CEO Comments by Carey Smith 24 March 2017
Our 2016 results saw the Ray White Group increase turnover and the number of sales. This was in alignment with the New Zealand market, which moved ahead in the value of sales by 12% with a slight drop in the number of sales. The regional areas showed a strong resurgence during the 12 month period and was evidenced in the higher than average price increases across most regional areas. The main metro areas saw a drop in the number of sales and this was reflected in prices, which showed an increase but were not at similar levels to the previous year. Northland, Auckland, Waikato/Bay of Plenty, Manawatu/Wanganui, Hawke’s Bay, Wellington, Nelson, Canterbury, Central Otago Lakes, Otago, Southland.
During 2016 and early 2017, the Reserve Bank has consistently tinkered with their housing policy. That did not have a direct effect on interest rates, but it tightened the capability for lending to purchasers in particular sectors. The Official Cash Interest Rate continues to remain at a record low of 1.75% see graph.The margins between the Official Cash Interest Rate and lending has increased which sees the average fixed borrowing over a two year period being 4.25%
We are at the final stages prior to the conference and recognition programme. This year is our biggest ever in terms of attendance. The conference covers two days involving property management, where our keynote speaker is John Key. The main national conference day is headlined by Willie Apiata VC. His message on decision making and team-work will be welcomed. Steve Hansen will be interviewed around the brand campaign and the word usage within the campaign. We expect to hear insights into team work connected to results. Dr Libby Weaver will provide a message around health and work/life balance that will be enjoyed.
Our recognition evening is the highlight of the Ray White year. It recognises the performance of our network, with quality being highlighted through our customer satisfaction awards, individual collective commitment recognition and my Chief Executive award. Sales awards continue to recognise business growth linked with volume of sales and we continue to have a focus on our office environments. Property management together with administrators play a key role in our awards. Loan Market New Zealand also will feature their main awards during the evening.
As we come to the close of the first quarter of 2017, we have welcomed the on-boarding of the Leaders Group in the Lower North Island. This will position our group in regards to the statistical information often required for marketing to be the following for 2017:
16.5% market share nationally
18,250 number of property sales
$11.2 billion in value of property sales
16,500 properties under management
412 property managers
In Loan Market through the New Zealand Financial Services Group, there are 560 financial brokers throughout New Zealand.
During the month of February the balance of the Leaders network throughout Wellington, which included Johnsonville, Karori, Khandallah, Kilbirnie, Levin, Hutt City, Masterton, Paraparaumu, Porirua, Upper Hutt, Waikanae and Wellington City, on-boarded to the Ray White Group.
In addition to this, new offices that have recently opened include Steinmetz Property Management in Paraparaumu under the stewardship of Rachael Steinmetz. West Melton in the South West of Christchurch with Brendan Shefford, Sarah Booth and Emma George.
The Glenfield office has changed ownership to Carpenter Realty, with Glenn and Bernice Carpenter taking over from Dave Collett.
Kemeys Brothers in Lower Hutt are currently relocating in Lower Hutt and will be known as Ray White Kemeys Brothers.
The Royal Heights office has relocated to new premises at the NorthWest Centre and will be known as the same.
Timaru have opened their spectular new location. Also, Methven have relocated.
The Rotorua office have recommitted to the Ray White Group. Also, Manukau through the leadership of Adam Thomson. The Feilding office in the Manawatu has also renewed their agreement with Ray White.
We are proud to continue our Steve Hansen integrity and trust campaign. Our latest video is now running has had interactions of more than 40,000 (2,000 per day) on social media. This month will bring our video compilation to an end. Over the last seven months there have been short videos on questions that have been raised in tandem with Steve Hansen and myself.
We have partnered with the New Zealand Warriors for the 2017 NRL season. During the NRL season we will be doing a series of At Home videos designed for social interaction, whereby we connect with Warriors players at home with Ray White. In addition to this, we will continue the Ray White coin toss and more deeply engage with the Warriors membership through offers and property seminars that will be held during the season.
Our community partner, Ronald McDonald House, will hold their Annual Street Appeal during the week of 9th May 2017. We have been a proud support of Ronald McDonald House Charities over the past 10 years and this year their appeal day will again be offered to our network, which will have representation throughout New Zealand.
I recently attended a session with the Chief Economist of the ASB. Over the last number of years they have produced a regional scorecard. This provides broader insights particularly around the positive position of many of the regions and how this may be utilised for forecasting around sales and property management. The scorecard can also be discussed with salespeople about what is happening around the regions in various sectors, which may influence property (see the scorecard here).
We are coming close to our most exciting time of the year for the Ray White Group. Our combined recognition, conference and awards together with our marketing statement brings together all that we should be proud of within our group.
Our customer satisfaction continues to be the forefront of our business and we are understanding more around reputation and behaviour. This, in essence, lays the platform for better decision making. Our group continues to grow in size and quality.
NZ Chief Executive