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  • First National Real Estate
    A range of informative tips and hints on what to consider when buying or selling your property.
    Click here to view our 2013 National Winners
    First National Real Estate
    Moving house is becoming increasingly difficult and time consuming. There are more companies to deal with, longer phone queues and less time available. First National, in association with Fast Connect, offers an efficient connections serrvice to get everything ready at your new home.
  • Whether you are selling, buying or investing, First National Real Estate can help with our range of informative real estate guides.
    First National Real Estate - MArket Appraisal
    Establishing the actual value of your home is essential in gaining the best possible result for your sale. It also requires a great deal of local knowledge and homework. Request your FREE Market Appraisal here.
    First National Realestate - Careers
    Opportunities available nationwide for Business Owners, Branch Managers and Sales Consultants.
  • Awards showcase First National's best in the business First National Group's top real estate stars and offices have been recognised at the General Excellence and Marketing (GEM) Awards in Darwin, Australia. Agents and offices from around New Zealand, who had earlier ruled supreme in First National Group's regional awards in March, vied to be named the country's best at the GEM Awards. Last week's gala evening and black tie dinner was held at the First National Australasian Conference and attended by more than 350 agents from across Australasia and the South Pacific. “The performance results we used to determine the 2013 GEM Award winners were of the highest standard,” says First National CEO Colleen Milne. “It is a privilege to be honouring these outstanding estate agent and offices, who continue to raise the real estate industry bar in terms of professionalism, expertise and best practice.” For the 15th consecutive year, Gillian Cross has been honoured with the award for New Zealand's Top Sales Consultant. The win coincides with Gillian celebrating 21 years as a real estate agent for Wellington's First National Guardian, Churton Park. In close contention for the top award was Stratford-based Owen Mills, from First National Mills & Gibbon, who placed second in the New Zealand Top 20 Sales Consultant category. He also won Top Rural Sales Consultant and Top Rural Office for the country. First National Chairman Bob Brereton says the gala evening was a wonderful opportunity to celebrate success after a year that presented a range of professional challenges. “Selling conditions put many agents to the test in 2013, following the global economic crisis and a major national housing shortage. This meant that our members and their staff had to work harder and smarter to win property listings. “The GEM Awards are recognition of our people's marketplace knowledge, outstanding customer service, dedication and hard-work.” First National offices across the country compete for the yearly GEM Awards, aimed to keep agents striving for excellence and customer satisfaction. On the night the Top Sales Offices for the network in New Zealand were named and included: Top Office Award: Group 1 (1 - 5 salespeople) First National Churton Park, Wellington Top Office Award: Group 2 (6 - 10 salespeople) First National Mills & Gibbon, Stratford Top Office Award: Group 3 (11 + salespeople) First National Mark Stevenson, Blenheim Top Property Management Office Award: First National Mills & Gibbon, Hawera Property Management Growth Award: First National Te Puke Top Rural Office Award: First National Mills & Gibbon, Stratford Top Commercial Office Award: First National Reid & Wilson, Timaru Top Auction Office Award: First National Mills & Gibbon, Stratford Individuals were also recognised on the night, with the Top 10 Salespeople being: Top National Residential Sales Consultant Award: Gillian Cross, First National Guardian, Churton Park Top National Rural Sales Consultant Award: Owen Mills, First National Mills & Gibbon, Stratford Top National Commercial/Industrial Sales Consultant Award: Peter Wilson, First National Reid & Wilson, Timaru Top National Sections & Project Marketing Sales Consultant Award: Mike Murphy, First National Richmond National Rookie of the Year Award: Rachel Millard, First National Omokoroa National Next Generation Award: (salespeople under 30) Stacey Cruse, First National Gore National Legend Award: Andrea Church, First National Mark Stevenson, Blenheim Top National Number of Confirmed Sales Award: Gillian Cross, First National Guardian, Churton Park Top National Number of Confirmed Sections and Project Marketing Sales Award: Mike Murphy, First National Richmond Top National Dollar Value of Confirmed Sales Award: Owen Mills, First National Mills & Gibbon, Stratford Top National Exclusive