The price of property / the price of talent – why the secrecy?

by Alistair Helm in


I have in the past commented about the fact that a significant number of properties on the market are advertised without an asking price – the endless substitutes of “By Negotiation”, “Offers”, “Auction” and “Price on Application” to name but a few amount to over 11,600 properties on the market today. It is my opinion that all properties should be presented for sale with a clear indicative price – this is the way property is marketed in most other countries, so why are we so different here is NZ?

The answer may have been provided by the article I found today by a respected commentator on the HR industry – Richard Westney in his article dramatically titled “Show me the Money!!” shares the very same surprise and frustration as to why job adverts are not posted more often with a salary range. He smartly in his article draws reference to the potential for this behaviour to be hard wired into the kiwi mentality after all, he says “We do the same with houses. Everyone has an idea of what they want when they are selling, so why not just say so?

Richard I salute you for championing this issue, even if property is not your forte!

What I found very enlightening in this comparison between advertising of jobs and homes was the comments from readers of his article. A valid comment was made as to confidential information of a salary range for the recruitment within a company where the role being advertised might have incumbents on the same level. This question was answered very well in the ensuing dialogue. However returning to the property market, such an excuse would have no foundation as there are no identical properties which could take harm from such information becoming public – in most cases such information is seen as beneficial.

Property for sale should have a clear price or at least price range. I believe that a lot of the current frustrations in the Auckland property market in particular result from buyers seeking out properties based on CV and setting their expectations based on this (no need to reiterate how I think this is so misleading and should be ditched!). If agents were to advertise property with a realistic expectation of the likely price range we may find that the buyers approach property more realistically, thereby avoiding wasting their time (and money) on property that turns out to be beyond their budget. That would bring more efficiency to the market, all it would take would be a bit more transparency.