Property has been a hot topic in the last few years, especially with the soaring value of houses in Auckland; indeed, the average price being sought by sellers nationally has gone up by 10 percent since 2014, to $569,425. Strong migration flows and low interest rates have heightened the demand for property, and the market has responded. With competition heating up, consumers are doing increasingly comprehensive research into their options, with a vast majority going online to find the information they need to make their big decision.
Across New Zealand, 337,000 people aged 20+ are planning to purchase or sell a house/flat in the next 12 months, up from 316,000 last year. 93 percent of people in the market are buyers and just over a third of these are looking for their first home, while 51 percent are in the market to sell their home.
By and large, property buyers are taking advantage of the number of options available to research their ideal piece of real estate. Researching real estate in today’s world is about spending hours on the internet every week, as well as reading real estate magazines, flicking through brochures, looking at for sale signs and billboards, and browsing real estate company window displays.
Consumers are also taking a lot of care in their decision making process. In fact, on average, property researchers use at least five resources to support their decision-making. Websites are by far the leading resource, with 83 percent of consumers saying they use digital resources for prospecting.
Trade Me Property leads the market, with 86 percent of online consumers going to the website for information. Realestate.co.nz was second with 52 percent and Harcourts was the biggest agency site, with half of online researchers visiting their site. On average though, consumers are visiting more than five websites to support their decision making.
Researchers now have the convenience of using mobile devices as well when they want further information on a property they have just seen for sale on the street, or just before going to an open home. More than a third (35%) of real estate researchers have accessed a real estate website via a mobile device, and 17% make use of property apps. Trade Me Property leads in this area as well with three quarters of mobile property researchers using their devices to access the site.
Despite this, traditional resources are also used, with more than half using specialist real estate magazines, company real estate magazines and real estate office displays and brochures. For sale signs, local newspapers and talking to friends and family are also popular.
With website research heading towards saturation, there is huge opportunity in mobile to provide consumers with timely and personalised information straight to their phone. But there is also a place for more traditional methods for these high value investments. The real objective for consumers is to learn as much as possible before they make their decision, so providing services to help them along their journey must be top of mind for the real estate industry.