Ray White New Zealand CEO Quarterly Comments – 8 April 2016
The end of the first quarter for 2016 is now behind us and it finished with a record sales month for the Ray White New Zealand Group, in both number of sales and also in trading volume. Please see the full summation of the RWNZ March sales here. What is always pleasing is to review the personal best results achieved by our members. This month 11 offices from across the majority of regions recorded their individual best sales results.
When you look across the markets, particularly at inventory levels, there continues to be a tightening across New Zealand. The average availability of stock has reduced in the month of March to 15 weeks, showing that against the long-term average of 34 weeks we currently, as an industry, are currently holding less than half the properties we have over the past five years. Markets showing particular tightening include Wellington at 5 weeks and the Bay of Plenty region, Nelson and Auckland all having 11 weeks worth of stock available. When we look at pricing in isolation, the Bay of Plenty, Waikato and Wellington are all showing positive gains. Southland, Hawkes Bay and Gisborne, while having a downward movement in listing prices, their sales results and tightening of stock will see this reverse quickly in the second quarter.
The Ray White Group celebrated its annual recognition on 17th March when 920 members and guests joined together. This evening not only recognises the achievements of our network members, but also aligns our Strategy focus in respect of customer satisfaction. We were proud to acknowledge Ray White Remuera as the leading business for Ray White New Zealand. Heather Walton from Ray White Epsom was named our Supreme Salesperson. Our move towards recognising customer satisfaction in all areas of our business is providing alignment for outcomes that clients value and, as our company continues to strive in the area of customer satisfaction, we will become more responsive to our delivery of service at the highest and best levels.
During the month of March we listed 1,847 properties, just short of a company record, and during the month we held our marketing campaign. The campaign provided clients with the opportunity to have their property exclusively upgraded when listed with Ray White and this, we believe, has been a significant contributing factor to not only the high number of listings, but also the record number of buyers that were introduced to properties during the month.
As part of our ongoing support for our network members, Ray White provides verified training under the REAA. This support mechanism gives members a compliant viewpoint of their responsibility and we continue set the standard in our offering of verified training for our members.
There are a number of customer values in our New Zealand Strategy. Market share is an important measure of our continued engagement. The recent release of our market share shows that Ray White New Zealand has now hit new record levels of 15.4% of all agency transactions across New Zealand. Our business mentoring programmes over the last three years have provided process and structure around relationships. Mark McLeod, who is Head of Ray White Growth, alongside our business owners, has had significant cut-through in this area of their business. Mark will be joining us again during April for his business mentoring sessions alongside Luke Richardson, who specialises in financial understanding.
The Ray White Accelerate programme has been conducted and presented to 200 members during the past quarter. This is the platform for our skills development and engages the agent in providing the very best areas of work ethic for our clients who entrust us with over 16,000 properties per year.
Zac Snelling, Head of Ray White Property Management in New Zealand, has introduced the insulation and smoke alarm programme for every property managed by Ray White to be able to be inspected and provided with a report. This is a service our network will be able to provide to property owners to ensure that they have aligned their property with the new requirements under the Residential Tenancies Act.
Graeme Fraser, who is Head of Agency for Ray White New Zealand, has played a leading role in the development of our Health and Safety policy. This has been distributed to all our business owners and Graeme is conducting ongoing compliance broadcasts for our members to ensure we exceed the expectations in the area of Health and Safety.
We move into the second quarter with strong momentum. Our office network is recording a strong level of interest from clients in listing property. The recent lowering of the Official Cash Interest Rate has allowed property in many areas to register a higher level of affordability, even as prices are rising. We expect the market to remain balanced for buyers and sellers over the next quarter.