PHOTO: Auction sign. Source:

Real estate agents are being accused of fuelling the red-hot property market by manipulating so-called “estimated prices” on websites.

Consumer advocates warn it is a case of “buyer beware” and urge those looking for a home to do their homework first.

Edward and his wife have been looking for a home in Wellington for a couple of years “on and off”.

“We start looking, and then prices shoot up too much and we stop … until we go another round.”

In the last three years, residential property prices in the region have ballooned 51.4 per cent – from $518,000 in 2017 to $785,000.

An avid follower of the website, Edward was horrified to learn it was a simple matter for agents to bump up the estimated value of a property by uploading their own appraisals.

Property values continue to skyrocket in New Zealand, with highest monthly rise in 16 years

“And quite often it goes way above the market rate for that area.”

In a blog post, which dropped off the website when it was re-platformed, marketing manager Fiona D’Silva Moiyadi, gives step-by-step instructions for modifying HomesEstimates.

Buyers expected estimates on third-party websites to be impartial, and letting people with a vested interest influence them was distorting the market, Edward said.



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