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Pretty penny: This Kawarau Falls home sold to an Aucklander for $6.75m in a deal brokered by NZ Sotheby's International Realty's Gerard Bligh, Hadley van Schalk and Scarlett Wood

By PHILIP CHANDLER

Covid’s knocked Queenstown tourism for a six but fuelled a boom in the high-end residential property market.

In a trend that’s taken many agents by surprise, this market — we’re talking $4 million-plus deals — has become more active than for ages.

Agents cite a combination of people looking at this area due to border restrictions removing
their international focus, and expat Kiwis coming back from Covid-infested countries.

Here’s just a sample of recent big-number deals:

●  A Wyuna home, near Glenorchy, has just sold, unconditionally, for $25m to a Kiwi moving back to New Zealand, due to Covid, in a deal brokered by Ray White;

●  About $50m of new and resale property’s been transacted at Arrowtown’s Millbrook Resort since lockdown, including five $5m-plus sales;

●  A local’s bought an $8.3m Kelvin Heights house in a Bayleys-brokered deal;

●  An Aucklander’s bought a $7.772m Bendemeer home through the Bayleys network;

●  An Aucklander bought a Kawarau Falls home for $6.75m through New Zealand Sotheby’s
International Realty;

●  An Aucklander’s paid a section-record $4.35m for a Lake Hayes lot in a deal brokered by Ray White, which also brokered a nearby $3.95m section sale.

Millbrook property boss Ben O’Malley says his buyers are existing owners or those who’ve
been looking for a while but not, at this stage, expats.

Show-stopper: This Millbrook Resort showhome sold for $5.7m

‘‘Anecdotally, it seemed that people are not planning to go anywhere for a while, and are
taking the opportunity to get their slice of Wakatipu gold while they can.’’

As during the GFC, there’d been ‘‘a flight to quality’’, he says.

Local Harcourts sales manager Warwick Osborne suggests a lot of people have been pivoting — ‘‘focusing on what’s important to them and securing properties in this region they can live in, in the future, and holiday in, in the interim’’.

Local Bayleys sales manager Stacy Coburn say the top end’s become ‘‘incredibly active, more so than we’ve seen for many, many years’’.

‘‘We probably didn’t take into account that the high-net-worth individuals that have been locked in in this country, that would normally spend a lot of money overseas, have decided to buy properties or invest in properties in Queenstown.’’

He says the influx of expats is also having an effect.

Local Colliers International managing director James O’Hagan says there are people
seeing ‘‘good opportunities’’ here they didn’t see before.

Ray White Queenstown co-owner Bas Smith says he’s constantly hearing that NZ, due
to Covid, is ‘‘the most talked-about country in the world’’.

‘‘A lot of inquiry on high-end property often doesn’t go anywhere, but we’re getting
quality inquiry which is turning into active purchasing.’’

scoop@scene.co.nz