The housing market downturn spread to the whole of the country in the second quarter of this year, with real estate agency commissions $100m lower in Q2 than last year

The housing market downturn spread to the whole of the country in the second quarter of this year, with real estate agency commissions $100m lower in Q2 than last year

By Greg Ninness

The downturn in the residential property market that began in Auckland late last year has now spread throughout the country, shaving $100 million from real estate agency commissions in the second quarter of this year.

Interest.co.nz’s latest quarterly estimates of market activity and real estate industry commissions (based on REINZ’s published sales data) shows that there were 19,113 residential properties sold in the second quarter of this year, almost unchanged from the 19,064 sales in the first quarter.

However that was down by 25% compared to the second quarter of last year when 25,507 residential properties were sold.

That sharp downturn in the number of properties being sold has had a flow on effect on the amount of sales commission being earned by the real estate industry.

Interest.co.nz estimates that the real estate industry earned around $367.8 million in gross commissions from residential sales in the second quarter of this year, down by just over $100 million (-21.6%) compared to the estimated $468.6 million that was earned in the second quarter of last year when the market was still in boom mode.

Auckland agents hit hardest

The Auckland market has borne the brunt of the downturn, with the number of sales in the region down by just over a third, dropping from 8731 in the second quarter of last year to 5756 in the second quarter of this year, a decline of 2975 (-34%).

There was a corresponding drop in the estimated sales commissions earned by the industry in Auckland, which declined by $71.4m million (-32%), falling from $223.4 million in the second quarter of last year to $152.9 million in the second quarter of this year.

But the downturn has spread well beyond Auckland with sales throughout the country well down in the second quarter of this year compared to the same period of last year (see table below).

In the Waikato and Bay of Plenty sales in the second quarter were down 26% and 31% respectively compared to the second quarter of last year, which also pushed the estimated industry commissions much lower in those regions.

Even regions such as Wellington and Otago, which remained in boom mode long after the market subsided in Auckland, have seen sales decline substantially in the second quarter of this year compared to the same period of last year.

While it is too soon to say whether the current downturn has run its course or the market has further to fall, there are tentative signs it may have bottomed out.

Average sales rates at the major Auckland auctions are still running at less than half of what they were during last year’s peak, however over the last few weeks they appear to have stabilised at around 30% to 40%.

And there are increasing signs that vendors are accepting that the market has softened and are starting to be more realistic in their price expectations, which will help expedite sales.

However buyers are increasingly prepared to play hardball on price, and some investors who over-extended themselves and took on high levels of debt during the boom will be starting to feel squeezed. Others that aren’t feeling the pressure yet are likely to be getting nervous.

The overall sentiment in the residential property market is one of heightened caution and in the near term at least, the market is likely to remain tough.

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25
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Oh my heart bleeds for all those little RE's NOT!!

Time to cut your commission rates to more realistic levels. If 1% is good enough for London RE' s then it's certainly good enough for Auckland Estate agents.
Stop being so greedy.

16
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Toronto House Prices Crash 192k since April.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hGL0ysImPCo

Auckland Albany House Prices Dive 13.5%
https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/property/94154549/house-prices-dive-in-...

The Crash Is Coming.

You keep repeating that same post every day on different articles.

16
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Yes. Until the mainstream media stop hiding from it !

John Wheeler also add that more is yet to come.

Yes and here it is: Vancouver Homeowners Should Be Cheering A Crash, Not A Correction
https://betterdwelling.com/city/vancouver/vancouver-homeowners-should-be...

And before the RE's start complaining how this is relevant, well firstly you may want to read the article. Secondly they're decelerating at around the same rate we are, and guess what their market was just as heavily influenced by foreign buyers as ours was. But at least they had the good sense to collect some tax revenue from them before the gate closed.

I actually agree with the gist of that article that Sharp Drops Are Better Than Prolonged Smaller Negative Numbers.

15
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Hahaha, just the same way you try to talk up the market at least a dozen times in each article :)

john wheeler is a one trick pony.

