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NZ property data tools on the rise

The range of publicly available property data on the New Zealand market keeps growing, with the launch today of a new tool from Trade Me Property.

Wednesday, October 12th 2016, 3:00PM

by Miriam Bell

New Zealand has long suffered from a dearth of easily accessible information on, and relevant to, the property market.

Not too long ago, the two main sources of data were the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand (REINZ) and Quotable Values (QV).

Now, there’s a host of different companies offering price, value and listing data every month.

This year a number of new players – myvalocity and homes.co.nz - have entered the market with the goal of making more detailed property information more widely available to the average Kiwi.

Today, Trade Me Property upped its data offerings with the launch of a new tool, Property Insights, which aims to make it easier to research New Zealand’s property market.

It offers free information for over 1.5 million New Zealand homes, like rateable value (RV) data, previous sale prices, and property information like when the house was built and its floor size.*

Trade Me Property’s head of product Alistair Helm said New Zealand has lagged behind the US, Australia and UK for far too long by not providing this type of information for free.

“But Kiwi property buyers and sellers can now depend less on paid reports and friends in the real estate industry, and instead access the information in one place for free.”

Helm said that the Trade Me Property Estimate, a computer-generated estimate of a home’s current value, was one of the best features of the new product.

It makes calculations using sales of similar properties, RV data and details of listing and user activity on Trade Me to give an indication of what a property might sell for.

Both buyers and sellers will benefit as the estimates provide a realistic price starting point, he said.

“These are computer generated estimates, so they don’t take into account new renovations or interior work. They’re a starting point rather than a replacement for a valuer or an agent walking through the house.”

Helm added that the information provided is available at council offices for free right now, but it isn’t easy for most people to access it.

While the amount of freely available property data is increasing, there is far from an overload in New Zealand, according to University of Auckland property lecturer James Young.

In his view, more property information is helpful to people working in the property industry, as well as to buyers and sellers.

However, the increase in available information might be confusing for those with less experience in the property game, he said.

“People feel more empowered, but good decision making is about sifting through all the information and interpreting it correctly.

“Our research shows that people often rely on the first information that they get, they take those cues and overweight them in their decision-making.”

To this end, Young said it is often worth getting expert advice to interpret the data accurately.

*The Property Insights data will be updated monthly when councils provide new sales and RV data.

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