Lister Award: Gillian Cross, First National Guardian, Churton Park Top National Exclusives Sold Award: Mark McLeod, First National, Reid & Wilson, Timaru Top National Auction Lister Award: Owen Mills, First National Mills & Gibbon, Stratford Top National Gross Referral Fees Generated Award: Peter Skinner, First National Waiheke Top National Vendor Advertising to the Office Award: Owen Mills, First National Mills & Gibbon, Stratford Top 20 National Salespeople of the Year: (1) Gillian Cross, First National Guardian, Churton Park; (2) Owen Mills, First National Mills & Gibbon, Stratford; (3) Arthur Subritzky, First National NOW, Manukau; (4) Yolanda Atkins, First National Waitakere; (5) Gillian Quantrill, First National Rutherford, Howick; (6) Jamie Gemmell, First National Western, New Plymouth; (7) Tony Xu, First National Rutherford, Howick; (8) Kevin Bastin, First National Tauranga; (9) Grant Robertson, First National Otaki; (10) Andrea Church, First National Mark Stevenson, Blenheim; (11) Lee Girvan First National Western, New Plymouth; (12) Mark Mcleod, First National Reid and Wilson, Timaru; (13) David Oldham, First National Waitakere; (14) Lorraine Barrett, First National Mark Stevenson, Blenheim; (15) Mike Murphy, First National Richmond; (16) Philip Brough, First National Invercargill; (17) Margaret Mckeefry, First National Guardian, Johnsonville; (18) Stacey Cruse, First National Gore; (19) Bob Brereton, First National Motueka; (20) Raymond Kwan First National Rutherford, Howick. For further information please contact: Rebecca Reid BOOM! PR Rebecca@boompr.co.nz 027 519 4994 Editors notes: Established in New Zealand since 1985, First National has become the first stop for tens of thousands of property buyers and sellers from Kaitaia in the north to Riverton in the south. First National is a network with each office independently owned and operated, just like their counterparts in Australia. While most property sales are local, First National members benefit from a comprehensive referral network, not only throughout New Zealand and Australia, but also in Singapore, the United States and Canada. For more information visit www.firstnational.co.nz
    Flat tyres, broken gear changers, driving rain, blustering wind and 950 kilometres of cycling all behind her, Doreen Rudolph can have a rest at last. The First National real estate agent rode into Middlemore Hospital on November 8, 11-1/2 days after setting out from Motueka on a charity fundraising mission. Armed with a cheque for $5000 for the National Burn Centre, the German-born cyclist arrived with her old school-friend Sasha Egert, who flew in from Frankfurt to accompany her on the ride. Inspired at the company's national conference by hearing Eric Molving, who was trapped in a burning vehicle for 26 seconds, Doreen decided to saddle-up and raise funds for burn education. "We had only left Foxton when I dragged some wire into my gear-thingy, and wrecked it. We had to go back to where we had stayed the night, and he drove us to Palmerston North to get it fixed,” Doreen said. "I hoped that would be it, but when I was coming down the hill into Taupo the bike started to shake a bit. I thought it was just me again, but it was actually a flat. The tyre had glass in it, so much glass on the roads here.” Doreen and her husband arrived from Germany wanting to raise their children bilingual. "We looked at Australia, but there were too many creepy-crawlies for me, so we ended up in Motueka. It's fabulous, a little paradise. But when I heard Eric speak I knew I had to contribute,” Doreen said. Despite their obviously strong ties since childhood, Sasha stills thinks he had the tougher role. "She only cycled 950kms, I had to travel 18,500kms to support her.” The Frankfurt-based web-designer says if he cycled 950kms from his home, he'd end up "maybe in Vienna, Austria”. The pair endured a few hairy moments out on the road. "The trucks are quite good really, they give you a little room and sometimes a toot, but the cars - especially with trailers - are a nightmare,” Doreen said. A torrential downpour meant they had to bypass Ohakune, but the pair visited First National agencies along the way, and even attended a breakfast in Rotorua, where newly-elected mayor Steve Chadwick came along to meet them. The branches were challenged to contribute to Doreen's fundraising effort. "As someone who has been welcomed to this country, I wanted to give back.” And Doreen's efforts didn't go unrewarded. First National also handed over a cheque, this one for $15,000, to help support its commitment to National Burn Education Fund scholarships to allow staff outside main centres to get training. Motueka agency head Bob Brereton said he remembered Doreen's reaction after she listened to Molving at the company conference. "I got this text the same night that said she had to do something and was going to ride her bike to Auckland. I