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First National: house buyers should expect more

First National Real Estate Chief Executive Bob Brereton is warning that the Real Estate industry will need to ‘up its game’ in the wake of new data which has been released by real estate research company Canstar.

He says that the data clearly shows what the industry has known for a while – that ‘market sentiment’ is changing and that home buyers are concerned about the impact of 5 years of strong growth in house prices.

“When house prices are hot people tend to get caught up in the ride - but when things come off the boil, they start to look at the impact of those increases”.

Mr Brereton says that the Canstar data shows some clear trends which, while expected at this point of the cycle, should give real estate companies cause to be concerned.

In particular, the report shows:

• that 64% of respondents believe that first home buyers are being priced out of the market.
• that 11% of buyers bought a house outside their preferred area because it was cheaper
• that 20% of people rent because they can’t afford to buy
Mr Brereton says that this shows that it’s time for the real estate industry to ‘step up’ and show leadership.

“Things which worked during a boom may not work as well when the market has flattened off so we need to be communicating with the market in a way which shows people that we understand their concerns and that we have solutions to some of them. That means doing things in a way which is responsive to those concerns”.

Mr Brereton said this could mean communicating in new ways, working more closely with clients to resolve problems, or finding better ways to deal with contracts and paperwork.

“It’s all about thinking about things form a client-centric perspective and trying to keep their concerns top of mind”.

Mr Brereton pointed to the other findings of the Canstar report which measured customer satisfaction with the major real estate firms in New Zealand.

“First National was the top rated real estate company in 5 of the 6 relevant categories (communications and advice, problem resolution, contract handling, financial paperwork, and marketing) – and was rated the best real estate company, in the country overall”.

“That’s a real endorsement of the fact that, not only do we understand these issues, but we’re actively engaged, with our clients, in helping to find solutions to them’.

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