His name is Robert Paulson

Double-GZ - And for my second trick .......... I notice you real estate agents commenting on this forum have very little likes. LOL. You guys will be mowing lawns soon.

RE agent? LOL congrats for scoring 0% in your guessing game.

Congrats to John Wheeler from NYC
Keep up your great work
DubleD & Zach like Trump clones. Hopeless self centric individuals in my opinion they are just taxpayer subsidized landlords through the benefit system & middle class working for families policies and of course bank debt
72K migrant record ! Must be like hell on the roads in Super City Auckland now

L

Headline should read "MIGHTY MANAWATU SHINES BRIGHT AS THE ONLY REGION WITH INCREASED COMMISSIONS"

Time to cut your commission rates to more realistic levels. If 1% is good enough for London RE' s then it's certainly good enough for Auckland Estate agents.
Stop being so greedy.

Greed? Really? Does working on 100% commission also mean that you should share the same altruism as the Salvation Army? If selling real estate is such a ruthless profession, what is an appropriate benchmark? What is a more "honorable" career path? Climbing through the ranks at the council?

The real question for me is why is the commission 2-3 times that of the UK? Do NZ REAs do 2-3x as good a job as UK agents? If I was selling over here I'd sooner do it myself than pay 2-3%.

Try 6% in the US!!

It's amazing what people seem to be prepared to put up with

Source? I think they have been reported as loer.

Sales volume is at least 3x greater in London compared to Auckland. There are many variables to consider. The agents are not to blame for that.

Sales volume in Auckland is 2-3x that of Christchurch, is that relevant?

No because logic doesn't apply here apparently.

That's just one variable. Please go on.

To get the prices that some people pay for essentially wooden sheds with fancy wallpaper I would say they absolutely do 2-3 x as good a job as London RE agents, they're nearing on magicians.

Apparently 10% of Trademe listings are private sales, I'd be interested to see any evidence that they receive significantly less. You'd think the REAs would be knocking out this kind of research to strengthen their hands.

http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/money/63159349/private-home-sales-too-fr...

Another interesting tidbit from that article;

"So what do you get for the average commission of roughly $18,000, plus GST?

Helm's analysis suggests most of an agent's time is spent, not marketing and selling your property, but hunting and competing with other agents for listings.

It is massively unproductive and inefficient, he says. "Too many agents fighting over too few clients."

I'm no apologist for real estate agents but I'd be surprised if they didn't get at least 4% more than a private sale. Still, that doesn't mean they should receive that 4%.

mfd - I used to use agents for about 20 properties that i sold. Then I just put them on trade me and sold about 20 myself personally. I got better prices selling myself because the agents I used would list low to sell fast. For a cheap house say 160k list price according to an agent , I could sell on trade me for about 175k to 180k . And then have NO FEES. This could make any easy 30k difference. Pay for a Registered Valuation from a company with integrity and just use that as the price. Give a copy to anyone interested via email. Maybe even give half the commission saved to the new family so they have instant equity. Sometimes I would even give the full commission saved to a new owner. Use this method and I guarantee it will sell like hot cakes. And still make more than using an agent.

Well blow me down. An investor with generosity. Await the tirade.

Well blow me down. An investor with generosity. Await the tirade.

Good stuff, thanks for the feedback. Best way to revolt against the fees is to vote with your feet.

RE's take no bloody risk for the property yet take a chunk of the sale price! At the peak of the market how much of advertising and work is actually done to justify the commission? If you give a vendor a minimum value the property is to sell and the house sells for that then yes, the vendor and the RE get what they expect. If the RE cant get that then he/she has failed to do their job. If the vendor is unrealistic then the RE should not take on the job.....simple as that. In this downturn, the RE's are going to work for that commission!!
I have no sympathy for RE's, especially with all the dodgy stories to have featured last year.

Even in Australia the commission is 1% - 1.5%. Plus around $3k in marketing costs.

J.C,

REs are not in a profession and for most,it's not a career either. Their numbers swell when the good times roll and then fall quickly in a downturn. The commission rates here are absurd;I sold properties in Scotland in 2003 and 2010 and paid 1% both times and believe me the agents weren't starving,they rolled up in their BMWs or Audis.

