I fundamentally believe that access to better property data will empower property buyers, sellers as well as the real estate industry. Data needs to be timely, accurate, credible and ideally open (in the sense of access to the raw numbers).
This was my view back in 2009 when at Realestate.co.nz we put together the first NZ Property Report for March 2009. The concept of the report was to provide insight into the supply side of the property market. At the time we had insight into sales volumes and sale prices from REINZ and QV but we had no data as to number of new listings, the asking price expectations and the level of available inventory of property on the market. All vital indicators to the state of the property market.
This data is the core of a property portal, especially as Realestate.co.nz had the most comprehensive database of listings going back to 2006 when the site was launched.
We cannot claim the credit for the invention of the NZ Property Report as ever the best ideas are shared, refined and developed. I was inspired by the Rightmove House Price Index from the leading UK property portal.
There were two key principles I set down at the launch of the report:
1. The data would be collated, analysed and published on the 1st day of each month for the month just finished. This was a principle of the fact that being a website the data was accessible immediately so the report could be produced so quickly following the close of the month
2. The core data would be made open and accessible to all, so that anyone could use it to make their own analysis
Five years later and the report has grown to be of great value to a wide audience. I have created the Property Dashboard from the data. The commercial banks use the data and I know from discussions I had with the Reserve Bank Governor at the time that the data was valuable as another indicator of the market for housing, not to mention the media interest (great PR!)
So it has been with growing frustration that I have awaited the May report since the 1st of June and today is the 13th, that is 9 working days. Now I would like to point out I hold no animosity to my prior employer. I am simply an independent property consultant, analyst and commentator who relies on this information, and I have people who also rely on what I produce.
I have been patient, I sent an email to Realestate.co.nz on Friday the 6th of June requesting an update as to when the report would be published. I have not had a response to that email. I spoke to a media colleague on Tuesday the 10th to see if he had heard any information as to a date of publication, he was told that "there would be further delays and this month's Report might be a bit brief".
I believe that Realestate.co.nz has a professional responsibility to this report. If they are having trouble or have other issues they should inform their audience. They have a website to which they could post an update. They could publish the raw data to assist those who rely upon it. What I think they should not be doing is going silent.
I hope that the report will be published - today ideally. Sadly this will make it the last report of the month given we have had the Barfoot & Thompson report, the Harcourts report, the QV report and likely as not the REINZ report today - from 1st to last!
In someways not surprisingly as I was writing this piece the May report has been published 9.30am Friday 13th June. I did think that I might delete this article but I feel the comments and opinions expressed are still valid and need to be heard by Realestate.co.nz - I will leave you as the reader to judge whether thats is the case or not