just told her she was nuts.” He said despite being chairman of the First National group and Doreen's boss, her ride was no PR stunt they had cooked up. "I soon realized she was determined to do it and had this real desire to contribute. It made me even prouder to be her friend. "The company motto is: We put you first. And I have to say Doreen's ride, and we have to include Sasha too, is a great example of that. They've been selfless and it's quite humbling.” The $15,000 contribution from First National included money raised at an auction at a conference, and a "top-up” from the company, general manager Colleen Milne said. Milne said the company could not be prouder of its newest fundraiser. "Doreen is remarkable. Her commitment is fabulous. Our company's charitable foundation has supported the National Burn Centre for many years, so to see one of our people pick that up and take it further is wonderful.” National Burn Service co-ordinator Tracey Perrett said the company's support for training was both vital and forward-thinking. "The first hours of treatment are critical to the outcome and the ability to spread knowledge out of the main centres into smaller sites is essential because these sites will have to treat the patients before they are transferred to a burn unit.” "We can't believe how lucky we are that First National has grasped the significance of sharing the knowledge we have so that the most suitable interventions can be made as early as possible in smaller centres.” Scholarship winners will attend an Emergency Management of Severe Burns course, developed in Australia and New Zealand over the past 17 years. It aims to empower all healthcare professionals to cope with the emergency life-saving care of a severe burn. Recipients learn how to assess, stabilize and transfer a severely burnt patient during their first 24 hours of care. "We had a look at our records and it seems fitting, given the spread of First National, that every health district has sent us patients. It will be good to pass the knowledge we have here back into those areas.” Meanwhile Doreen is plotting a South Island trek next year and has a message for all. "I only started cycling maybe a year or two ago. I started with skipping, just minutes a day, and then Pilates - which is good for us Mums. So anyone can get their fitness up enough. "More Kiwis should do this.”
  • Investors win as first home buyers' attendance at open homes and unconditional contracts drop Survey findings released today has found First National real estate offices report on average a 27% drop in first home buyers' attendance at open homes. In October 2012, 58% of First National offices reported that 20% (or less) of attendees at open homes were first home buyers. Whereas in October 2013, first home buyers attendees had decreased, with 85% of First National offices now reporting that 20% (or less) of attendees at open homes were first home buyers. The research was commissioned by First National Group New Zealand to get an early indication of the impact since the loan-to-value ratio (LVR) restrictions came into force. The survey also found on average the number of unconditional contracts for first home buyers halved last month compared to this time last year. The regions, where the First National network is strongly represented, has felt the LVR restrictions the fastest. Colleen Milne, CEO of First National Group NZ says, “While some sources say it is too early to gauge the effect of the LVR constraints, our offices are already experiencing a slow down.” First National Blenheim reports a very obvious drop off. Only two first home buyer contracts went unconditional last month compared to seven in October 2012. Owen Norrish from First National Blenheim says his business has noticed a 40% decline in first home buyer attendance at open homes between October 2012 and 2013. “The LVR has almost totally taken away the bottom tier of the market, which filters through to second and third tier buyer groups,” says Mr Norrish. “Investors are showing increased interest but are being very cautious and only wish to purchase at bargain prices. “There has also been a very noticeable drop off in first home buyers attending open homes. This buyer group is frequently expressing their frustration at the new LVR rules, which most see as a government restriction,” Mr Norrish adds. Bob Brereton, Chairman of First National Group and owner of First National Motueka, says there is a noticeable decline in first home buyer property enquiries. “I believe it has further enhanced the position and options of investors by removing the first home buyers from a market with limited opportunities,” he says. “In my opinion, the LVR is having the reverse of the desired effect.” First National Gore had five first home buyers under unconditional contracts in October 2012, compared to zero last month. “The LVR has slowed the first home market