Property buyers seem to be taking more time to do their research before hitting the open-home circuit, with the internet now their primary source of information.
The latest Nielsen Annual Real Estate Market survey of 1,206 property buyers revealed those using the web are spending on average four and a half hours a week on real estate websites such as Realestate.co.nz and TradeMe/Property, and real estate sales company sites.
The increase in online property research is also reflected in the Nielsen Market Intelligence data, which reports 15% more traffic on real estate websites in May this year compared with May last year. The total amount of time spent by users on real estate websites has increase 29% over the last year - following growth of 19% the previous year.
"The increased research taking place online is perhaps showing us that property buyers are getting a large amount of their real estate information requirements ticked off via the web before utilizing other media options, or physically going to see the property itself," says Tony Boyte, research director of Nielsen's New Zealand online division.
However, Boyte says it's not just the internet that has seen a pick-up in users hunting for the next bargain.
"We've seen increases in popularity since last year in most sources, including all of the internet-based research options, company real estate magazines, for-sale signs, to real estate agents' window displays."
He says the notable exceptions recently have been newspapers and specialist real estate magazines, although both are still very popular for researching available property.
The survey's findings reflect an overall increasingly up-beat market, with activity slowly but steadily increasing throughout the country.