RE agents I have found to include some very poor business practitioners with the occasional standout star.
Even the top sales people can leave you in the lurch I have experienced
Buying property in NZ is easier than here anyway. Went through 4 agents before finding a great one which is on par with Auckland nearly.
What is the percentage per 100K you are paying in yearly rates ( property tax) today ?
Of course there's no rapid transit system in Auckland just billions of city debt. Time to start true taxation on Aucklands elite properties and stop burdening the working class suburbs with disproportionate rating to value.

Demand that your real estate agent provides you with a LIM and building report - at no expense to yourself as a prospective purchaser.

Also, haggle hard over the commission. I heard of a vendor who bargained hard and got a rate of 2.6% (flat) from a big-name agency recently, which sounds pretty good compared with what I was hearing a year or so ago.

Real estate agents have had it good the last 3-4 years. Some have had huge earnings. It won't hurt them to live off the fat for a while. Or they can find another career.

Few have already swapped their swanky BMW M Sport, Merc AMG, Audi RS down to Lexus

Desperate times call for desperate measures, I guess.

At least Lexuses seem to have indicators as standard equipment, where it seems many Audi drives don't tick that option on the accessories sheet.

When did Audi become the ride of choice for idiots? Shame really I used to think they were nice cars.

There may be some cheap BMWs, Audis or Mercedes on the market soon.
I believe most are leased so the cost can be offset against their taxes.

The Real Estate Agents certainly played a part in propping up the Housing Market, and who could blame them when easy money was to be had.

Now that money's gone, I would assume a lot of these REs will seek a change in career especially if there are less commissions all around. The good ones will stay, as they should, but those late to the gig will have to go.

Of those left, the only thing they would care about is money (commissions) coming in. 50% of something is better than 100% of nothing. And if we are now in a downturn aka buyer's market, then expect the Real Estate Agents themselves to set the seller's expectations accordingly.

RE Agents giveth, RE Agents taketh away

Wow, fall of 70M in Auckland just in one quarter.. there has to be a dropout in RE agents... plus the IRD shakeup can only mean unemployment to rise.... hope the government has enough in its coffers...

I hope Audi and Range Rover program food bank locations into their sat navs.
The sales table is interesting - sales down in all areas. What happened to the "hot" provinces some have been banging on about?

33
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Let the fall continue!! We live close to a major RE agent office and they are just about the most smug, dim witted yet incredibly arrogant bunch of people you could imagine.

I certainly hope on their reduced incomes they can continue to service the loans for their own property portfolios. The last thing the market needs is for a string of mortgagee sales because of cash strapped RE Agents. Shall we start a give a little fund, if only to protect our own interests?

Most of the ones I know have vast investment portfolios - all financed through mates in various mortgage brokerages. Many borrow to the hilt to finance an unsustainable lifestyle which seems to include large amounts of overseas travel - even when they are selling your home?!
Having said that - the good salespeople can often earn more in a downturn than at other times.

Expect to see some downward pressure on car salesman and gravedigger wages in the coming quarter as RE agents move jobs.

Skilled agents make money in toxic times as do skilled property investors! I see the daffodils are starting to shoot which means more houses being prepared for fewer buyers!

RE agents and the firms live on volume so they will be hurting. Circa 30,000 agents exited during the gfc. Pros stay, part timers move on. Expect a lot of part timers to be ejected.

They will all be having workshops on how to get sellers to auction at all costs, and then how to bully sellers to take less money. After all no sale, no cigar....for anyone.

Always Be Closing!

They will all be having workshops on how to ... bully sellers to take less money.

Also a common tactic of property seminar providers - get all the mates to low-bid property owners to change their expectations to below a reasonable market price.

A lot of them will also be property speculators who won't want to see prices dropping which creates an interesting conflict for them doesn't it?

One house in Pakuranga bought last year in February / March for appox $850000 was in market and the highest bid was of $800000.

