Property a new pastime as Aucklanders search smarter

Friday 29 January 2016, 11:15AM
By Barfoot & Thompson


Poring over property listings has become a new Auckland pastime, with nearly a third of Auckland homeowners (31%) reporting that they search for property ‘all the time’, whether they are in the market or not.​

A further 48% say they ‘sometimes’ search property listings, despite not actually being in the market for a new home. Just 21% confine their property searches to when they’re actively in the market to buy.

Increasing numbers are also turning to more sophisticated online tools in their searches, to pinpoint the exact areas and properties of most interest.

While websites are the go-to for most, just ahead of dedicated property publications, the growth in specialised mobile applications is seeing around one in five searchers (21%) adding them to their toolbox.

Answering to the demands of the Auckland market, Barfoot & Thompson’s new iOS and Android compatible app is location aware and also allows users to search by hand-selected suburbs from across the region.

"You can open the app and immediately see the properties for sale near you. It’s like having the local branch’s window display in your hand," explains Chief Technology Officer Stephen Barfoot.

"This makes keeping abreast of the local market easier and more enjoyable for browsers, while serious house-hunters can easily access the listing for a ‘for sale’ sign they’ve just passed, or for an open home they’re about to walk into."

"There’s also no need to be pigeon-holed into predetermined regions of the city. You can tailor your search to specific suburbs from across the whole of Auckland."

Added content such as videos, floor plans and documents such as LIM reports and auction documents are also available for many properties at the touch of a finger.

School zone search a must-have in Auckland market

The addition of school and zoning information to the Barfoot & Thompson app was in specific response to the wants and needs of the Auckland buyer, says Stephen. In map view, searchers can see nearby schools and their zones, or add zones to their tailored search criteria.

"Whether it is about keeping your child in the school they are already attending, or planning for the future, this is a functionality Aucklanders want."

"This background information is also very insightful for buyers looking to purchase in some of the more sought-after zones, in which properties can often attract premium sale and rental prices."

The school zone data is pulled directly from the Ministry of Education database, though the company suggests thorough due diligence is done direct with the school in question before committing to a property.

Growth in digital builds on traditional tools

While shop windows, ‘for sale’ signs and printed publications continue to hold strong value for property searchers, digital search platforms are growing at an astounding rate.

Data insights from Barfoot & Thompson for 2015 show a year-on-year increase in website visits of 37%, with mobile representing nearly a third of all visits (31%).

Barfoot & Thompson’s app in a glance:

  • Location aware: Open the app and immediately view properties for sale near you.
  • Interactive map: Get a bird’s eye view of the local market, tap on a property to see more.
  • Hand-selected search areas: Search by region or hand-pick the suburbs you want to search.
  • School zones: See schools on the map, tap to view their enrolment zones or add schools to your search criteria.
  • Open homes: Turn on a layer to show open homes within a time frame that suits you.
  • Custom filters: Adjust price, bedrooms and bathrooms to see only those homes that match your criteria.
  • High-res photography: Flip through full-screen photos of homes for sale.
  • Videos and floor plans: For those homes that have them available.
  • Features all of the thousands of Auckland and Northland homes listed with Barfoot & Thompson
  • Available now for download for iPhone and iPad from the App Store, and for Android devices from Google Play.

Property search findings based on a surveyed sample of 955 Auckland home owners. The research was conducted by TRA for Barfoot & Thompson.

No one knows Auckland like Barfoot & Thompson. It is the city’s leading real estate company, selling around one in three Auckland residential homes. Their state of the art app is available for download from the App Store and from Google Play.