and vendors are dropping their prices,” says Graham Maxwell from First National Gore. Nelson had five first home buyers under unconditional contracts last October compared to one in 2013. This office says it has experienced a drop of 50% of first home buyers' attendance at open homes within the year. “The LVR has directly affected our market,” says First National Nelson owner Mark Rumsey. “We have a significant reduction in enquiry and open home investors in properties $350,000 and below.” David Price from First National Invercargill says, “The quantity of sales in the lower end of the market that normally sell to first home buyers has decreased by approximately 25%. This in turn affects the next bracket.” First National Papakura has found less first home buyers and more interest from investors. While the Glendene office reported a 10-20% drop off in first home buyer attendance at open homes last month compared to October 2012. Whakatane First National owner Debra Gibbons stated they had a number of “very unhappy” pre-approved first home buyers now unable to purchase. Ms Milne says, “We understand first home buyers may currently feel disadvantaged with the LVR restrictions but we hope they haven't become disillusioned. “We recommend first home buyers seek financial advice on how to reach their goals and continue to keep saving. We certainly would not like to see an entire segment of the market unable to start their climb onto the property market.” -Ends- For further comment, please contact: Colleen Milne CEO First National Group NZ 09 557 0300 I 029 771 0750 colleen.milne@firstnational.co.nz Media release written and released on behalf of First National Group NZ by BOOM! PR. Please contact Rebecca Reid on 027 519 4994 or rebecca@boompr.co.nz.
    Trade Me's decision to lift its property listing fees may backfire if agents swing to other websites, agents say. House vendors will probably have to pay between $159 and $230 for a Trade Me listing in future, as real estate agents pass on a fee they generally used to absorb. ''It's an enormous price rise and it doesn't seem justified,'' Colleen Milne, chief executive of real estate co-operative First National Group said. Trade Me has told agencies that property listing fees for agencies will go up from $124 to $159 and they will lost their monthly cap, which agents say will significantly boost Trade Me's revenues. The cost for ordinary vendors listing a property would continue to be $349 to $399 until sold. The move follows a number of fee hikes by Trade Me in recent months, including fees for commercial leasing and rental listings. Milne said Trade Me also recommended real estate agencies not only pass the new costs on to vendors but charge them extra, about $199 plus GST. However, her group ''was not interested in clipping that ticket''. Real estate agencies were upset because the increase was presented as a ''fait accompli,'' Milne said. ''[Trade Me] believe that's where the cost should sit for the amount of eyes they bring to the website.'' As a result, Milne said it was likely the industry would swing more towards other advertising mediums, particularly its own website, realestate.co.nz. ''I think as an industry we probably will value that more, and while most of our listings have gone onto realestate.co.nz before, I think we'll be making sure we put all of them onto that site now and promote them more heavily.'' Trade Me's chief executive Jon Macdonald said his company believed online advertising ''should receive a bigger slice of marketing spend in relation to house sales to better reflect the value it delivers''. Trade Me's fee increases in other areas have not gone down well with some members, who accused it of greed when the auction site raised its ''success fees'' for general items by between 5.3 per cent and 8.1 per cent last October. That marketplace, used by many members to buy and sell second-hand goods, is the backbone of Trade Me but has since flatlined. Trade Me reported a 4.9 per cent revenue increase from general items in the year to June, but that was entirely attributable to the fee rise. The total value of general items auctioned through Trade Me was flat, and the number of items auctioned fell. Trade Me chairman David Kirk said yesterday that the company expected slower revenue growth this year, but was "still very focused" on increasing its profit each year. -Catherine Harris - © Fairfax NZ News
