New Zealand real estate agencies' commissions down an estimated 22.5% on a year ago, and down 30.5% in Auckland

By Greg Ninness

The real estate industry is facing major head winds as a slump in residential property sales volumes causes a massive decline in commission revenues.

Interest.co.nz estimates the industry earned around $318.6 million in gross commission revenue from residential property sales in the third quarter (July to September) of this year.

That's 22.5% from the $411 million it was estimated to have earned in the same period of last year.

The third quarter’s results were the fifth consecutive quarter in which the industry’s estimated commission revenue has declined, both on a month-by-month basis, and compared to the same period a year earlier.

The decline in revenue is nationwide, with all regions of the country showing declines in estimated revenue in the third quarter compared to the same period of last year. However there were big variations in the amount of annual decline, ranging from just 0.7% in Manawatu/Whanganui to 30.5% in Auckland (see chart below).

Agencies in Auckland are likely to be finding the market particularly tough. That's because the steady decline in the numbers of residential sales being made in the region has seen estimated gross commission slump 41% from a peak of $224.8 million the third quarter of 2015, to $133 million in the third quarter of this year.

Auckland September sales volumes were down 31.5% year-on-year to 1,591.

The decline in industry revenue is almost entirely due to declining sales numbers.

The latest figures from the Real Estate Institute of NZ show that the number of residential properties sold throughout the country in September was at its lowest for any September month in the last six years, and in Auckland it was at its lowest level for the month of September in the last nine years.

And although selling prices have also been softer in some markets, the falls have generally been modest, and the drop off in sales has had a far greater impact on the industry.

In some parts of the country such as Northland where there have been significant declines in the number of sales, the impact that has had on overall commissions has been moderated by rising prices.

On an annual basis, estimated commission revenue from residential sales is around $193 million lower in the September year than it was in the previous 12 months.

In a commission driven industry where income depends on results, the downturn is likely to be hitting many salespeople hard.

Earlier this month the BNZ’s chief economist Tony Alexander suggested many real estate agents would need to consider a change of career in the face of ongoing softness in the market.

Volumes sold - REINZ

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102 Comments

A 30% fall in gross revenue probably equates to a 50% fall in taxable income, given fixed expenses. So many agents will have noticed a 50% fall in their income. Commission may be higher as average prices have increased since 2010-2012, but their are a lot more agents to divide these house sales amongst.

Inb4 The usual suspects going “Blah blah blah something about DGZ properties are still x over CV” and “how are your “as is” investments going in Christchurch you novice?”

Nzdan, it's the NUMBER of sales that is heavily down, not the VALUE of houses.
Read the article, I quote:
"The decline in industry revenue is almost entirely due to declining sales numbers"

I wasn’t talking to the facts i was playing the same old dialogue in the comments section.

If you were referring to my 2 As is where is properties Nzdan then thank you for asking!
They are great returns of 15per cent when interest rate is approx 5 per cent gives me more than a satisfactory result.
The 2 As is properties are only a very small per centage of our property portfolio.
There are still opportunities in Chch if you were able to look around and borrow!

"15per cent when interest rate is approx 5 per cent gives me more than a satisfactory result."

Ahhh, what...?
What about rates and maintenance costs?
What about tax?
What's your opportunity cost to give you "a more than satisfactory" return, then?

Anything over 7 to 8 per cent return on any rental is ok!

I'm really perplexed by nymad's response here. 15% return and a mortgage of 5% is El Dorado...surely?

I'm not perplexed by the caliber of your comment.

Obviously it doesn't make sense in TTP/ZS/DGZ/TM2 that stating gross return and one cost element doesn't really mean anything.
It's sort of like Elon Musk stating that Tesla turns over $10 billion and his financing costs are only $3 billion, so he's creaming it with 'more than satisfactory' returns.

Well in our minds we do a quick and rough calculation regarding other costs and quickly come to the conclusion that it's still a great return. It's not necessary to go into further details in a comment as it is obvious how lucrative it is. This investment hits the ground running.

naymad. He’s probably talking about buying cheap as houses in a reasonable rent payment area. Say . Buy the house for $250000. Around $15000 out for mortgage rates and insurance. Say $18500 in. It’s possible to do that . You need cheap as houses but in a area that rent prices aren’t to low or rates not to high. I know people who do this in places like gore and places . Christchurch would be possible, could even be good capital gains one day

Out of curiosity, how many post-earthquake repairs have you done on your as-is properties?

