Real Estate

Peter Thompson ignores the obvious

Peter Thompson ignores the obvious in trying to explain why people with chinky-sounding names no longer attend his company’s auctions.

Chinese property investors are rapidly disappearing from the auction room, says the boss of Auckland’s biggest real estate agency.

Peter Thompson, of Barfoot & Thompson, blames financial instability in China for the dip in those bidding – partly fuelling the market slowdown. “There are a lot less Chinese in the auction room at the moment and at the open homes,” he said.

“The market has changed and some of that is the Chinese buyers. There are more requirements in getting money out of China now and that is having an impact.”

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Poll shows Labour’s and Twyford’s ugly legacy: the seed of distrust against Asians has found fertile soil

Digipoll did a poll for a newspaper, and it makes for ugly reading

Credit: Digipoll/A newspaper

Credit: Digipoll/A newspaper

Notice the extremely injurious way this poll was pitched.  The real problem, according to commentators (and if borne out by still non-existent evidence), is the number or percentage of non-resident purchasers of property.   But as you can clearly see, A newspaper has simply labelled everyone ‘a foreigner’. Read more »

Apparently mortgagee sales have jumped…if you believe a newspaper

A newspaper has a telling headline this morning: “Mortgagee sales jump as economy starts to come off boil”.

But have they? The writer is clearly showing his inherent bias in the opening paragraphs.

The number of mortgagee sales has jumped nationwide in the past quarter as worsening economic conditions and lower dairy payouts hit parts of provincial New Zealand.

But as the nation’s “rock star” economy comes off the boil, experts are warning of more foreclosures outside Auckland’s surging property market as financially strapped homeowners in regional New Zealand start defaulting on their mortgages.

“People lose interest in their properties, they lose interest in their lives and the bank senses that, and that’s when you have distressed sales,” Harcourts agent and mortgagee specialist David Savery said.

Nearly 150 people lost their homes in distressed sales in the three months to June 30, compared with just 95 in the first quarter – a jump of more than 50 per cent – CoreLogic figures provided exclusively to the Herald show.

In the year to June nearly 700 Kiwi homeowners lost their properties – 84 of them in Auckland. Though the annual figures were down on previous years, foreclosure numbers appear to be plateauing again after a period of sustained falls.

Five of the nation’s 14 regions recorded a jump in forced sales in the past 12 months: Hawkes Bay (47), Otago (31), Southland (27), Tasman-Nelson-Marlborough (22) and West Coast (16).

Waikato had the most (117), followed by Manawatu-Wanganui (90), Auckland (84) and Wellington (76).

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Honey, I’ve got the Blues


In the world of real estate Martin Honey has always been considered safe as houses. Now the walls are closing in on the high-flying Auckland agent. In the fourth part of a special Whaleoil investigation, we examine the involvement of a former National party MP:

by Stephen Cook

FORMER NATIONAL MP Jackie Blue used false and misleading information in an attempt to destroy the reputation of one of the central figures in the Martin Honey real estate saga.

Today Whaleoil can reveal how Blue – who is now Equal Opportunities Commissioner – conspired with Honey to try and bring down consumer rights advocate Dermot Nottingham, who made his name back in the 1990s exposing car odometer fraud.

In March 2011 Blue wrote to Internal Affairs Minister Nathan Guy demanding an urgent investigation into the suitability of Nottingham as a real estate agent.

With that letter she included a ‘dossier’ containing a number of serious allegations relating to what she described as Nottingham’s “extensive criminal record and history of intimidation”.

The dossier was provided to her by Honey.

No effort was made by Blue to verify any of the allegations, all of which were untrue.    Read more »

Honey, would you lie to me?

Today in part two of a special WOBH investigation, we speak to Martin Honey – the real estate agent fighting to save his career and reputation in the face of allegations of unscrupulous conduct.

By Stephen Cook

EMBATTLED REAL estate agent Martin Honey is refusing to be drawn on the question of whether he misled authorities in an attempt to escape punishment for unethical conduct.

Over the past two decades, Honey has earnt a reputation as one of the star performers on the Auckland real estate scene with property sales running into the tens of millions of dollars.

But has that success been built off the back of dishonest business practices?

That’s the focus of a complaint lodged six years ago with the real estate governing body by three men who are trying to recover the several hundred thousand dollars they say they lost because of Martin Honey’s actions.

For the past six years consumer rights advocate Dermot Nottingham, his brother Phillip and friend Robert McKinney have been engaged in a bruising legal battle with Honey which now is being played out in the public arena.

The dispute between Honey, who through Pure Realty Ltd was the former owner of the Re-Max franchise in Royal Oak, and Dermot Nottingham’s company Property Bank Realtor Limited flared up back in 2009 after Nottingham bought a Re-Max franchise previously operated by Honey. Nottingham claimed Honey continued to operate a website with Re-Max branding from February 13, 2009 through to April 18, 2010 while employed by Ray White Ltd.   Read more »

Honey on Toast – A Special Investigation

Martin Honey

In the world of real estate Martin Honey’s always been considered safe as houses. Now the walls are closing in on the high-flying Auckland agent. In the first part of a special Whaleoil investigation, we explain why.

by Stephen Cook

THE HIGH COURT has delivered a major shot in the arm to one of the protagonists in a long-running Auckland real estate dispute with a ruling this week which threatens to turn the entire case on its head.

