How to compete in a market crowded with property listings

Agent trainer Josh Phegan and Trade Me’s Gavin Lloyd weigh in

Last updated: 27 February 2024

If you’ve been keeping an eye on the housing market in your area, you’ll know your neighbourhood is flush with homes for sale at the moment. According to Trade Me Property’s figures, national property listing volumes are up over 20% on this time last year.

This is fantastic for buyers but stressful for sellers who are hoping to achieve good prices for their homes in this competitive market. They will need to present their property as perfectly as possible and find a good real estate agent to guide them through the process.

We talk to two industry experts about what sellers need to know as they approach the current dynamic market.

First, let’s explore what market conditions are like across the country for sellers with Gavin Lloyd, Trade Me Property’s Sales Director. Then international top agent trainer Josh Phegan will give his insights on what smarts your agent can use to help bring your home to buyers’ attention.

Gavin Lloyd, Sales Director, Property

What have listing volumes been like in the main cities and some of the popular regional cities in early 2024?

It’s been great to see a recovery in listing volumes across January and February. In January national listing volumes were up 21% year-on-year and the recovery really accelerated in February which was tracking up 35% year-on-year – Auckland and the Bay of Plenty were the clear standouts. Note, significant weather events 12 months ago disrupted the flow of new listings to market at that time.

January, February, and March are always busy selling months but do you think there’s more to it than that?

Confidence and certainty have returned while interest rates, for the moment, have plateaued, as have falling house prices. We’ve also seen the expected post-election boost from the change in government, all giving buyers and sellers more certainty. Nothing feeds the property market more than better clarity on the forces that impact it.

What are the stats for how long houses for sale are spending on the market (days on site ) for 2024 compared with the same period in 2023?

We’ve seen a decent reduction with our median days on site. Twelve months ago they were sitting at around 81 days and it’s now dropped back significantly to 68. Auction remains the most efficient way to sell with the median days on site for this method sitting at 24 days, closely followed by both for sale by tender and deadline sale, at 25 days.

What are house prices doing in 2024 so far? Trade Me reported a slight decrease in prices for December 2023.

We’re still seeing fluctuations out there at both a national, regional and local level. We’re expecting to see price increases to remain modest in the first half of the year. Bearing in mind the constraints on affordability which remain and aren't changing anytime soon.

Are vendors being realistic about pricing? It seems like buyers out there are still expecting to find a bargain.

If we look at the median days on site, it still remains reasonably high at 68 (we define a normal market closer to 50 days), meaning that there still remains a bit of a disconnect between buyers and sellers. Sellers need to recognise that buyers are now getting more choice and aren't currently suffering from FOMO. So if they fail to meet the market on price, then they’ll risk missing out on potential buyers.

Are there any particular types of homes which are attracting more interest?

One trend we’re currently monitoring is, in January Auckland saw unprecedented demand for free standing one and two bedroom houses. This indicates that people are willing to compromise on location but not on property type. The quarter-acre dream still remains and the thought of apartment living continues to be a stretch for some.

Do you think the usual selling period of January to March might extend further this year into April and May, with so many properties waiting to sell?

We are certainly expecting some strong listing volumes right through to March but also feel that there remains some pent-up demand from buyers which will more than likely push activity throughout autumn. We believe autumn and winter this year will have a lot more momentum from both buyers and sellers than it did in 2023.

So if you’re bringing your property to the market in the coming months. What do you need to do to get the best price on your home? We put some questions to an international top agent trainer.

Josh Phegan, Real Estate Speaker, Trainer, Coach

How can your agent help your property stand out in a crowded market?

An agent will look at previous properties their agency has sold nearby and they’ll find the buyers who still have an appetite to purchase. They’ll also review previous appraisals to find potential buyers who would sell to buy your property.

Your agent may have recently sold a neighbourhood property at a good price. When they market a property as ‘just sold’, they’ll add in three additional properties that buyers could look at instead. For instance, 21 Jones Street has now sold; if you missed out, try 1 Smith Street. Buyer transfers are essential in any market.

Some agents will share the sale commission with another competing agent if they introduce a buyer to the property and help facilitate a deal. How does this work?

If another agent introduces a buyer, there’s a standard referral fee. It may be 20%, dependent upon the level of involvement. A 50/50 split is usually negotiated on a ‘conjunctional,’ where the agents are both involved in listing and marketing the property.

What else can sellers do to help successfully sell their home in a competitive market?

You should stay ahead of the market conditions. Review daily all the new listings and sales in your area. Markets are dynamic. A new listing that is for sale at a lower price will sell quickly and leave yours on the market. Sold results are a great way to cement the value of your home. Listen to your agent and seek their advice on what to do next.

Some properties may appeal to investors, first home buyers and downsizers. How can an agent use clever marketing to target multiple audiences?

If your home would suit investors, your agent will ensure you have a rental appraisal letter, as they’ll need that for their finances. If the property is tenanted, they’ll make sure that that information is included in the description. If it’s an affordable home which might be within a first home buyer’s budget, then your agent will include key messages in the listing copy like ‘great for first home buyers’. Meanwhile, if wanting to appeal to downsizers, your agent will emphasise important features that they’ll appreciate like ‘single-level living’, ‘no stairs’ and “‘ock and leave.’

Does the method of sale vary depending on how competitive the market is?

I would say auction creates action but also a well run ‘for sale’ campaign can achieve the same thing. It’s all about what your agent does. They may launch your home on a Tuesday and have a mid-week open house, so by the time you do your first weekend open home, you’ve already got buyers coming back for a second look. Ask for your agent's recommendations. It’s the little things that make a big difference in sales success.


Gill South
Gill South

Gavin Lloyd
Gavin Lloyd

Sales Director, Property -

Gavin Lloyd is a seasoned professional in sales and business development, driven by a passion for creating high performing teams and achieving growth. With over a decade of experience in the property industry, Gavin consistently showcases his expertise in crafting and executing strategic plans that yield tangible results. His extensive background in the online space, affords him an in depth perspective on this ever-evolving business landscape.

Gavin actively engages in the real estate sector, leveraging his profound insights through presentations and active participation in roadshow events. Gavin is also a regular contributor in news spots and radio broadcasts. As the Director of Sales at Trade Me Property, he continues to evolve and adapt alongside his team, ensuring that the information and value they offer remain pertinent, supportive, and instrumental in driving positive change.

Josh Phegan
Josh Phegan

Real Estate Speaker, Trainer, Coach -

Josh Phegan is the internationally renowned go-to speaker, trainer and coach for high-performance real estate agents and agencies. He is the number one preferred trainer for Australia's top 100 agents and top 50 women in real estate.

He personally coaches some of the who's who in the real estate industry, both new, emerging and high-performance agents, with his number 1 sales agent writing over $20.5m fees, 250+ transactions and $1.1billion in sales.

In 2024 he is set to perform in 200 events face to face and virtually in the UK, UAE, New Zealand and Australia. He works with leading real estate agencies at both training and boardroom levels. He hosts industry-leading events such as the Real Estate Blue-print and is the producer behind the High-Performance podcast with Alexander Phillips. Dynamic, captivating and fast-paced.