Was bought by a Chinese and given on rent but now as situation has changed and worried that may go down further or may be no holding capacity is ready to sell at less and when you add agents commission will loose anywhere between $50000 to $800000.

Unless they have been in this business and doing it for number of years and have made heaps of profit earlier can afford to take the hit but..........

People who have bought in last year or two and are now wanting to sell are hardest hit but if can hold for long time will be fine not otherwise.

I am sure that if they invested on the fundamentals - yield and serviceability - as opposed to short term (or perhaps even mid term) capital gains, they'll be fine :)

11
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Average rent for a three bedroom house in Auckland $590/week - $30,680/year - May 2017 (from http://www.trademe.co.nz/property/price-index/for-rent/).
Average price for a three bedroom house in Auckland - $924 250 - May 2017 (from here http://www.trademe.co.nz/property/price-index/for-sale/may-2017/)

Yield = 3.3%

Weekly payments on a 30-year $739,400 mortgage at 4.5% =$864

Great fundamentals!

The stats are probably a little better than that as the average rental is worth less than the average house (owner occupier houses tend to be nicer & more expensive than rentals). Yields might even get to the giddy highs of over 4% (before costs, of course). Still a long way from being tempting.

Good point.

For $590/week to just cover the mortgage payments on a 30-year term at 4.50% requires a mortgage of $504,930 which implies a sale price of $631,162. Giving a yield of 4.8%.

If there's no capital gains your investment is bleeding money at a historically very low interest rate. Great investment option....

That is not what we were told at a property seminar I attended recently
In fact, they said, "now is the time to invest to get on the road to riches by buying cheap houses in a falling market". Last year they said "buy now and make huge sums from the tax free capital gain."

Wait until next year when they come off that super low 4.5% fixed mortgage into 5.5% or higher environment.

Add the 5% to 10% price drop in market value of the original investment.

We at negative yields yet?

11
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Know few friends who were FHB buyer and were after a house but now when price has fallen are afraid and want to wait so now not only speculators but even FHB have realized that now their is no harm in waiting.

I also know few friends who have been FHB buyers and they have been waiting since 2009 (thanks to BH)! A few more years their kids will fly the renting "nest" while they continue to wait.

Double-GZ In a few more years they will be buying with CASH.

Long term should be fine because...why? What muiltple of average income will a house be? It's already 10x in Auckland, are you picking 12x...15x...infinity? I think they are right to get out now, those multiples will be a thing of the past.if you think multiples will go upward from 10x, can you please explain why?

No no no, we're all going to double our incomes driving Uber or something!

Just wait until Auckland catches up to Christchurch. Saw one house purchased for $620k in 2013 now on offer for $530k. Rent has dropped from $450 a week to $350 a week. I doubt the vendor will even get $530k for it as its a total dump.

I agree with the sentiment and the same will happen in Auckland however you example seems very weird for christchurch. At that time you could have for 620k a four bedroom, modern (less than5 years old) property in a central area, say within 6km from CHCh central for that money. Far from a dump, these properties peaked at 7-720k and now selling for around 680-700k. Your example if true reflects a very poor purchase on the market at the time.

Their will be many example if one looks into it and most are people who have bought in last year or two and facing the heat (definitely not FHB as they need house to stay and will not sell immediately)

Should we start a Givealittle page for them? It would be ironic if they ended up homeless LOL

And should we feel sorry for them ?

Sold at auction for 1,289,000 RV 1,725,000
Lowest valuation 1,920,000
https://www.trademe.co.nz/property/insights/address/Auckland/Devonport/C...
Has the panic started?

Does this tell you something?
Wall construction: Roughcast, including stucco and all modern texture coat finishes

water tightness issues?

Double-GZ It tells me what it is. The Market Is Crashing.

Probably that story about the huge rat issue in Devonport, oh and the election.

Just wanted to reconfirm the sale price was 1,289,000, & not a typo. That is quite a large amount below CV/RV. Were there any problems for the property e.g leaky home, leasehold, etc.