One of the properties was able to be rented straight away however we gave it a paint.
It is totally sound and able to get full insurance.
The other one we spent approx 18k on it by recladding it and slight floor levelling and downtime was about 6weeks.
Many as is where is houses are rentable straight away and will get insurance.

It's good that you didn't need too many repairs.

The agents will still be doing very, very nicely based on this info:

$19,377 was the commission on a median price Auckland home at $550,000 in Oct 2012
$28,577 is the commission on a median price Auckland home at $950,000 in Oct 2017

$9,200 higher commission on a median price Auckland house compared with 5 years ago

Currently they are earning 47.5% more per sale than they were 5 years ago so a drop in volume is not really going to knock them about too much.

Used Barfoots commission calculator:
https://www.barfoot.co.nz/sell/our-commission-rates

How about we put it in relative terms, then.

Lets say the real estate agent has purchased a house with mortgage payments right on the threshold of 'affordable' - 40% of take home pay. For simplicity, lets also omit changes in marginal tax rates.
In Auckland, that means that their relative costs of mortgage payments have increased from 40% to 57% of take home pay. An increase of 42%.

If that was me, I'd be starting a brick factory in my pants.

"If that was me, I'd be starting a brick factory in my pants."

By the look of you, nymad, you already have.......

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Yep I agree with you Nymad and so do the Canadian's who are also feeling left out in the cold with the huge lack of foreign buyer. Now they're watching their market slowly crash.

Here's an interesting article for you. :)

Better Dwelling: Flat Canadian Real Estate Prices While Incomes Catch Up? Nope!
https://betterdwelling.com/flat-canadian-real-estate-prices-incomes-catc...

Bigblue. as long as you sell a house

Yes, but many many many more agents in the picture in 2017 v 2017 (for now) AND a lot less sales, so that doesn't divvy up so well.

Your point still holds though - it's daylight robbery when they DO sell a property. At some point in time it will be regulated so that it reflects the actual costs. If a Gym can't charge exorbitant profit making exit fees under credit law, how can an RE agent.. see comcom rulings.

The difference is the gym, Telco, mobile phone provider etc are providing a form of credit contract. REA fees are for a service only. REA fees are utterly ridiculous and it amazes me that some form of market competition hasn't driven them lower by now.
Another one I'd add in the ridiculous basket are agent letting fees, the landlord pays fees to the agency to let and/or manage the accommodation, then the tenant pays them another fee essentially to perform a credit check and to make a couple of reference phone calls. Clipping the ticket at both ends and the sliding scale of "1 weeks rent" for a standardised service doesn't hold up to scrutiny.

Barfoot's formula is stacked against the vendor.

" On the first $300,000 of the purchase price* 3.95%. On the balance of the purchase price* 2.0% "

It's even worse than a flat rate. Since most of the commission is coming from the bottom end the agent has very little incentive to achieve a high sales price. I'm sure they'd rather sell cheap and quick than put in the effort to achieve what is basically a rounding error on the commission. Are there not plenty of 1-2% agents that can achieve the same result?

For sure, real estate agents' commission has fallen in the soft housing market of 2017....... but the fall is coming off a very high level.

Those agents who saved/invested during the 2014-16 upswing should, in most circumstances, be fine.

But no doubt there'll still be few casualties. Not all of them are known to be wise.

TTP

" but the fall is coming off a very high level."

Well that doesn't make sense. Get your story straight.
I thought there was broad consensus that the top end hadn't dropped as much as the low end - You/DZ/ZS constantly going on about the strong performances of the central suburbs...
If so, the agents aren't taking a haircut at the 'high level'. It's the low enders that are wearing it, and there's a lot more of them..

Obviously, nymad, I'm referring to average price levels.

TTP

What?
Average prices aren't changing so I can't see how that's relevant.

Or are you talking about volume?
Again, get your story straight.

Rubbish, nymad.

Both average and median house prices have fallen a little in many parts of NZ in the recent past.

And the stats show that sales volumes are down too.

As I've said on many occasions, the housing market has been relatively soft through 2017.

You need to get yourself properly informed. Your line of argument is flawed.

So what does "coming off high levels" actually mean? Is it related to highest price to income levels in the world? Is NZ not punching above its weight like we do in the Olympics and those occasions that create emotional warmth in the suburban castles?

If not even tothepoint knows what he's talking about, how the hell are we meant to?