After six gruelling years, consumer rights advocate Dermot Nottingham, his brother Phillip along with Robert McKinney finally have something to celebrate after a court ruling clearing the way for a re-examination of crucial evidence in their six-year slugfest with real estate agent Martin Honey. Rounds one and two may have gone the way of Honey, but McKinney and the Nottingham brothers have claimed the high ground in the decisive third after successfully appealing the findings of the Real Estate Agents Disciplinary Tribunal.

The ruling opens the door for more legal action against Honey by the three men who with costs are believed to out-of-pocket to the tune of at least half a million dollars.

They also have set their sights on a group of National MPs who supported Honey throughout the six-year ordeal.

The Nottingham’s and McKinney took the matter to the High Court challenging the tribunal’s refusal to lay misconduct charges against Honey for “duplicitous business practices” dating back to 2009 which they say ended up costing them hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The appellants also claimed Honey laid a “false retaliatory complaint” with the Authority back in 2011 alleging Dermot Nottingham attempted to intimidate he and his wife with “militant style thug threats”.

After twice being knocked back by the organisation governing real estate agents, the three men decided to file an appeal in the High Court, claiming “corrupt, dishonest and immoral” practices on the part of the tribunal.

In a 40-page judgement in favour of the appellants, Justice Susan Thomas took serious issue with the tribunal’s handling of the case.    Read more »

The real reason why house prices are rising rapidly

Labour would have you believe that rising house prices is the fault of people with chinky sounding names.

They also say we need a capital gains tax and possibly a stamp duty and restrictions on those yellow investors to halt the rise of house prices.

Even John Key is reacting by suggesting that perhaps a non-resident withholding tax could be deployed.

But the problem won’t be solved with any of those “solutions”.

The ANZ Bank has some new research which gives some insight into the real causes of rising house prices…and it will frighten most politicians.

In a paper on housing affordability released on Friday, ANZ Research said it was low interest rates and cheap mortgages that were contributing to the rapid growth in house prices, particularly in Sydney, rather than tax policies like capital gains tax concessions or negative gearing.    Read more »

Someone isn’t telling the truth and my pick is it is Phil Twyford


Phil Twyford – telling porkies?

Yesterday, before the ratbag agent was outed, I hypothesised that the whole story about housing in Auckland was a Dirty Media/Dirty Politics stitch up.

This story was run contemporaneously by the NZ Herald and TV3’s The Nation. Both outlets would have been working on this for some time and it is clear they were both colluding with Phil Twyford and Labour since they all managed to be in the studio at The Nation first thing on Saturday morning before most people had even read the newspaper.

If Peter Thompson is to be believed the media were the ones running this data, but according to Phil Twyford he was working with a “whistle-blower”. Could it be perhaps they are not the same person?

The Herald editors must have known they were sitting on a time bomb with perhaps their biggest advertiser. They could hardly lead the charge…no they would need this data laundered through someone…like Phil Twyford, so they could claim it was leaked, and given to a political party who went public and therefore it became news.

By the afternoon we had more information.

Firstly that the agent in question, Grant Hargrave, has denied handing any data to the Labour party, or speaking with anyone in the Labour party. He even says he doesn’t know them.

The newspaper who kicked this all off wrote:    Read more »

Provinces benefiting from Auckland housing issues

I fielded a call yesterday from a mate in Taupo, Rick Cooper, he used to be the Mayor and is a real hard case.

He was telling me about what is going on in Taupo as a result of Auckland housing issues.

Basically his experience is that Taupo is booming and growing as Aucklanders cash up, release capital in their houses in Auckland and move out to places like Taupo. Anyone who advertises for jobs in Taupo is being inundated with people from Auckland applying. On top of that with their capital freed up they are buying nice houses in Taupo and then deploying the rest of the capital into new businesses and investments.

He doesn’t want the problem solved in Auckland anytime soon as Auckland spill over is Taupo’s gain.

TV3 covered a similar story last night:

Regardless of who is fuelling the Auckland property boom, it’s forcing many people to look further afield.

Whangarei is a couple of hours’ drive from Auckland, but sales of homes there have almost doubled in the past year.

Real estate agents say they’re being snapped up by people who can’t afford to buy in our biggest city.   Read more »

Barfoots on a witch hunt for Labour’s leaker

It is looking like Barfoot & Thompson is the source of the raw data that Phil Twyford used for his dodgy racist anti-Chinese rant.

They are on a witch hunt for the leaker as well they might given the highly personal and private information that Labour has got their hands on.

Real estate company Barfoot and Thompson “assumes” it was their Auckland house sales information that was leaked to Labour and has launched an investigation to ferret out the data thief.

Meanwhile, Labour leader Andrew Little has rejected criticism that the data – which identified buyers as Chinese from their surname – was “an exercise in unveiled racism.”

On Saturday Labour’s Phil Twyford released figures based on house sales data from 3922 Auckland sales from February to April.

He then extrapolated from the list’s Asian-sounding names that Chinese buyers accounted for 39.5 per cent of buyers compared to the 9 per cent of Auckland’s population recorded as being ethnically Chinese in the latest census.

Twyford refused to say where the data had come from but Barfoot and Thompson chief executive Wendy Alexander said the company suspected it had come from them due to the volume of sales involved.

Barfoot claims to sell about one-third of the houses in Auckland and the data was said to represent about 45 per cent of the sales in the period.

Alexander said the company had started an investigation “to see if it was leaked and by whom”.

Sales data was shared within the company and it was possible to access the list of buyers’ names, she said.

Property Institute chief executive Ashley Church said Twyford’s research was “reprehensible” and “an exercise in unveiled racism”.

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