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05-08-2008

Estate agents back in demand with sellers

NZHERALD

Cautious vendors are more likely to enlist a professional real estate agent to sell their properties in the present housing market rather than sell it themselves, a study has found.

An annual Nielsen Online study on the behaviour of property buyers and sellers found 41 per cent of vendors saying they will "definitely" list with a real estate agent, up from 35 per cent last year, and only 14 per cent saying they would try to sell on their own. Last year, half of respondents said they would try to sell their homes privately.

Realestate.co.nz chief executive Alistair Helm attributed this to the present "sober" housing market conditions.

"During the boom, everyone seemed to flirt with the idea of selling privately ... but the slow market is showing that vendors have renewed confidence in a professional agent's ability to find buyers and close a deal," he said.

Median house prices fell by 2.15 per cent in June, from $345,000 in May to $340,000. This followed a 1.42 per cent drop in the previous month.

The survey also found that the internet was becoming more instrumental to New Zealand's real estate industry, with people spending almost three hours on specialist real estate websites every week. Despite 50 per cent fewer properties being listed, the time spent looking at properties online rose by 22 per cent.

Mr Helm said real estate agents were also capitalising on the trend: "Individual agents are increasingly using the web to market themselves through blogs and other forms of social media."

Buyer Wihelmina Koh told the Herald she had turned to the internet recently because choices in the print media, such as the Property Press, which had "halved" its pages, were limited.

Nielsen Online surveyed 1200 online users between April and June through the websites of four selected real estate agencies. Its poll has a margin of error of 2.9 per cent.

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