Press Release – 200 Square
Wellington property owners can now see a comprehensive, informative picture of their property in one place, free. Watch My Street (www.watchmystreet.co.nz) presents homeowners with information about their property, including rating valuations, aerial map view, title, and other data collated and combined into an intuitive and easy to use format, making it useful. Owners can compare their home with others in their street and suburb. They can see if their home is overcapitalised compared to others in their street, or look at how their property compares to their suburb as a whole, see how their rating valuation has changed since 2009 and much, much, more.
The team behind 200 Square – New Zealand’s first online real estate agency – are proud to today announce this step along the path to their vision of a digital real estate market in New Zealand.
Historically, access to public property data has been restricted, for example, rating valuation data in New Zealand has been controlled by Quotable Value New Zealand (a State Owned Enterprise), and/or only available in individual bites and a homeowner has had to attempt to collate and organise it all, purchase a hardcopy report, or more frequently give up. Watch My Street has decided to break this hold, and put the power back in the hands of New Zealand home buyers, sellers, or renovators. They have paid for this data via their rates, and should be allowed easy access to the information most useful to them. The service is a perfect poster child of the government’s ongoing commitment to “Open Data” as a resource on which to build innovative and exciting new services.
Open New Zealand (http://open.govt.nz, an advocacy group for open data) praised the new service with Chief Organiser Glen Barnes highlighting “this is exactly the type of tool that Open Data can enable. They’ve done a great job in making a really easy to use service that should save Wellington property and house hunters a lot of time and money getting access to local information.”
“There were some hills to climb however”, says Nik Wakelin, 200 Square’s head of technology and the man in charge of collecting and collating the data. “We petitioned the councils via the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act, and government bodies via the Official Information Act. Roadblocks included contracts preventing data release, exorbitant fees for access or simply refusal to release the information direct to us, and license agreements disallowing online usage. Even the Ombudswoman ruled that there was no requirement for councils to release the data in bulk.
“Luckily, Wellington City Council are committed to innovation and open information, and only charged a token amount for their time involved in retrieving the data. We hope other councils will follow their lead in time and help us return the information to their ratepayers”
Watch My Street combines valuation information from the Wellington City District Valuation Record, Title and Land Parcel data from Land Information New Zealand, School Zone locations from the Ministry of Education, geospatial data from Koordinates, and Real Estate listing data from Realestate.co.nz to provide easy access to all the best information about Wellington properties in one easy location.
Owners can access Wellington City information at www.watchmystreet.co.nz
Watch My Street is the latest innovation for a Real Estate business that has charged itself with changing the way property is sold in New Zealand. www.200square.co.nz charges a flat commission of $4,500 – saving the average seller over $15,000 in traditional agent commissions. Properties are listed for sale on the major Real Estate websites automatically, and sophisticated online tools allow buyers, sellers, and agents to communicate and coordinate the sale using the latest technology.