Frantic first-home buyers snap up sections

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First-home buyers have snatched up 35 sections at a Queenstown subdivision within an hour of the plots being put on the market, its developer says.

Shotover Country released the latest sections in its Risinghood neighbourhood, the seventh stage of the subdivision.

On completion, the subdivision will number between 700 and 900 homes.

Developer Sharyn Stalker said that within an hour on Thursday, all 35, priced between $192,000 and $230,000, were on hold pending contract.

“It’s unbelievable.

“I don’t think anything like this has happened in Queenstown before … we are overwhelmed.”

The sales come as a new primary school in the subdivision prepares to open in February.

“It’s just something that’s happened because we worked so hard to get the school.”

Incentives for first-home buyers included a $6000 discount off the asking price and a $5000 deposit.

The Shotover Country website said prospective buyers, after signing a sales and purchase agreement, had five working days to get finance and legal advice before the contracts became unconditional.

The deposit was payable on the contract becoming unconditional and the balance five working days after settlement, the website said.

Mrs Stalker said by Monday afternoon all 35 were under contract.

“We’re doing one an hour. They’re all young families, all first-home buyers.”

Eight sections in stage six, which totals 58, were also released on Thursday and five were on hold by Monday afternoon.

Those ranged in price between $215,000 and $236,000.

How many more stages would be completed was unknown, she said.

Although the developers did not want to “upset the market”, the demand was clear.

The subdivision had 150 dwellings either built or under construction, the latest release taking that to 188.

The Real Estate Institute of New Zealand (REINZ) statistics for August showed only eight section sales and 39 dwelling sales for the month.

The figures exclude section sales at Shotover Country because they are being sold directly by the developer.

REINZ Queenstown spokesman Kelvin Collins said “no doubt” demand from first-home buyers was good in the resort.

Sales at Shotover Country were indicative of the trend in recent years.

“It shows the lack of property [available] … and the lack of building that has been going on for the past six years.

“There’s a shortage of housing and there is demand for entry-level property.”

Queenstown Lakes Community Housing Trust chairman David Cole said the trust’s planned development of 44 sections at the subdivision would be at a “lower overall cost”.

“There are first-home buyers out there that have got adequate deposits [to purchase a section and build a home] … but there are a lot of people in Queenstown with full-time jobs that don’t have that.”

The Queenstown Lakes district is the country’s second-fastest growing council area.

The 2013 census puts the district’s population at 28,224, a 23 per cent rise from 2007.

Selwyn district, near Christchurch, was the only authority to grow faster over that period.

Queenstown’s growing pains have been on show recently – Lakes District Hospital desperately needs upgrading but the Southern District Health Board has said it cannot afford it because of the Dunedin Hospital rebuild and the council, with just 22,000 ratepayers, has struggled to finance infrastructure.

In peak tourist seasons the district’s average day population is about 90,000.