Property Portal Watch has learned of Realestate.co.nz, CEO, Alistair Helm’s departure from the company; Fairfax Moresby, Chairman of Realestate.co.nz made the official announcement today.
An acknowledgement of the significant part Mr Helm has played in the growth story of Realestate.co.nz was made, and Mr Helm was commended on the instrumental role and important contribution he played in developing the company since its establishment.
In the official release it states that, Mr Helm is leaving, as a consequence of a management restructure, and that as both the business itself, and online marketplace has matured the Board sees now as the appropriate time to review both operational structure and resourcing of the company as it charts its new future.
Curiously the new structure dis-establishes the role of CEO, no replacement for Mr Helm is in the plans, meaning that Realestate.co.nz will now be run without a CEO.
The decision to implement this restructure was communicated to Mr Helm a couple of weeks ago.
Property Portal Watch asked Mr Helm, who has been with Realestate.co.nz since 2006, about his plans for the future: “Given the fact that this is a decision made by the board rather than by me, I have not had the time to plan a future role at this time. That having been said I do intend to remain involved in the real estate industry applying my skills in technology and data – this may be in NZ or overseas” said Alistair Helm. “Naturally I am keen to look at a variety of opportunities either at a start up level or established businesses. I have a huge passion for the application of technology focused to assist home buyers and sellers.”
Mr Helm told PPW that one idea he is keen to pursue is, to start a new blog as a commentary on the NZ Property market, as he did in authoring the Unconditional blog for five years. He said that he intends to continue to analyse and report on the market using public data.
The NZ Property market is regaining ground – ground loss in the period from 2008 to 2011. The level of transactions are up – prices are rising, albeit slowly. In Helm’s opinion, the next two years hold a bright future where sales volumes will edge back to long term averages of around 90,000 per annum. Prices in the next two years will at a national level keep pace with inflation or edge maybe 2% ahead of the expected inflation of 1.5%. On a regional level Auckland and Christchurch will lead the market with stronger sales volumes and higher price rises.
Fairfax Moseby said: “Since establishment in 2005 the site has consistently grown both its traffic and market share to hold a very clear position as the most comprehensive website for real estate in New Zealand. It is used by over 1,000 real estate offices to showcase their listings with a total viewing audience of over 400,000 unique visitors each month from within NZ and overseas. Alistair’s role in making the business what it is today has been significant.”
Mr Helm added: “In overall terms I am enormously proud of my time and role at Realestate.co.nz. When I joined the company in 2006 we had a very poor web presence with a website that was archaic – a team of two people and yet the enormous support and confidence from the industry who believed that an industry owned portal could support the industry int he long terms. Six years later the company has grown from 2 to 15 people it has retained the loyal support of over 97% of the industry and is a very successful and profitable stand alone company. A company that is growing at over 35% a year and stands as a credible and relevant #2 to in the market (based on consumer traffic to Trade Me Property).”
One of the things Mr Helm has expressed most pride over is, the development of the mobile app which has given the company the dominance in the mobile space in NZ real estate with over 100,000 downloads and over 27% of all traffic to a mobile device.
Another jewel in his crown would have to be, the development of the NZ Property report, which was a huge leverage for building a position of media commentary and credibility, as well as the education and support of the industry in educating and facilitating their adoption of online marketing and social media.
When we asked Mr Helm about any regrets he may have, in retrospect, about decisions or steps he should have / could have made, he replied: “In the online world there are always things you wished you could have done; there are always so many ideas that could have been implemented, however you have to be pragmatic as to, what can be achieved with limited resources.”
“I guess one regret was the failed new site launch in 2010 when we had to roll back to the old site, that was a poor performance, and yet as ever it offered us all valuable lessons and experiences,” he concluded.
We have had the pleasure of reading Alistair Helm’s blog, input on our site and valuable participation at the Property Portal Watch Workshop, and we wish him luck in his future endeavors.