Barfoot & Thompson looks to WeChat to improve engagement with Chinese customers

Barfoot & Thompson looks to WeChat to improve engagement with Chinese customers

Barfoot & Thompson has launched its services on Chinese social media and messaging website

Barfoot & Thompson is Auckland's largest real estate agency, handling more than a third of residential property sales in the region, while WeChat has more than one billion regular users around the world, most of who are Chinese speaking.

"The growing and diverse population in New Zealand, coupled with continuous technological advances, necessitates engaging our customers and staff through alternate channels such as WeChat," Barfoot & Thompson managing director Peter Thompson said.

"We understand that many Chinese speakers communicate with friends, family and brands through WeChat, and using the online channel we have an opportunity to engage in a way that is more relevant to this demographic.

"We will be providing updates, news and market reports in Chinese to ensure that our Chinese audience can better engage with our content," he said.

Ironically, Barfoots has launched its WeChat presence in the same week that new rules restricting the purchase of New Zealand residential properties by overseas buyers take effect.

Up until two years ago, there was large flow of money from China into New Zealand's residential property market, which combined with a shortage of homes, strong migration-fueled population growth and falling mortgage interest rates, contributed to rapid house price escalation, particularly in the Auckland market.

However much of that trade dried up in late 2016 when the Chinese Government introduced capital outflow controls, which restricted the ability of people to send money overseas.

That led to a dramatic reduction of Chinese buyers in the Auckland property market which continues.

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Would be very surprised if Chinese agents were not already using it for some time to talk to overseas buyers. Seems a bit late to the party but i guess it is essential to reach that 3% of the market. A good PR stunt regardless.

In Auckland it wasn’t 3% - that was the fake news figure for the whole of NZ - Statistics NZ reports for the June quarter it was 8% to 22% for some Auckland suburbs. Sept quarter data for foreign buyers will be out next week.
Within Auckland, the local board areas with the highest proportions of home transfers involving no NZ citizens or resident-visa holders in June quarter were:

Waitemata (the inner city) – 22 percent (321 transfers)
Upper Harbour – 9.2 percent (66 transfers)
Howick – 8.2 percent (66 transfers).

The real estate agents, lawyers, mortgage brokers, values etc all know that it was 20% to 30% for many suburbs in the period from 2014 to 2017 and they did nicely out of it. North Shore, Pakuranga/Howick/Botany area and Mt Albert plus the double Grammar zone were all areas where offshore foreign buyer (mainly Asian) was rampant.

Suspect that half the Chinese sales force at Barfoots will be looking for alternative employment.

First market update
'Sorry to our foreign buyer base, it appears that you've bought a lemon here, do you want to offload now or wait for it to hit 40-50% off?'


I still can't get my head around that if you live in China, and have never left China but purchase a property in New Zealand you're not deemed as a "foreign buyer" if your husband/wife/son/daughter/father/mother has an IRD number.

Does anyone know how much property is owned by Chinese nationals, regardless of whether they are classified as a foreign buyer or not?

Hi Nic Johnson,

"'Sorry to our foreign buyer base, it appears that you've bought a lemon here, do you want to offload now or wait for it to hit 40-50% off?'"

I understand it's your identical twin brother (Retired-Poppy, the well-known "crash crusader") who's been sending that message abroad......


How naive you are
There are no new laws “totally”preventing any foreign national buying whatever they wish in NZ
In case the government missed it there’s already thousands of newly minted NZ residents happy to oblige a relative, friend or business back home wishing to buy NZ property under all manner of mechanisms.
NZ govt statistics are not adequate to possibly evaluate the true owners of NZ property.
P.S: Who gets hired chief of a company & promptly sells all her company shares ? A2 chief
Only in Kiwiland would she still keep her job !

DFA's view on the future of real estate agents in that many of them will be lengthening the cue at the dole office!

Its already happening. I know some CBRE offices got a trimming in recent months in Sydney.

Talk about a cry for help. If can't entice them, I doubt Barfoots can. Chinese gravitate towards a steadily rising market. It's more exciting!

Chinese are the most clueless property bulls there are. So many of them are going to be brought to ruin when their own bubble pops.

Quite the contrary. It's quite an acknowledged fact that Chinese are alot more savvy when it comes to business and investment. I was told for the same amount to buy a property in Beijing or Shanghai, the Chinese can buy 3 comparable properties here. Similar comparison can be made for Singapore. For $400K+ which can get one a decent 3+1 house with freehold land and garage in most part of NZ, will only get you a 99-years lease "government-subsidized" unit/flat (strata title) of about 100sqm in the sky with no parking. It's a no-brainer why foreigners are buying up NZ properties. :)

Chill out, It's not launching the "services" on Wechat...

It opened an "official account" on Wechat, just like setting up a "Page" on facebook. Four posts so far : introduction to B&T, something about Auckland Marathon (B&T being sponsor), something about Mitre 10 Cup (again B&T being sponsor) and this week's auction results.

What does this have to do with foreign buyers? I'm pretty sure it is for people who use Wechat, can read Chinese and have the rights to buy.

Does it not proves who the the most active players are in NZ market

Everyone should have a wee chat account!
Its not facebook!

That aside. It shows the way whole business here, complete transactions here are lifted out of New Zealand.
Example. You will find whole New Zealand suburbs of air bnb homes and properties listed on the Chinese server of air bnb.
Book and pay in china.
Use your china bank account!!
Locals here know nothing.!
IRD know nothing!
IRD know nothing!!

Wonder in to your local asian supermarket, use your we chat pay, uses your china bank account to pay.

Come down south on holiday. You get two prices, we chat price and kiwi price.
Kiwi price has GST.

Foolish not to have we chat really.
Now if we could just start buying petrol on we chat now!

Just goes to show how desperate for sales Barfoot & Thompson are, have they not heard that there's a global down turn in the global property market since Mr Trump started waving his self destructive tariffs around.

You only need to look across the ditch it see the effect of China's clamp down on capital flight.
Apparently Australia's average auction clearance rate is hovering around 50% still way higher than our clearance rates.

Business Insider article: Fewer Australian properties sold at auction last week due to falls in Sydney and Melbourne

RE agents really are shameless opportunists.

It's plain business strategy in a capitalist world.