High levels of sales. All that legendary flipping that went on last year must have boosted numbers of commissions.

"High levels of sales"

And what does that mean? Was 2016 some kind of benchmark? I wouldn't be surprised if it were, but why does it all have to be so subjective? Stiffen your claims with a bit of quantitative rigor. It lends credibility to what you say.

Higher levels of sales in 2016 relative to 2017. No need for an aneurysm.

Zach to save pointmades butt. Are you to on the phone to each other before you make a comment

Well that will weed out the poorer performing R E agents but the better ones will be OK (like in any profession experiencing a downturn), good for the industry in the long term

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I believe it would be beneficial if society looked at the meaning of "profession/professional" again. In the main most people ascribe this with "trust worthy or knowledgeable" however most REAs are more aligned with "professional" criminals, or are so incompetent they are unable to answer simple questions regarding a property which then again makes a mockery of professionalism. I hope they suffer, then maybe they will buck up and truly earn their keep.

What profession do you exercise "Trying to build" that you consider so superior ?

Ttb. I think the main takeaway here isn’t the RE agents getting less money. They’ll just downsize. The housing market is changing a lot and very fast . We’ll just keep getting data like this with house prices dropping. For how long who knows but in the end for the good I hope

I wouldn’t be concerned with Real Estate Agents not earning as much as they used to.
If you are a reasonable agent there will still be a living in it but landlording is a far more reliable income, if you are professional.

TM2 . I have some mates that make a little on rentals but generally they buy bloody cheap housing, they do them up a little but to me they’re just rubbish. They’re probably doing the right thing to make a earning but I just can’t do it. I pay way to much because I like to buy very nice property then the rent hardly covers anything but for me it just about buying something that one day will be freehold to pass down to my kids, because I’ve done this for many years I hardly have a mortgage in fact the only reason I do is to be bettering myself all the time, I make good money now but it would be very hard for anyone today . Especially in Auckland, small towns or Christchurch would be easy enough, I have a young family member who just brought outside of parmy for $289000 . Great house , great size and section. Only 25 years old

One of those "careers' where the more hours you work the less money you make."

RE agents latest line. You should really consider this offer because the market slowing. The worm has turned. Buyers are king, just make a offer I’m sure they’ll take it. The many hats of a RE agent

Sales feeds staff and pays business overheads. Not a good time to be an agency supplier. Ill bet they have all been asked to do the same for 20% less.

Agents that have banked their money should be ok...tui But theres the car lease, trophy house and batch, school fees, and rentals for tax offset. Hard to prop up loss making rentals with no income though.

Perhaps they can start cutting costs with everyones favorite .....coffee and squashed advo.

Averageman I know many RE agents. Older people . Doesn’t matter which branch of a RE you go to theres always the younges . I feel a bit sorry for that lot. Ive seen them all fired up but they’ll be the first to go and the older lot normally carry on , some moving to different branches. In 2009 it was madness, you never new who was working with who half the time

True. Some of the older agents will semi retire. However youth have the greatest advantage of ...time.

Fact: went to an auction today in Green Bay. CV $690.000, selling price $1.125.000
1960's house on 698 section on the best street in Green Bay. nothing special - ready to move in.

Jerry_NZ. Thanks for the report. Were there many active bidders? Did the property "go on the market" ie reach reserve? Or was there a protracted negotiation during the proceedings? Asian buyers? Many onlookers? What was your interest?
Full section in the best street will attract a premium price - 63% above CV in this case.

2 or 3, reserve was at 1.015 (i believe), zero negotiations, no asian bidders (or buyers). I live in the area so i was wondering how it will go...

While that may suit some people. One high price doesnt show trends.

You would think that less commission and less sales will eventually lead to lower prices. Since less people are buying. Sure some people still seem to be able to get a mortgage, but others cant.

With affordability at an all time low and banks not lending readily, something is going to give. Its a waiting game.

Took this from ginerninja

http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/341696/bank-caution-leaves-home-b...

"There is some evidence that the housing market in Auckland has started to cool, so the banks are going to say, hang on, we're a little nervous here.

"We're not expecting much growth, so let's just take a little more cautious approach and not be so eager to lend as we might've been six or 12 months ago."

swapacrate, refer to my "analysis" of 27 recent sales in the comments here:

barfoot-thompsons-latest-auctions

A few more than just one high price.

Yes your analysis but what about the banks analysis.