CN, here is a YouTube video of the property:
https://youtu.be/1z9wAEhoClI

Thank you

Ge zus someone's taken a bath on that. Actually no it hadn't been sold in a while

If the money is laundered, they're not that fussed by a massive return, some money is better than no money...

Bang on. This is the only reason that overseas buyer are or were buying in NZ but now with China government control has become difficult

Well part of the story..California is still going up with their money...so possibly we are far from first choice option.

Passed in at auction http://harcourts.co.nz/Property/812962/GED170602/471-Scenic-Drive
lowest estimate 730k RV 500k
Listed with a 580 buy price
Looks like the brown stuff is hitting the fan

13
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Every house an investor has to sell at a loss cannot be a bad thing.
It will free up houses for owner occupiers. The more investors that go to the wall the better for everyone.
The people I feel sorry for are first home buyers who will end up owing the bank more than their house is worth.
Chinese just want to launder their money into houses and get it out of China, they will not be affected.

With respect your comment is one of the most offensive things I've read in a while. So you're effectively wishing myself & other hard working kiwis default and go bankrupt or that my parents with a retirement fund in their modest rental lose everything. Well I hope your job cuts your salary so they can afford to employ someone else that's looking for a job.

11
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But you expect renters to be slaves for the rest of their lives and be happy about it? Darklords appear to want to have their cake and eat it too...shame. Flawed paradigm really.

Some opt to rent because they want to enjoy more disposable income or choose to invest in shares/bonds/race horses whatever. Not everyone shares home ownership dreams and it's incredibly narrow minded of you to assume otherwise. But would assume your a bitter renter so will take your comment with a grain of salt

Ultimately housing is priced way to high, we could well be at the top of a bubble, so just hope you and the parents haven't purchased recently and don't have too much debt.

I have little compassion for darklords in this country. They've pushed the costs of housing through the roof (excuse the pun) by speculating on captital gains. As a result many young families are priced out of the market or have been sucked in and won't have much of a life for the next 30 years because of the mountain of debt they now have.

You speak from what is beneficial to you and if we live in a country that promotes equality, then I shall be allowed to hold a position that is beneficial to me. And you say you don't want to see a crash and that fine I respect that, but that you should also respect the opinions of those who do want to see a crash for that will be beneficial to them. You can't have your cake and eat it too. But thats right, property only goes up in NZ and if you're not in the pro-property party you're opinion is 'offensive' Sorry about that.

11
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I'm confident that property speculators who go tits up will be afforded the same level of empathy and goodwill that they've shown towards priced out families and exploited renters. Hope they didn't indulge in offensive gloating and victim blaming. Oh, whoops, too late.

Very happy. "Median house prices are now over 15 times annual wages for the Central Lakes Otago region, and over 13 times annual wages for the Auckland-Thames-Coromandel region." http://www.nzherald.co.nz/property/news/article.cfm?c_id=8&objectid=1189...

Not sure if you believe in karma or not DGZ but you're cruising for a bruising...

Glad you are happy too.

Are you Kim Jong uns brother? Both of you sound evil

Houses Not Overpriced please say something nice and be positive. There are anger management courses out there that might help. Just a suggestion.

Happy that P is really working for you.. I'm not angry.. if the hat suits you, take it up

Well a lot or those DarkLord landlord who have borrowed speculative over the years using their property portfolio are now becoming unstuck since most banks will only lend to them on individual values of their properties. This is very much going to effect them when they need to renew their investment mortgages as banks restrictions hit further due to fears over negative equity. Basically they are stuffed.

I do hope anybody overindebted that has been part of the problem suffers the consequences.

Prices need to fall so that the average salary earner can afford the average house. The current price to income ratio is simply unsustainable, it needs to go back to the long term average. Whatever collateral damage this causes, so be it, the die is cast on that. Lots of people will lose lots of equity. It's not a value judgement on them, but that is simply something that will happen.

Of course they are, its all about me attitude...no different attitude to the property owning class , which I am a part.

itsme---- They will be affected when Peters gets into power and places a caveat over there investment properties so they cant sell. And Yes it will free up houses for owner occupiers two fold because those Chinese Investment properties where empty all along. I wonder who gets the money when the new Government takes control of the properties and sells them on ??? I hope it goes to young families out there who need a basic human right called a HOME !