  • People trying to sell their homes may have to fork out an extra $230 to have the property listed on Trade Me - on top of real estate agent fees and commission they already pay. The online auction site stands to make a huge profit from the increased fees - which the company encourages agents to pass on to homeowners. Real estate offices had listed their properties on the site at a discounted fee. But from tomorrow, as contracts come up for renewal, each listing will be charged at $159. Most agencies had absorbed the old costs but say they will now pass it on to vendors. In a letter to agencies, Trade Me recommended vendors be charged $199+GST ($228.85), allowing a 20 per cent commission for agents. This is on top of real estate fees, which in the Auckland region can range from 2.95 per cent to 4 per cent for the first $300,000 of the sale price, and then 2 per cent to 2.5 per cent for anything on top of that, according to Real Estate Consulting New Zealand. An administration fee can be up to $500. The site has also raised the fees it charges to list rental properties, commercial leases and businesses. Real estate agencies were fuming when contacted by the Herald yesterday. First National general manager Colleen Milne said: "We're really unhappy with that because a lot of our owners have absorbed that cost till now. "Trade Me really are promoting that they should be getting an equal cut of the pie, so I've asked them to justify it. And they haven't been able to ..." She said the company would not charge vendors rates proposed by Trade Me but would pass on the actual costs. "First National is one of the first groups to support Trade Me and I made my opinion very strong that I felt they had a monopolistic kind of attitude." Professionals chief executive Mike Henderson said: "For us to shift from a capped environment to a listing fee environment straight away without actually really thinking it through and forming the right strategies and deciding how we want to manage this increasing cost, just seemed a wee bit rapid. Trade Me will close to treble their revenue streams." " Trade Me spokesman Paul Ford said the new fees "better reflect the value delivered". He said the company was recommending agents pass on the costs to home-owners as it was the right thing to do. Real Estate Institute chief executive Helen O'Sullivan said listing on Trade Me would become an "added extra" for vendors, rather than automatic when signing up with an agent. But she said print advertisements were still a popular way to advertise as well as realestate.co.nz. Trade Me chairman David Kirk told yesterday's annual shareholders' meeting in Wellington that revenue from classified ads for cars, houses and jobs was up 30 per cent and was now "delivering the bulk of earnings growth today". By Alanah Eriksen
    Two lucky Kiwi families can win a Dulux paint package and in-person consultation with TV and radio interior designer Hamish Dodd First National Real Estate network is in the business of knowing what properties Kiwis love to live in. New Zealanders are passionate about owning property and DIY. Yet clients tell First National agents nationwide they often deliberate over the cost of home renovation. In response, this week First National Group launches its 'Pimp Your Property' promotion. The real estate cooperative has partnered with renowned paint brand Dulux to offer a prize worth telling your friends about. Two winners - one from the North Island and one from the South - will win a prize package worth over $5,000 each, including 250 litres of Dulux paint, a Dulux colour consultation and interior advice from renowned designer Hamish Dodd. “As real estate specialists we see first-hand how painting a room or house can give it a new lease on life,” says First National Group CEO Colleen Milne. “Whether you are decorating to sell in the current market or feel like a change, this competition could go a long way to transforming every room in your house.” The campaign is fronted by Hamish Dodd a landscape and interior designer, with a wealth of TV and radio hosting experience. Hamish studied in London before returning to New Zealand to set up a design business. He currently co-hosts on RadioLIVE's Home and Garden Show and has starred on My House My Castle, Home Sick, The Apprentice and Ground Force. “Paint is the most cost effective way of changing the feel of a room instantly,” Mr Dodd says. “Painting is generally a quick renovation process and has a bigger design impact than if you went and purchased a sofa. Paint also gives you the opportunity to personalise your place and use colour to express yourself. “Thanks to First National and its paint partner Dulux, the two winners can affect real change with 250 litres of paint each. I look forward to meeting them and sharing my interior design tips and tricks,” Mr Dodd adds. First National's 'Pimp Your Property' competition launched on October 1 and runs until October 31. The winners will be contacted during the week commencing Monday, November 4. To enter the draw visit www.firstnational.co.nz, read the Terms and Conditions and submit your details. -Ends- For further information please contact: Colleen Milne CEO First National Group M: 029 771 0750 E: colleen.milne@firstnational.co.nz Rebecca Reid Director BOOM! PR M: 027 519 4994 E: rebecca@boompr.co.nz About First National Group (NZ) Established in New Zealand since 1985, First National Real Estate (FNRE) has become the first stop for tens of thousands of property buyers and sellers throughout the country. From Kaitaia in the north to Riverton in the south, First National Real Estate is a nationwide network of around 50 offices. Each is independently owned and operated, similar in style to a cooperative. First National Real Estate is a member of the Real Estate Agents Authority (REAA). # # # #