If the bank goes hold on the markets cooling then thats what really counts. The bank lent because it thought prices were going up, so it lent like no tomorrow. Now the banks are thinking that the market is cooling they are not lending. If banks dont lend then prices will be hit.

To me its all about the banks and what they think. If they think the market is going to go great guns they will lend. Is that what the banks are thinking.

I would think that the banks are interested in price stability more than things going "great guns". Something like 6000 houses sold in NZ last month with most probably have some mortgage finance. The property market always has highs and lows. REAs facing an apocalypse has been quite a common event all the time I have been involved in Real Estate.

To be fair Im not looking for highs and lows. Im looking for houses to become affordable for the average wage. Then they can go up in line with peoples incomes.

Banks and stability. Banks seem to only care about one thing and thats profit and loss. So make hay while the sun is shining, then minimise losses or maximise its profit when the sun is not shining.

If I was a shareholder in the bank all I would care about is my dividends and my share price.

The highs and lows in Auckland tend to be of sales volumes which impacts mostly just the agents. I'd give up on the affordability quest in Auckland at least. The critical thing is that equity is not eroded as that is bad for everyone.

In what way is equity eroding bad for everyone? It may be the opposite. Equity that's based on an inflated asset price isn't exactly quality equity.

If equity increased off the back of exuberant credit and specuvestors, why shouldn't it erode? Only those who jumped on that particular wagon or used their paper equity as an ATM will be largely affected. Not people who bought in 2012 and before.

FHBs would be the most badly affected. It would generally just be depressing for everyone and everything to some degree.

Its not a quest as I have no impact except for my vote. Im just watching and hoping.

In the mean time I work on my business and hope that comes to fruition, and then I wont personally care about prices, but I will for my fellow kiwi.

Well "looking for" and "quest" are somewhat synonymous. Kiwis are a thing of the past, we are Global Citizens now.

We are kiwis who get to vote for our government to look after our wishes.

Im happy to be global if we are exporting, if we create an economy that is looking to fuel our growth by getting people from overseas to buy our products and services.

But if we are global to sell our land for muskets and blankets, Im all for shutting this down.

Right on little Maori boy

The jury is out on globalisation vs. nationalism. The next decade should be interesting indeed.

If you studied those people that bought land for muskets and blankets you would find they are quite different to modern men. They were patriarchal and future focused. They had very large families and they had a sense of destiny. They were pioneers.
The focus has radically shifted. The immigrant is the new pioneer. A dream of a diverse destiny has replaced the manifest destiny of a "people". It's almost as if we now live vicariously through the modern immigrant and refugee. They are the pioneers, the dreamers and seekers. They have a goal, to become Western but also to add something to Western society. Traditional Kiwi lifestyle, Barry Crump style culture is disparaged and scorned and called boring, misogynistic, insular and so on. Any reverence and development of Western culture is regarded as fascistic. This is the current zeitgeist, a product of individualism and libertarianism. However an individual could thrive if he became globally minded and was prepared to travel.

"They were patriarchal and future focused. They had very large families and they had a sense of destiny. "

Tell that to the people who only got the musket and blanket. Which is basically whats happening now, and thats why we need policies in place to stop this. Especially the large families coming over. You seem to be for other people not NZers. This is just strange.

"Traditional Kiwi lifestyle, Barry Crump style culture is disparaged and scorned and called boring, misogynistic, insular and so on"

Maybe with the DGZ posers (I apologise to some who are not posers but love NZ life), but not the rest of NZ. I love the kiwi lifestyle and I have travelled the world and lived in a few countries. NZ has a simpleness and back to basics attitude I like. Its the wind in your face, the smell of the beach and the water on your feet. Its the simple things in life that makes things great. Plus the lack of population and the problems associated with it.

Family, friends and the outdoors.

As for all those other words your spouting to increase immigratiion to increase your property prices its just hot air.

I love the kiwi lifestyle and I have travelled the world and lived in a few countries.

So, only Kiwis are allowed to do that? You want your cake and to eat it too? What's good for the goose is good for the gander.

Do you even know what you think, you seem to hold very different views now from what you did before Trump was elected, where globalization goes?

Yeah, I'm aware that's the sales pitch - and indeed a reality of employment. What I'm noting is that a) there are some seismic shifts going on in attitude toward it vs. the effects on locals, and b) people are becoming increasingly aware that nations are still hegemonic in thinking rather than globalist and egalitarian. Imperialism has not gone away, whereas globalism works best when it benefits all.

