Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Manager's Comments 21-12-15

Season’s greetings to all our vendor clients, buyers, open home visitors and your families. Thank you for your support this year, we hope to help you in the future, again, and again. We strive for ‘clients for life’ at Harcourts. Clients become friends and immediately the real estate transaction becomes a lot lighter and is fun. Two friends seeking a great result together in mutual trust and respect.
We trust you will have a great Taranaki summer. The Te Kupenga International Stone Sculpture Symposium begins New Year ’s Day on the Walkway. WOMAD arrives late March. In between the New Plymouth summer is a great thing to enjoy, lots going on, get your fill. All the very best from your Real Estate professionals at Harcourts.

John Christiansen

Monday, 7 December 2015

Manager's Comments 8-12-15

Well, the scramble is now on. Sell before the close of business Christmas Eve – or wait 2 weeks until the buyers are back, 5th January for the keen ones, mid January for the majority. You have 3 weeks. What are you doing to stand out from the competition? Have you revised price, marketing, exposure over Christmas?
Our last BluePrint of 2015 is published 19 December. It has a shelf life of 3 weeks until the next edition 10 January. Serious sellers need a good prominent ad in that 19 December issue. Talk to your agent now about securing the space, revising the ad and setting yourself up to exposure to buyers, latent buyers and visitors through the holiday period.

John Christiansen

Monday, 23 November 2015

Manager's Comments 23-11-15

REMINDER. To have your deal settled in January, you need to do a review now. Time is marching on; Christmas madness is already showing its head. I notice more and more Christmas parties on in town, and Christmas lights all over (doesn’t Centre City look great?). The fact is time is scurrying away. The time to act is now, or miss the boat. Talk to your agent about the marketing, the advertising, and the pricing. You may change nothing, but do the review. Harcourts has some great BluePrint specials, which may be very useful over Christmas. A full-page feature for $460 Inc. GST. Yes, full page, with editorial as well. That is unequalled value. There are special upgrades on both Open2view.co.nz and Realestate.co.nz which increase viewings and exposure many fold. Talk to your agent now; get in front of this market with your new message.

John Christiansen

Sunday, 8 November 2015

Manager's Comments 9-11-15

Get sold before Christmas, there is time, and there are buyers wanting property. We have 5 ½ weeks. Make a firm plan with your agent. Do a complete review of marketing, of price and of the cost if you’re not sold before late January. Yes, late January. On Christmas Eve the buyers are off until mid January. They lose interest; their lawyers are on holiday, its family time. If we don’t get them before Christmas Eve we wait for them to do the Christmas, New Year thing and get back into Buyer mode. Mid January. The process will take a little while, so a quick sale may take until the end of January to complete. Given your commitment now, we can make the sale happen before Christmas. Give you certainty; a worry free holiday period will be an extra reward. Do the review as soon as possible, get sold before Christmas.

John Christiansen

Sunday, 27 September 2015

Manager's Comments 28-9-15

Well, daylight saving has arrived, the weather has really turned. Now we know spring is definitely here and summer is coming. Longer daylight hours give us more time to showcase your property. Twilight open homes can be very effective from now on. This time of the year we can expect more listings to come into the market, increasing your competition. You have the advantage just now, so use it before it erodes. Make sure your marketing is effective and your pricing is reflective of comparative value. Now is a good time to liaise with your agent and review the strategy. Good sales are being made at present, be sure you get amongst them.

John Christiansen

Sunday, 13 September 2015

Manager's Comments 14-9-15

Our move into Devon Street is progressing, but it will take a while to complete the fit out to our satisfaction.  Quite a lot remains to be done, but a lot has been accomplished in 3 weeks as well. All our agents are settled into the new environment, all our IT and communications are in place. It’s functional and its productive already thanks to our amazing building & painting team led by Graeme Rogers. We feel we are home now.
The New Plymouth market is still flat-lining in a pretty positive way. 75 New Plymouth sales in August, median price bang on $350,000. It’s what we expect, steady as she goes. The 0.25% reduction in the OCR keeps the cost of mortgage money as cheap as it’s been for generations. Very few banks quote rates over 5.99%, some start with a 4. First home buyers entry to the market is easier now, their buying power up to $350,000 in New Plymouth. Spring has emerged from the cold wet winter; the days are longer and warmer. We expect the steady market to continue right up until Christmas.