  • Christine Selwyn was 17 when 44 per cent of her body was severely burnt in a house fire. She was staying in her grandmother's Northland garage to celebrate a cousin's 21st birthday when an unattended candle caused the blaze. Christine has endured 27 operations and 17 stays in hospital since the accident in April 2001. When first injured, she wore face masks, neck, leg and finger splits and spent two years wearing pressure garments. Christine had to learn to walk, talk and feed herself again. It was during the 29-year-old's most recent stay in the National Burn Centre, which offers treatment and rehabilitation to the most severe burn patients from across the country, that she inspired staff and aided future patients. Christine explained how isolated she felt living in a hospital unit without social media and Internet accessibility for months on end. “I love coming to the National Burn Centre because everyone has got something in common,” says Christine. “People don't look at me strangely because they are either patients or staff. “But last March I was in for a neck release operation, which was a two month stay and that was harder than when the accident first happened. I was completely over it, frustrated, bored and lonely.” While Christine remembers feeling isolated in 2001, she was in the Intensive Care Unit for one month and too unwell to do much at the time. Christine uses social media and email to connect with the majority of her extended family and friends who live in Northland and Australia. She finds being unable to update them about her treatment and rehabilitation hard. The National Burn Centre had one computer in a family room with very limited Internet access, including no Facebook or Trade Me. Until, First National Real Estate donated to the First National Charitable Foundation, which donated four new iPads with ongoing connectivity. The iPads are now used by the victims of burns that are separated from their family and friends for weeks and sometimes months. “It's great,” Christine says. “When I was first injured I had difficulty talking on the phone because my vocal chords were damaged, so I had to whisper. If the iPads were there I could have just emailed if I felt up to it.” Christine has another major reconstruction surgery next year and is already feeling more positive knowing she can keep engaged via social media. “Our patients tend to stay for longer periods while receiving treatment and the iPads are a fantastic tool of interaction and entertainment for them,” says the National Burn Centre co-ordinator Tracey Perrett. “They also help patients and their family manage life's ongoing demands that don't stop in spite of a major family trauma, such as finding new accommodation if a house is fire damaged or paying bills. “The iPads are also useful as a distraction therapy during long procedures, like dressing changes. We are extremely thankful to First National Group for the donation.” Make sure to install smoke alarms in your home, including sleep outs and garages and routinely check they work, adds Christine. When you buy a house from First National Real Estate* you will receive a gift of compassion with your family's safety in mind. A Home Safe Kit comes with fire extinguisher, fire blanket and smoke alarm. From the purchase of each kit $5 will go directly to the First National Charitable Foundation, which is in partnership with the National Burn Centre. In March, the First National Charitable Foundation donated new Freeview flat screens to the National Burn Centre in time for the digital switchover. *Participating offices only. -Ends- For further comment, please contact: Colleen Milne- General Manager First National Group NZ Ltd 029 771 0750 Rebecca Reid- Director BOOM! PR 027 519 4994 About the National Burn Centre The National Burn Centre (NBC) offers treatment and rehabilitation to the most severe burns patients from across the country, both adults and children. While the government provides funding for healthcare, NBC also relies on financial support from generous individuals and corporates to help update and equip this country's dedicated burn treatment unit. About the First National Charitable Foundation The First National Charitable Foundation is a registered New Zealand charity purposely founded with philanthropic objectives. Through the Foundation, First National's 60+ offices around the country are able to provide significant benefits to various educational and humanitarian work in New Zealand.
