The Property Dashboard

by Alistair Helm in

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Understanding the property market is not complicated. It is however confusing; as it is rife with data - median price / valuation / inventory / asking price / CV / GV / stratified price / truncated price / affordability index / sales volumes?

No surprise that all I ever hear from people is - "how can I make sense of all this data?"

I have studied the property market for more than 6 years and I believe there should be a simple indicator - a simple picture that, like a dashboard indicator helps you see what the market looks like today. 

That is why I have developed The Property Dashboard which provides a visual cue as to the state of the market. The pointer reflects in which of 3 states the market is in - a balanced market, a sellers market or a buyers market.

The dashboard indicator shows a single number which is the available number of properties on the market for sale relative to the number of sales measured in number of weeks of supply. What determines the position of the indicator on the dashboard is dictated by calculations based on over 5 years of data sourced from REINZ and It is the relative position of the indicator to the segments in green, orange and red that are key to understanding the state of the market.

What about price I hear you ask? The market price of property is a 'backward looking indicator" which is the result of a buyers market or a sellers market.

When there are too many properties on the market relative to sales the market favours buyers, these smart buyers negotiate hard and drive prices down. The opposite situation in a sellers market is where demand from buyers is strong and the supply of properties on the market is in short supply, this situation leads to buyers aggressively competing to push up property prices.

Each month the Property Dashboard will be updated to reflect the most current data. The Property Dashboard has its own header on the Properazzi website - easy to find, easy to interpret. Data will be updated around the first week of the month and accompanied by a monthly summary. The detailed dashboard comprises an individual indicator for each of the 19 regions of the country as well as an indicator for the whole of NZ. 

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.

Quarterly trend for supply and demand in the NZ property market

by Alistair Helm in

The core analysis of the property market as with any market is the balance between supply and demand. In the case of property this relates to sales and listings - the balance represented by sellers and buyers.

Each month the relevant data is published, in the case of sales by the Real Estate Institute and for listings by

In the past I have liked to aggregate these two sets of data to see the trend in these two indicators paired up. Analysed on a quarterly basis, the reports for the whole country as well as each region provide a valuable view of where the market is heading.

The last such report was published in July for the 2nd quarter of 2012. I have updated the data and provided below the charts for the final quarter of 2012 - the 3 months ending December.

Total NZ

The level of sales in the final quarter of 2012 increased again up 27% vs prior year whilst new listings were up only 4% indicating that the overall market in NZ rmains tight with a strong demand and limited supply.

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Sales in Auckland in the final quater of last year staged another leap with a 39% year on year growth, this is now the 8th straight quarter of consecutive growth. Whilst listings are showing a consistent 4 straight quarters of growth their rate of growth is far behind the growth in sales.

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Wellington saw a strong surge in sales in the final quarter up 25 on prior year, however as with so many regions the level of new listings failed to keep pace with this demand only rising 4% year on year.

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Sales in the Canterbury region were up 11% in the final quarter of 2012 with new listings up just 2%, these rises are modest as compared to the earlier period in the year; however that period was off the very low base of the earthquake in the first quarter of 2011.

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Sales in the Northland region enjoyed a strong surge in the final quarter of 2012 rising 37% year on year. The year overall has seen strong growth in sales volumes. However on the supply side listings wre down 4% in the quarter and show a steady decline in growth through the year indicating a tightening of supply.

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The property market in the Coromandel lags behind the growth in other regions of the country with sales down 3% in the final quarter following a 20% growth in Q3. On the supply side the market has seen a resurgence of listings up 11% year on year in the final quarter.

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Sales grew by 27% in the final quarter of 2012 as compared to the prior year up from 13% in the third quarter. Listigs coming onto the market though rose only 7% indicating the tightening in the market.

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Bay of Plenty

Sales surged in the final quarter of last year in the Bay of Plenty up 28% year on year, however listings are failing to respond fast enough to this surge with just a 3% rise in the quarter following a 9% fall in the prior quarter, adding to the tightening of supply in this region of the country.

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The property market in Gisborne continues to experience a strong resurgence with sales up 40% year on year in the final quarter and new listings up 14% - somewhat behind sales but tracking in the right direction to support the new highly active market.

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Central North Island

The property market in the Central North Island continues to contract with sales only up 6% in the final quarter tracking a declining trend of growth through the year. Listing equally have been seeing slower growth with the final quarter seeing a 15% decline year on year.

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Hawkes Bay

Property sales in the Hawkes Bay saw a strong surge in the final quarter of last year up 32% year on year. Listings also rose 12% to demonstrate an active and well balanced market.

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A very strong end to the year saw sales in the final 3 months of the year surge 30% in the Taranaki region a consistent growth witnessed over the whole year, however unlike other regions listings are coming onto the market in large numbers up 37% in the final 3 months of the year.

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Manawatu / Wanganui

Sales across he Manawatu Wanganui region rose 8% in the final quarter of the year with listings up 13%. The past 3 quarters have seen a faster rise in new listings than sales and this is likely leading to a larger inventory of properties on the market - good news for buyers.

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Sales in the final 3 months of the year surged 38% in the Wairarapa to see a continuation of what has been a very strong year for sales in the region. At the same time the level of new listings whilst not showing the same levels of growth is adding to the available pool of properties on the market.

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The property market in the Nelson region is continuing to show no growth. The final quarter of the year saw sales up just 2% whilst new listings fell by 3%, this trend has been seen over the past 3 quarters of 2012.

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Property sales in Marlborough surged in the final quarter of the year up 50% on the same period in 2011. The year overall has seen strong growth in sales and strong levels of new listings providing a perfect environment for property sales.

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West Coast

The property market on the West Coast is suffering significantly over the second half of the year having seen a strong start to 2012. The sales in the final quater were down 5)% with listings down 8%.

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Central Otago / Queenstown Lakes

In the Queenstown Lakes region including Central Otago the final quarter of 2012 saw a surprising and a significant surge in sales up 39% as compared to prior year - this following some tailing off of sales growth through the earlier part of the year. Listings which had fallen significantly earlier in the year are on the increase but there looks to be a tightness in the market.

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Sales in Otago surged in the final quater up 19% with new listings up 12% which is identical to the increase in Q3 this would seem to indicate that the market is active and well supplied with property for sale.

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Sales in Southland grew 12% year on year in the final quarter of 2012 with new listings growing ahead of this by 21%, this follows an 11% growth in new listings matched to a 2% rise in sales in Q3. This would indicate the market is active with demand but buyers have plenty of choice.

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