John Christiansen

Monday, 31 August 2015

Manager's Comments 1-9-15

Harcourts office has moved to a new location at 51 Devon Street West, on the corner of Brougham & Devon. Our new home is a little bigger than the old one, and when completely finished will serve us well for years to come. Some of the infrastructure is still being finished, but we hope to be pretty much settled in by early next week. Nothing else has changed. We are still number 1 on line at taranakiharcourts.co.nz , we are still at P O Box 610 NP and you can call us on 0800 we sell. Business as usual, but in a new location.

John Christiansen

Sunday, 16 August 2015

Manager's Comments 17-8-15

The market has become very tough over the last 3-4 weeks. Buyers, although still very much active, are cautious and frugal. I’m not sure if it’s the winter blues, some trepidation about the future look of the local economy, or just a blip on the radar. It is fair to say good economic news in Taranaki is sparse and a rural downturn is apparent. This always filters through our local economy to some extent. However there is a feeling things here are not as focused on farm incomes as in the past. Our economy is more diverse than it was at the end of the 20th century. We are still growing our population. Employment is still high. Interest rates are minimal and funds are available. Opportunities for astute buyers are here now and that gets them moving. Price and promotion are king. Get those two in line and you take the advantage.

John Christiansen

Sunday, 19 July 2015

Manager's Comments 20-7-15

Winter is the slowest time of year for real estate sales. There are just less daylight hours and it’s often cold and wet. However buyers are not seasonal, they develop new needs all year round. Increasing family, empty nest, marriage, death, transfer, all manner of everyday issues mean people need to move house. That is why there are still buyers and sellers all year round.
One of our agents had an inner city property that was not getting the buyer interest it should have. Right price, reasonable promotion, not a lot of interest. She did what needed to be done. She changed things, upped the ante, listed the property for auction. Since the first Auction ad there has been real and constant buyer interest. This property should sell at auction; there certainly is enough buyer interest to negotiate a deal post auction at least. Have a think about your property if that scenario seems familiar. Auction can make a real difference to buyer perception. It says very loud and clear – FOR SALE NOW.

John Christiansen

Sunday, 5 July 2015

Manager's Comments 6-7-15

Our biggest month this financial year to date, 44 sales, sees us with a shortage of good stock for the buyers we have. This should help your situation, if you are still on the market. More buyers, less competition. The other side of this is of course, is that if you haven’t been getting buyer attention, something is awry. Buyers work using comparative value. Seeing value will attract their attention and ultimately an offer. If this is not the case there is a problem to be sorted. There are 2 things to look at:
1:  Marketing and Promotion. Do the market know you are selling? Is the profile high enough to ensure you are in the mix when it comes to an open home visit, a call to the agent or internet search attention?  Review that and make an adjustment if you need to.
2: The other critical factor is price. Do you offer a ‘market presence’ in the sense that when the advertising is getting attention, it tells a story of your willingness to offer comparative value? If that information is not getting through, or is unclear, then an adjustment is required there. Review the pricing strategy to get yourself considered as a viable buy in today’s market.                                        
We have buyers. They want comparative value.