    First National Group has honoured its brightest real estate stars in its annual national awards. The dedication shown by the offices is highlighted by Motueka-based Bob Brereton who ranked in the top 20 sales agents in the country, while fulfilling his duties as First National Real Estate's youngest chairman. The Awards were presented at the First National Australasian Conference held recently on Hamilton Island, Australia. “Placing seventh top salesperson and fulfilling his duty as chairman is a testament to Bob's professionalism and dedication,” says First National Group general manager Colleen Milne. “Bob's continued ability to develop and maintain client relationships, his industry knowledge and strong work ethic all contribute to his success.” Mr Brereton, who owns First National Motueka says, “I love what I do and take my role as an area ambassador very seriously. “The real estate industry is people focused and nothing makes me happier than using marketplace knowledge and expertise to get my clients results.” First National offices across the country compete for the yearly national awards, aimed to keep agents striving for excellence and customer satisfaction. -Ends- For further comment, please contact: Bob Brereton Director, First National Motueka Chairman, First National Group 021 772 309 Colleen Milne General Manager, First National Group First National Group 029 771 0750
  • First National Group has honoured its brightest real estate stars in its annual national awards. The dedication shown by the offices is highlighted by Stratford-based Owen Mills who took out six prized awards, after providing great service to his clients while recovering from a hip replacement. Mr Mills is owner of First National Allied Farmers, which won a further four awards, including office of the year (in the six-10 salespeople category) and top auction office. Becoming known as a rural real estate expert that always delivers is Mr Mills' winning formula. “The hip replacement made me feel 20 again,” Mr Mills adds. For the 15th consecutive year Gillian Cross has taken out the top sales consultant award. The Churton Park real estate agent also won the top residential salesperson award and had the top dollar value of confirmed sales for the group. “This is a highly sought after award and being top sales consultant for 15 years is a testament to Gillian's continued professional approach to everything she does and to her knowledge of the marketplace,” says Paul Coltart, owner of First National Guardian. “Gillian celebrated her 20th anniversary and continues to achieve outstanding results because of her strong work ethic and genuine interest in her clients.” First National offices across the country compete for the yearly national awards, aimed to keep agents striving for excellence and customer satisfaction. This year's ceremony was held at the First National Australasian Conference on Hamilton Island, Australia. “This year's victors all say the cornerstone of their businesses is making clients happy and helping them fulfil their dreams,” says First National Group general manager Colleen Milne. “Deciding to buy or sell a property can be a stressful time but our teams make it a positive experience and achieve our customer's desired outcomes.” First National Group's award winners are: Top office: Group 1 (1 - 5 salespeople) First National Guardian, Churton Park. Top office: Group 2 (6 - 10 salespeople) First National Allied Farmers, Stratford. Top office: Group 3 (11 + salespeople) First National Mark Stevenson, Blenheim. Top property management office: First National Allied Farmers, Hawera. Property management growth: First National Taupo. Top rural office: First National Otaki. Top commercial office: First National Reid & Wilson, Timaru. Top auction office: First National Allied Farmers, Stratford. Property Press cup for profile marketing: Owen Mills - First National Allied Farmers, Stratford. Property Press rookie of the year: David Oldham - First National Waitakere, Auckland. Next generation award: (salespeople under 30) Stacey Cruse - First National Gore. Top auction lister: Owen Mills - First National Allied Farmers, Stratford. Top residential salesperson: Gillian Cross - First National Guardian, Churton Park. Top rural salesperson: Owen Mills - First National Allied Farmers, Stratford. Top commercial, industrial and business sales person: Peter Wilson - First National Reid & Wilson, Timaru. Top