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Monthly Market Update | April 2020

Indicators point to a swift recovery of the property market


The Harcourts Cooper & Co sales team are reporting strong activity in the market. Despite sales volumes in April being down just shy of 80%, in the 7 days following NZ moving into alert level 3 the team completed 785 physical property inspections across Auckland’s North Shore & North West. This resulted in 87 written offers and 36 contracts. Whilst these numbers are far lower than usual, they are encouraging for the first week in level 3.

As we moved into level 2 this week it adds further momentum to the property market with open homes & Auctions recommencing and real estate offices reopening. All of which are subject to strict criteria to protect the health & safety of all.

Pre Covid-19 the Auckland market was in a strong position with increasing sales volumes and prices and early indicators suggest this momentum is rebuilding post Covid-19 restrictions. Whilst it will take time to confirm the longer-term position of the market, the factors that were driving the market pre Covid-19 predominantly remain.


How do you show empathy when you’re social distancing?

Real estate agents need to be able to better show their empathy to Kiwis who are under financial and emotional stress, says one of the industry’s leading figures.

Martin Cooper, who runs Harcourts Cooper & Co on Auckland’s North Shore, says housing market headlines since the start of the Covid-19 crisis have been dramatic, and many Kiwis will be fearful for their employment and their financial position.

Real estate agents typically thrive in one-to-one meetings with buyers and sellers, so how do they connect with people when social distancing is still required, and may be the norm for quite some time?

Cooper says his team used the four-and-a-half week lockdown that ended earlier this week to find ways to bridge the gap.

“The old cliché is ‘better never stops’ and better is required right now. We’re going to have to work harder than we have for a long time to help people,” he says, adding that his agents have been doing a lot of preparation for life at Alert Level 3.

The easing of lockdown restrictions has allowed the real estate industry to start work again. While open homes are still banned, viewings by appointment are permitted, with agents allowed to hold two private viewings a day for properties that are for sale or for rent.

Cooper says Kiwis are all in this together, and the job of his agents is to help people find solutions.

“If we can help sell some of their real estate to relieve a financial burden then we’ll do it to the best and in the most gracious manner that we can,” he says.

Other clients may not be in financial hardship but looking at upgrading and when the market is uncertain customers need the best real estate service available, Cooper says.

Harcourts agents Jordan Selwyn and Brooke Barrass say they have looked at ways to limit in-person contact with clients – which is challenging for a job that typically involves a lot of driving around at 10.30pm with contracts and sitting down with people.

“That’s obviously a bit dated and we’ve got technology that can do better than that, but it’s hard as well because there’s so much information you learn by sitting down across from somebody face to face,” Selwyn says.

He says using tech solutions like FlexiSign for documents when negotiating contracts “will make a big difference rather than sitting down with our vendors face to face every couple of days”.

“And now everyone’s au fait with Zoom, whereas previously it was only a handful of people. Everybody knows about it so our clients are more comfortable using technology.”

He and Barrass spent time making sure their listings were comprehensive with excellent floorplans available and with good walkthrough 3D technology – something which vendors may find they need to invest in as part of their marketing from now on.

He hopes mortgage relief measures will limit the amount of pressured sales, and he advises people who are thinking of selling to try to resolve unconsented works on their properties.

“Now that we are in an environment where banks are going to be more cautious with their lending vendors should consider working a little bit harder to remove those obstacles prior to listing.”

Phil Mitchell, a senior agent also on the North Shore, says his team is proactive about keeping in touch as vendors “need a bit of love at the moment. They need to know you’re thinking about them and caring about what happens and not pushing them into something.

“I don’t worry about what the market’s going to do, I just know that day to day we deal with the market. You have to be proactive, not reactive, so you just deal with the day to day.”

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New Zealanders award Harcourts Most Trusted Real Estate brand for the eighth year in a row

Reader’s Digest has announced its Most Trusted brands for 2020, and Harcourts, New Zealand’s largest and most enduring real estate brand, is honoured to be acknowledged once again for its commitment to serving its clients. For the eighth consecutive year, New Zealanders have voted Harcourts the Most Trusted real estate brand.

Harcourts Managing Director Bryan Thomson says that the Harcourts team right across the country is particularly humbled to receive this honour as the country continues to battle COVID-19.

“Harcourts has been committed to helping New Zealanders with their property needs for 132 years”, says Thomson. “We’ve been through good times and we’ve been through some extremely difficult times with our clients. This would be one of the most challenging times they’ve ever faced, and now, more than ever, we need to trust and support one another.”

“We will continue to earn the trust of New Zealanders in the coming months,” says Thomson, “by maintaining the highest level of service to our clients, landlords and tenants. Technology will play a big part in how we continue to deliver exceptional service and maintain the life-long relationships we’ve built with our clients and communities around the country.”

“Being voted the Most Trusted real estate brand for eight years in a row is hugely important to our team and we don’t take that trust for granted. Thank you, New Zealand, we remain committed to you.”

Saying thank you: Mother's Day activity book

A collection of crafts, cooking and gestures, specially for Mum.

Mother’s Day in social isolation is not ideal, but there are still so many ways you can show your appreciation for the wonderful mum in your life. Download our 30-page activity book today!

Our Mother’s Day activity book features:

Arts and crafts

Letters and poems

Treats and recipes

Pampering and relaxation ideas

Favours and coupons

No matter how you spend it, we hope you have a wonderful Mother’s Day.