John Christiansen

Sunday, 28 June 2015

Manager's Comments 22-6-15

At last the rain has gone and by and large New Plymouth has been spared the horror of major house flooding. Not so our neigbours in Wanganui.
This is a good time to count ourselves lucky and do a couple of timely little checks ensuring we continue to be safe and secure. Do you have an emergency pack? Basic first aid, water supply, canned foods, multi tool? Is there an obvious place water pools on your section that you can drain to help save house flooding? Most importantly, are you well enough insured? The horrors of flooding start with the water, but the cleanup will be long, messy and can be very expensive if gib board walls and the flooring need to be refurbished or replaced. A few extra dollars a month for a good policy to cover this sort of damage could be well worthwhile. The misery of a flooded or wind damaged house will be bad enough without worrying about getting it sorted and ready to occupy again. A good time to take stock. We have just witnessed what can be. We know the threat is real.
These events have not affected our market. It’s business as usual.

John Christiansen

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Manager's Comments 8-6-15

50% of online marketing is now searched on mobile devices, mainly smart phones, and also tablets. Desk top computers are used less and less to search for information. This trend is growing exponentially as more and more smart phones are used. One of the issues with this is that older websites don’t view easily on a smaller device. They don’t resize their content in a simple and readable format for smart phones and tablets. taranakiharcourts.co.nz and harcourts.co.nz have been redesigned to do just that. Now when 50% of our on line inquiries come in on small devices, your web presence is displayed in a good usable format, easily read, easily searched, enquiries go straight to your listing agent. Being number one on line is not only about volume, it’s about quality of service. It’s about getting your information to the buyers in the best possible way.

John Christiansen

Sunday, 24 May 2015

Manager's Comments 25-5-15

17 of our New Plymouth sales team attended the annual Harcourts Conference held over 3 days at Sky City last week. Over 1000 delegates heard from an array of fine speakers, attended several workshops, and generally ‘upskilled’ over the period. There were even a few quiet drinks with colleagues from all over New Zealand, further cementing a referral network second to none in the world. This is all part of our continuing education programme. We are required to do 20 hours every year of continuing education, but your average New Plymouth Harcourts Agent will end up doing about twice that by time the year finishes. Just another way we try to be the best realtors we can be, which is a win win situation for you and for us.

 John Christiansen

Sunday, 10 May 2015

Manager's Comments 11-5-15

The Auckland market continues to get massive publicity as it strides forward and capital gains are reported that are completely out of sync with the rest of New Zealand. Even Christchurch can’t compete with its huge shortages and multi billion dollar government post quake spending. It’s easy to see how sellers could expect some rub off in the local market, and how price expectations could lift on the back of all this hype. Don’t be fooled. The Auckland market is driven hard by a massive shortage of housing. In New Plymouth the supply is easily satisfying the demand. Rents, especially at the top end, have fallen. The Energy sector has shrunk. Farmers are tight at present. Local demand for housing has diminished. New Plymouth prices are steady, flat, showing no real growth. Competition for outstanding properties is good, but price is always a factor for our buyers. They will not pay premiums without competition. Talk to your agent about how we do that most effectively.

John Christiansen

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Manager's Comments 28-4-15

March was a big month for New Plymouth real estate. 111 sales recorded, the highest since May 2012, 34 months earlier. This is almost double the average of the last 12 months. In the halcyon days of 2005/6 these were average numbers, but I fear they are unsustainable now. There may be some investors ready to cash up as rents have dropped, but by and large we simply don’t have the available stock to sustain 100 plus sales a month in New Plymouth. We simply don’t have as many sellers. Buyers are much more astute than they were in the earlier run as well. Banks are tighter; caution is the catch cry as buyers look at options much more closely. Formal due diligence is the norm, not the exception. Our market has evolved into a more considered and measured phase. Competition for buyers however is as strong as ever.

John Christiansen

Monday, 13 April 2015

Manager's Comments 13-4-15

As winter starts to bite we reflect on another year of very flat real estate activity. There has been a gradual but quite erratic increase in sales volumes this last year, but there has been no real market change. We still have a shortage of property on the market in New Plymouth, and there are still a reasonable number of active buyers. The Buyers have been very restrained though. Although mortgage rates are as low as ever, and the banks are back into the market aggressively, buyers seek real value and are quite specific about what and where they buy – and what they are prepared to pay. Investors are particularly discerning and when pushed over their price just walk away. Winter will not help this situation. Although real estate is not seasonal, it certainly slows when daylight savings ends. Dusk is early; home buying visits after work are difficult. In this climate daytime open home activity and perfect pricing are key.

