45 million reasons to be smiling…

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Wakatipu real estate agents are smiling again as sales figures hit a two-year high. 

Seventy-two Wakatipu residential sales were recorded in April. 

That’s the highest number since 75 in April 2009. 

The previous high of 76 came in November 2007, just before the global credit crunch. 

This April’s 72 sales were 20 ahead of the month before, but the increased value of sales is even more impressive. 

Residential sales totalled $45,606,400, up 65 per cent on the March figure of $27,694,300. 

That healthy sum was bolstered by seven $1m-plus sales. 

The highest was $6m fetched for the Mountain View Road home of Aucklander Eric Faesenkloet, who owns The Golf Warehouse. 

A 1970s home designed by local architect John Blair, it was redeveloped by Faesenkloet, who again engaged Blair. 

The sale, to an offshore party, was brokered by local Sotheby’s International agent Russell Reddell. 

April’s 72 sales also included 10 sections at Jack’s Point, where there was a cheap-priced bulk auction in March.
As well as those residential sales, April also saw six rural properties sold. 

Five of those were also $1m-plus sales, including unsold lots at the Lake Hayes Bendemeer subdivision which went for almost $12m. 

The buyer, Dunedin-based Paul Nicholson, has only paid a deposit so far but that’s enough to record a sale, local Real Estate Institute of New Zealand media spokesperson Adrian Snow says. 

Snow calls April’s figures “a very healthy result, arguably following the trend in sales that Auckland has been experiencing over the last few months”. 

“Queenstown’s real estate agents are optimistic that the number of sales and in particular the increased number of high-value sales is showing us that the recovery phase of the market cycle has initiated.” 

Snow concedes that April 2011, like April 2009, could just be a one-month blip. 

“But what we’re seeing in the marketplace is that enquiry has been running relatively strongly over the last two months and our buyers do appear to be a bit more decisive. 

“But I don’t think anyone has any expectations that numbers of sales are going to increase significantly, or the price – they’ll both just gradually improve.” 

Market conditions still favour the buyer, Snow believes, “although with lower stock levels, good quality well-priced properties are receiving good attention from the marketplace”. 

Snow also cautions that the market is entering a traditionally slow time of the year, and that median prices remain stable. 

Local Sotheby’s International agent Julian Brown says his company’s May figures, like April’s, were “very good”. 

“We had very good volume in the high-end market, certainly over the last few months, but it’s due to the buying opportunities that are available.” 

He estimates prices for local high-end property have come back 20 to 30 per cent from the height of the market in 2007. 

Offshore buyers were also attracted by the favorable exchange rate, Brown says.