9,437 agents to say each earned on average $96,000 – that average would likely incite hoards of people to start applying tomorrow to be an agent given that is probably 2.5 times the average salary of NZ’ers.

For the full detail of agent income in 2012 check out this analysis by region as well as the question where is the best place to be a real estate agent?

Whilst the agents themselves may not have benefited from all of this $900 million, one direct beneficiary is though the government. The GST on commissions alone amounts to $136 million plus an income tax benefit of around a further $115 million makes a tidy quarter of a billion dollars in tax benefit to the government.