Swapacrate - I think youre displaying a total lack of understanding of banks, and many of their shareholders who do actually care about corporate responsibility (worked for one ?). Problem is, everyone seems to think they're an expert about what is prudent lending.

All I know is that most of our money goes back to Australia. But I have never seen how a bank from Australia has had corporate responsibility in NZ, that doesnt line its own pockets, or doesnt build its brand. Im happy to be educated.

I have never said I was an expert on anything, other then opening a bottle of beer.

Grant A. Swapacrate was spot on . Banks are more careful in a downward market. Why wouldn’t they. Each week that goes by they’d be unsure how much housing has dropped. Easy when prices are going up. A major problem when going down . Anyone asking to much for there house and the buyers borrowing high will more then likely get turned down

Also swapacrate. It doesn’t really matter if there’s some houses selling and some buyers willing to pay there money, that’s a mile away from the problem. The problem is sales are getting harder and fewer to the amount of listings. If those two things get wider and wider like it is prices will drop. Like they are. Don’t worry about the quality of the sale . If there’s to many selling with very few buyers , there’ll always be some sales but in the end the others will be hunting those buyers too, prices drop, pretty normal stuff really. Supply and demand , the banks of course add to it massively because they’re fighting the market down as well

"The problem is sales are getting harder and fewer to the amount of listings. If those two things get wider and wider like it is prices will drop."

Thats exactly it.

Yeah mate and listing in Auckland could easily climb to 15000. The shit will really hit the fan then because I just can’t see the buyers and it’s all about those numbers

swapacrate, refer to my "analysis" of 27 recent sales in the comments here:

There is no analysis. If there were, I'd most definitely read with interest.

You're trolling.

27 sales in the last week averaging 45% above CV is significant. None of the sales were distressed.
I analysed each sale fairly carefully, looking up each one's CV and recording it. Double checked my figures to ensure I hadn't made any mistakes.
To call it trolling is absurd. You are unusually triggered by my purely factual report.

I did another analysis a few days earlier with similar results here:
http://www.interest.co.nz/property/90332/grey-lynn-warehouse-converted-r...

Significant against "what"? A sample size of 27 will not be statistically significant against any other sample.

You're trolling or don't understand basic statistical testing such as "significance".

Significant for an Auckland property investor. It indicates a continuing interest in the property market. There are buyers out there willing to pay a good price and the market is far from dead.
It is a personal interpretation but at least I did go to some effort to show that my confidence is backed up with data. Time will tell. I predict that the sales price figures for October will be healthy based on these small samples. If the results were poor, say price over CV averaging around 20% I would have called a price decline.

I don't see how this is trolling as it is not outrageous or insulting. Spruiking, maybe. I'm really just looking for an opportunity to say "I told you so" further down the track. I've been quite successful at this in the past.

Doesn't all this show is that CV is not an accurate reflection of the actual value of the property? What is actually relevant is trends over time, a single snapshot of values versus a valuation at some point in the past isn't particularly useful. If you kept doing this every sales report for the next year then some valid conclusions could be drawn from the output. I keep thinking I should take another crack at making a script to automate the process, pulling the info from the council site isn't trivial though with my lack of webscraping experience. Would give a interesting look at the shape of the market. Median and mean values quoted in the REINZ reports would be interesting when seen in context of the distribution of properties sold.

Risky, the CV is a benchmark. I have been doing this for a couple of years now which I guess is what J.C. doesn't understand. Unfortunately I didn't keep my records as it was just scraps of paper and comments here. I guess they are on this server somewhere. Anyway the price above CV used to be high 20 and crept up to 30 then mid 30. Now it is mid 40.

The sales price to CV is irrelevant without context. Especially when it has been 3 years since those were set.
The only time it does become relevant is when compared to a previous period average sales/CV - à la the SPAR.

That's why I gave the context above.

27 sales, a sample does not make.
Read up on some asymptotic theory, ZS.

27 sales, a sample does not make.

Counting last week I did 41 recent sales. I have done hundreds over the last two years. I wonder why Interest.co.nz publishes these auction results if not for readers to analyse and draw conclusions? Is it just for light entertainment? Perhaps you should contact the site owner and tell him your thoughts. I for one find them very interesting and we always get a lot of comments on them

Yes, interesting.
There is a big distinction between "drawing conclusions" and "drawing meaningful conclusions", though.
You draw conclusions, but they lack in meaning.

You guys are protesting too much which is rather interesting.

