Last year was the Wakatipu real estate industry’s annus horribilis.
Total 2010 residential dwelling and section sales were down nearly 20 per cent as gains in 2009 all but evaporated, resulting in last year’s sales almost falling to dismal 2008 levels.
Local Real Estate Institute of New Zealand president Adrian Snow agrees 2010 was a forgettable year for him and his members.
“What happened in 2010 is that the full force of the recession was being felt right across the whole economy – people’s confidence was down, money wasn’t there,” Snow says. He personally believes buyers from across the Tasman were also well down in 2010.
“The Australians were actually in a significantly less-buoyant mindset,” he says.
Looking back over the past three years, he credits Aussie buyers for the short-lived pickup of 2009.
“The year 2008 was an incredibly difficult year for real estate, immediately after the credit crunch – very sporadic and up and down. But in 2009, things actually settled somewhat – Australian buyers remained very buoyant with their economy and their attitude towards buying property in Queenstown.”
The Australian Government’s $1000 handout in early 2009 contributed to our good property sales that winter, Snow believes, by giving Aussie holidaymakers “a confidence in spending”.
“But that confidence was absent in winter 2010,” he says, pointing out the steep decline in sales between August 2009 and August 2010.
Yet things are looking up now, he says, pointing out that sales agreements are usually signed the month before they’re officially counted as done deals.
That being so, the last three months of 2010 were consistently strong, Snow says.
“There’s definitely a significant increase in confidence.
“The number of buyers who’ve entered the market looking to purchase is well up on where we have been.”
That extra buying interest will ultimately flow through into more sales, Snow believes.
Purchasers remain cautious, however.
“Buyers are still taking a long time to make their purchasing decisions, having a good look at the marketplace and being thorough with their investigations,” he says.
The real estate industry can look forward to brighter times, Snow believes.
“From our perspective as agents, the trough of the market is now well and truly behind us and buyer confidence levels are noticeably increasing.
“We’ve got a very slow and gradual recovery ahead of us,” he predicts.