John Christiansen

Sunday, 29 March 2015

Manager's Comments 30-3-15

The Aussie cricket team did what great teams do. They lifted their intensity, played at the top of their skill set, and most importantly, they ‘knew’ they would win. They believed. They are cricket’s All Blacks. They find a way to win the tough ones and the big ones. Given the stage, they perform.
Your Harcourts Agent is a similar beast. We train & train. We practice and we study so that on ‘game day’, when there is negotiation in the air, we win. We win for you. We do need some help though. A level playing field. We need to be in the game, just like the sports teams. Take advice from your expert, skilled, fit and focused agent. Get the marketing right, get the pricing right, (or take it away), give us a big game. We will find a way to win for you; just like the All Blacks do for us and the Aussie cricketers do for them. Put us in the game. We know how to win.

John Christiansen

Sunday, 15 March 2015

Manager's Comments 16-3-15

The sales statistics for February are out, and once again demonstrate a very flat market. Only 66 New Plymouth sales, median price slips $14k to $373,000.
The competition is not from the active buyers though; it’s other properties on the market. The buyers will buy something, the best comparative value they can find. To make a sale, at some point you need to provide the best comparative value in your niche of the market. Are you positioned to do that?

John Christiansen

Monday, 9 March 2015

Manager's Comments 3-3-15

Well deja vu. Oddly we have sold exactly the same number of NP residential properties for 3 months in a row. It seems like Ground Hogg Day when I look at the statistics again. This is actually somewhat expected though; we seem to be going through a period of very steady selling, with unspectacular volumes. Sales are right across the price and location spectrum. Buyers are active in all sections of the market. What they do have in common is short arms and long pockets. Offers are very conservative and their choices are increasing daily. Money is plentiful; many 90% mortgages are again available. I am still confident we will continue to see solid if unspectacular sales numbers through 2015. Capital growth like inflation, seems to be banished from the landscape. Treat any offers with respect, buyers lose interest in difficult negotiations quite quickly, and just move onto the next opportunity.

John Christiansen

Monday, 16 February 2015

Manager's Comments 16-2-15

This market continues to be difficult. New Plymouth & Bell Block reported sales in January (61), are way down on both January 2014 (Down 15), and December 2014 (down 16). Although we continue to enjoy buyer interest, they certainly have this market under control with judicious selection of property, and conservative offers. The last 3 months of 2014 saw a lift in activity, which is yet to materialize in 2015. With more property being listed these last few weeks we hope this activity returns, but so far the buyers are still on holiday.

John Christiansen

Sunday, 4 January 2015

Manager's Comments 5-01-15

2015, the Crystal ball.

With the continuation of activity from October, November and December we expect 2015 to start with a good level of real estate activity from both sellers and buyers. Interest rates are steady, employment is high, and banks are coming to the party and the election is old news. However there are two elephants in the room as they say.

Firstly, Fonterra’s payout has plummeted. 2014 was $8.30. 2015 is forecast by Fonterra to be over 43% down to $4.70 this year. That will trickle through the Taranaki economy as farmers stop spending, as they must if milk solids prices don’t improve.

Also, the energy sector is hard hit by rapidly falling oil prices and huge over supply. Speculative exploration is no longer financially viable. Activity in our energy sector will slow down in 2015. This will bring pressure to the rental market particularly, and real estate sales generally if people begin to leave town and we see a surplus of stock. The opposite of where we have been for 2or 3 years.

Neither of these situations may last. These are both dynamic and volatile markets which can change over night. Harcourts still expect a good steady 2015 in real estate sales, but the balance is precarious and the future is uncertain. 

John Christiansen