Your wasting your time Zach, go get a better hobby. All you’re doing is stating a ruff as way of how house prices have gone up using a very broad old starting point and select houses of your choice. There’s heaps of better data monthly that get larger more up to date information. I’d be surprised if you carried on this behaviour next year with high CVs and lower prices when you can’t try pushing the high prices theme. Maybe get some chickens and they can lay some little Zachs

Risky,
We already have it - it's called the SPAR.
For some reason ZS believes his subsampling methods are more pertinent than that measure, though.

nymad Zach and the other three for some weird reason think they can hold or turn the market, RE agents, they’re not on TV. Facts are facts, the cycles over, get over it, then they bleat on about 1% of a housing area which frankly is weird. TTP is ever signing off his initials as if he’s the new editor of a paper. I’m sure those four are taking the piss and have each other’s phone numbers. They must be mates, in stead of playing cards they get together with there laptops to piss us off. I’m definitely going nuts over there logic

It is a personal interpretation but at least I did go to some effort to show that my confidence is backed up with data. Time will tell. I predict that the sales price figures for October will be healthy based on these small samples. If the results were poor, say price over CV averaging around 20% I would have called a price decline.

Well there you go. It is because you say so. That's your "analytics". And Auckland property investors' subjective feelings is backed up with data about the difference between differences between sales prices and CVs.

It is what it is, but it's not analytics at all. It's trolling.

I don't think you understand what trolling is.

Maybe I am missing the obvious from that article:

"Somebody that's got a $120,000 deposit gets pre-approved for a $500,000 mortage; they go out and find a property to buy around the $600,000 mark; they go back to their lender, who's pre-approved them, and then they get turned down. They get told, 'well, actually we don't value it to where you do. We think that we'll loan you $480,000'."

Well, no duh. The value of the security has to be acceptable to the bank, as it is what is used to secure a loan. No good spending $600k on a house worth $500k and wondering why the bank won't lend you $500k to do so!

Jerry_nz. You’ll always find the odd houses like that. CVs are a very ruff way of value. Many houses get places very differently . Sometimes only streets apart. I can’t see the point even doing them other than the council trying for there bit. In 2008 I know of many houses that the next CVs went down, now that would have pissed the council off

This just goes to show that there is and always will be demand for quality. Central location, high quality builds in good areas, best street in the area etc....all of these will always be in demand and even if the market does go south, the better properties and / or the better locations will always be in demand. It simply reinforces something I have always believed in - and not just in terms of property - always buy quality.

PaulO if you’re talking about quality being a short street of beach front or a area of limited houses with great views yeah there prices could hold up well. But if you’re talking about the average good house with thousands of houses in good areas say Remuera, epsom, Greenlane and on. If Remuera was holding at 1.8 million, epsom at 1.7 and greenlane at 1.6 and on. If say greenlane went down to say 1.4 very few people would bother paying the extra $300k to move over a suburb, when prices are going up they might and if there’s only a little difference, and most schools are perfectly ok and not everyone has kids going to school who can afford higher areas anyway. In a downturn not many get left out. All it takes is a neighboring suburb to have a few low sales and they set the prices. And with demand low anyway and banks cautious close suburbs won’t be miles apart. It’s just not possible. You could ever start at one tree hill going down a lot then work you way to Remuera. Sorry but in general if prices drop all but maybe a very few 1% mighted. PS if this downturn gets to ugly in my experience the more expensive get hit the hardest

Hi Zachary,

Your figures are hardly surprising......

Clearly, there are some localities where the market remains buoyant and record prices are being achieved.

Your analysis gives the lie to the rhetoric of the doom and gloom merchants who hang around here.

Is it doom and gloom to want affordability for average incomes. You would think this was normal, in a normal society.

Modern Western societies are far from normal societies. You're living in a dystopian future my friend and have to adapt to the new paradigm.

Aaah here I am being dumb and thinking normal was most people, not a few.

Aaah I stand corrected.

Make room, make room. (I would have gone for Snow Crash in comparison of housing today but the former suited more).

Make Room! Make Room!

Snow Crash

Look like good books.

Hi swapacrate, my understanding of a pre approved loan (if you were going to a auction) is you see a house you like then under the condition of that agreement is you tell the bank the address so they can value it. If all’s good you go to the auction with your limit . Standard stuff. You would never be given a limit then just go buy anything you like . Banks aren’t that stupid. Unless things have changed