sections and project marketing award: Mike Murphy - First National Richmond, Nelson. Top 20 salespeople: (1) Gillian Cross - First National Guardian, Churton Park; (2) Yolanda Atkins - First National Waitakere; (3) Owen Mills - First National Allied Farmers, Stratford; (4) Gillian Quantrill - First National Rutherford, Howick; (5) Mike Murphy - First National Richmond, Nelson; (6) Andrea Church - First National Mark Stevenson, Blenheim; (7) Bob Brereton - First National Motueka; (8) Arthur Subritzky - First National Now, Auckland; (9) Tony Xu - First National Rutherford, Howick; (10) Raymond Kwan - First National Rutherford, Howick; (11) Mark McLeod - First National Reid and Wilson, Timaru; (12) Jamie Gemmell - First National Western, New Plymouth; (13) Margaret Wilson - First National Mid Canterbury, Ashburton; (14) Kim Fraser - First National Taupo; (15) Grant Robertson - First National Otaki; (16) Kevin Bastin - First National Tauranga; (17) Margaret McKeefry - First National Guardian, Johnsonville; (18) Lee Girvan - First National Western, New Plymouth; (19) Christine Rider - First National Omokoroa; (20) Jill Cole - First National Wanaka. Top performer of the year winners: Top number of confirmed sales: Gillian Cross - First National Guardian, Churton Park; Top number of confirmed sales (sections & project marketing): Mike Murphy - First National Richmond, Nelson; Top dollar value of confirmed sales: Owen Mills - First National Allied Farmers, Stratford; Top exclusive lister: Rachael de Vries - First National Roper & Jones, Dargaville; Top exclusives sold: Mark McLeod - First National Reid & Wilson, Timaru; Top auction lister: Owen Mills - First National Allied Farmers, Stratford; Top gross referral fees generated: Kelly Gooch - First National Wanaka. -Ends- For further comment, please contact: Colleen Milne, General Manager First National Group, 029 771 0750.
    Reported record median price rises do not always indicate what is happening in the market. “Median prices only show where the market is performing” states Colin Wilson from First National Guardian Real Estate Wellington. “If the median price is high, then this shows activity at the upper level, if the median is lower it shows activity in the lower range of the market”, he said. First National Golden Bay's Sharon McConnon also confirms that median prices in her region are not an indication of where the market sits. Although First National Golden Bay has a market share of approximately 60% in this region, Sharon states that she can have 'three sales at $230,000, one at $480,000 and one at $650,00, however the median price of $230,000 will be the median price reflected for this region'(unadjusted). “This only reflects which section of the market are buying at that time” she said. “Real local knowledge of the local real estate market is the essential element when purchasing a property”, states Colleen Milne, General Manager First National Real Estate. “We have offices from Kaitaia to Invercargill and our First National Residential survey results indicate two things - a shortage of listings and it's a sellers 'market across most regions. In other words, the survey response indicates the median price does not form a true representation in many regions. “The median price is used often when reporting the mid-point and is said to represent where most people buy” said Bob Brereton, First National Chairman and principal of First National Motueka. He believes some people are influenced by the hype of the Auckland and Christchurch market and that the median price can also put people off purchasing, where as this not always a realistic indicator. “In Auckland it is reported that there has been a 38% rise in the number of sales in excess of $1,000,000, this will significantly skew the data as this is far removed from the average sale” he said. In summary, the regulatory decisions relating to property increase as well as a potential early increase in the OCR means a cautious approach should be taken, if using either median house prices or Auckland and Christchurch as the indicators. Contacts: Bob Brereton;Chairman First National Group; Principal First National Motueka Mobile 021 772 309 Colin Wilson; Sales Manager First National Guardian Wellington Mobile (027)433 2256 Sharon McConnon; Principal First National Golden Bay Mobile (0275) 258255 Colleen Milne; General Manager First National Real Estate Mobile 029 771 0750