10
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A Chain Reaction Of Uncertainty In The Property Market is just the beginning of the end of the ponzi that was happening in NZ.

Thanks to support and protection from national government.

No market like uncertainty be it share market or house market and once it creeps in and market starts to fall than the result is bad and this is just the beginning. In this market a week is too long and will be interesting to see what happens next month, if it continues, the way it is and by election ....................

Are the commissions normally twice the rest of the country or just this period?

I would say a Lexus was a move up

To be fair, most are likely just leased, so it is a business expense, and to give the impression of huge success and wealth. But agents with expensive looking cars actually makes me trust them less. I like agents who slum it with the rest of us, in their 10 year old Jap import.

Anyone keeping an eye out for RE agents' leased cars abandoned at the airport?

It is a bit like the wealthy Chinese that come here. They buy the most expensive cars etc and then think we look up to them and respect them. As far as I am concerned, I despise them and ask myself "did the money come from drugs or corruption in China."
Same as a RE agent in a flash car, I ask myself "how many people has he ripped off to get this."

max 3.5k a month, they can always option to a lower MV.

A drop of 70million , what was the average Auckland commission before this bubble ,

Propertyminx one would think that a elderly father or yourself and many others would be ok if house prices went down 10 to 20%, even 30 to 40%, first of your father would already have the house he living in and I'm guessing with age and limited time to pay off a rental would have put a decent deposit down, younger people have time but still would have put down a 40% deposit so as long as u were happy with the monthly payments just carry on, your mortgage is probably 30 years so interest rates might change a little over this period but prices will change to, the hardest thing with rentals is it is a long term thing and 30 years is a long time, anything could happen, most young people can't handle it

Thanks O4 normal for the moderate reasonable contribution, seems a rarity on here.

Thank you for sharing this article DGZ ... I hope everyone reads it and learn how it is done instead of moaning or just being envious of others.

Benjamin Franklin — 'Instead of cursing the darkness, light a candle.' -- originally a chinese proverb

Hmmm.. I refuse to click on the link (and give it page views) but let me guess

Double Income. No kids. Sick of corporate world. Saved heaps and quit.

Not uncommon, but shouldn't be glorified either. It's easy to retire when you don't have any kids / future to think about. Not saying not having kids is bad, I'm just saying this article (if my guesses are correct) is as stupid as "I bought a house when I was 25 by saving heaps (and a $200k inheritance)"

And of course it is possible for just about anyone to do this BUT, it is impossible for everyone to do it, because in order for one person to get more than their fair share before their time, then many others have to forego, such as the tenants in your rental properties, no-one is going to get anywhere if every person or family owns their own home and a handful of rentals, are they?

You're bang on about the first couple featured, It exec and Marketing manager with three houses between them.

The second couple are much more interesting though:
"Interestingly, it's not just high earners for whom early retirement is possible. The programme focuses on the efforts of another couple who want to quit their jobs before they turn 50.

"Ideally it would have been earlier, but I'm pregnant again," says Nicola Richardson, 30, who lives in Darlington, County Durham, with her partner Dave and their 1-year-old son, Alfie. Nicola is a part-time teacher; Dave is a postman. Their combined income is around £28,000 ($50,000)."

Of course they haven't actually retired yet, and still owe $214,000 on their mortgage.

Same sort of article features regularly through the years - and it's always a high flying corporate top 5 percenter

Eco Bird- I dont think anyone is envious of DGZ. LOL.

Winter is coming

Tony Alexander said property values would never drop....
Will the Vain One eat humble pie?

No they would rather choke on it first then admit that they've been wrong.

Another great report from Tony Alexander this week:
http://tonyalexander.co.nz/topics/regular-publications/bnz-weekly-overvi...

All i saw was buy a house quick as it will make us all rich. What a simple world bankers live in...

That and arguing against saving too much for retirement in case Super gets means tested like it is in Australia. Yes, he really said that.