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Alistair Helm takes a hard look at the real estate spin over 'tight listings' and short 'days-to-sell' data to get a more realistic view of market conditions

Alistair Helm takes a hard look at the real estate spin over 'tight listings' and short 'days-to-sell' data to get a more realistic view of market conditions

By Alistair Helm*

As an active buyer searching for your next home, in what we are constantly being told is a very tight property market with an acute shortage of property, you might be surprised to learn that across the country half of all the properties on the market today have been for sale for more than 3 months.

In fact 1 in 4 of all properties for sale today have been on the market since before Christmas 2013.

The fact is, as with everything these days we tend to focus on the new, the latest and the current.

We tend to look no further than the first page online when it comes to search results and property searching.

Step beyond the first 3 pages on and you will discover another 1,923 pages (20 properties to a page) full of properties all fighting for your attention.

I was drawn to examine the make up of the stock of properties on the market when I saw quoted the other day the fact that in the UK 25% of homes on the market had been on the market before Easter - fact I found amazing.

It prompted me to examine the extent to which this was true in NZ. The fact is in NZ overall close to 40% of all properties were on the market before Easter. 

This classic long-tail is more acute outside of the main 3 cities of Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

Across provincial NZ there are currently over 27,000 properties for sale of which less than 1 in 5 were added in the month of September, with 6 out of 10 being listed more than 3 months ago. So much for the belief that the typical "days to sell" measure as reported by REINZ in August was 38 days.

The fact is that a lot of properties take a long while to sell and often are re-listed more than once by a different real estate agent.

It is only the final selling agent that declares to REINZ the days-to-sell as to how long it took them to sell the property from the date of the listing agreement, not how long the average house takes to sell from first listing day to final unconditional contract.

Some markets though do exhibit a very different distribution of aged-property.

At the other extreme Christchurch exhibits a very different make up of property for sale on the market. In this much tighter market where less than a third of all properties have been on the market for more than 3 months and properties listed for more than a month only represent 58%, compared to 82% across provincial NZ.

Auckland as would be expected has a high proportion of newer listings, but in fact lags considerably behind Christchurch.

Again despite the constant commentary about the shortage of listings, fully 1 in 8 of all properties on the market today have been for sale since Christmas, fully a third have been on the market for more than 3 months.

For Wellington its inventory of property for sale totalling 2,362 listings has 45% of all listings - a total of over 1,000 properties that have been on the market for more than 3 months and similar to Auckland 1 in 8 (over 300 properties) have been on the market since Christmas - as yet unable to find a buyer.


The above article was written by Alistair Helm, and is republished with his approval. The article was originally published on Properazzi here.

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Couldn't agree with you more regarding the length of time some of these houses have been on the market.I find that on the Trade Me website houses for sale appear then disappear then appear again with a new date of listing.Where as the Allrealestate website has the oeriginal listing date on it.


I could scratch around and probably find you properties that have been on the market for over four years and are still unsold. Some others that are reasonably close by have finally sold after 4-5 years on the market.


Anything will sell for the right price - vendors expectations are obviously not aligned with where the market is...




These numbers are pretty useless without a historical average to compare to, unfortunately. This is just as likely completely normal, or even a relatively low level of properties on the market for a while.

There are always a lot of people with properties on the market who are not really in any hurry to sell, and just set high prices/don't bother with open homes etc. Especially if you base date on cheap to market properties on websites.


Great , at least we have someone looking beyond the superfical stats that roll across desks.

And yes there are many houses in the area I have monitored been on the market for long periods... as mentioned  leaky homes , ex leaky homes and bad LIMS

And another area to look closely at is short re sales...IE A do upper, then sold 3 to 4 months later....which in the area outside Auckland being monitored has been approx just under 1/3 of total sales for the last 6 or 7 least.


Which for those who simply look at rental trends....don understand that a 'low end' house with a new kitchen, carpets bathroom etc WILL demand higher rents....So rather a lift in rents being seen we have a dramatic lift in quality of home causing increased rents.

Now again for those who look at desk top stats  re ppl now living on cars  type of stuff increasing....basically its not shortage, but they can not afforsd to pay the increased rent in the re furnished house they where in 3 months previous.. or have a rental ' record ' of not looking after the house.

It is good , for once , to actually see someone looking close at what is behind stats... shame it takes another market 'anomoly' on the other side of the world to realise it.