Council planners who recommended against Queenstown’s entry-level Shotover Country subdivision may have to eat humble pie.
The first stage of the 54-section subdivison, neighbouring Lake Hayes Estate, has almost sold out and a 36-section second stage is about to be released.
Forty-one sections have sold since the initial Oxford Neighbourhood stage went on the market five months ago, with another seven under contract.
The median price for sections – average size 750 square metres – has been $180,000 and all are sub-$200,000.
“It’s going exceptionally well, and quickly, too,” project manager Neil McDonald says.
“They’ve gone very much to first-home buyers – it’s exactly the market we’re after.
“I’m glad that we got through the planning process to get this because this is now proving that we’re satisfying a demand.
“The [Queenstown Lakes District Council] policy planners recommended against this zone when we went through this process.
“Their argument was there was sufficiently-zoned land to provide for the needs of the district without this.”
McDonald believes demand will intensify even more “because a lot of people are renting that would like to own their first home”.
“I think Jack’s Point, when they have ‘fire-sold’ some of their sections, have shown that that market’s there too.”
McDonald is confident many first-stage buyers will start building soon after titles are issued, probably in late July.
With sections below $200,000, people should be able to buy and build for less than $500,000, he says.
That compares with the median local dwelling price of $540,000, according to February Real Estate Institute of New Zealand figures.
McDonald doesn’t think speculators have bought because so many more sections – up to 750 or so – will be brought to market.
Looking five years out, section prices might trickle up $2000-$3000 a year, he says.
Several sections have been bought by home-building companies which will put up showhomes.
McDonald says limited design controls will keep building costs down – “there’re controls on roof colour and some basic controls on fencing and that’s about it”.
He expects houses in the first stage to look very similar to Lake Hayes Estate.
However there’ll be two new subdivision design features – indented roadside car parking and downward-looking LED street lighting.
Shotover Country is also attracting buyers due to a $14 million, 500-pupil primary school opening there in 2015.
The Ministry of Education now owns the three-hectare school site in the middle of the subdivision, about 500 metres south of stage one.
Trail work is also going on to connect Shotover Country with Lake Hayes Estate and the river-side Queenstown Trail.
McDonald estimates the subdivision is a 15-year project with development in up to 15 stages.
The developers, Sharyn and Grant Stalker, used to farm most of the land.
Sharyn – a former real estate salesperson – is directly handling the sales process.