An American convinced that New Zealand land is an attractive “apocalyptic hedge” for his rich countryfolk is putting his money where his mouth is.
Retired lawyer and former sports mag publisher Miles Jaffe has lifted the asking price for his 4240 square metre section above the Queenstown-Glenorchy Road from $950,000 to one million United States dollars – or $1,390,000 in Kiwi currency.
He admits that’s “a substantial increase”.
“But I’ve been reading all the survivalist literature which is now coming out of the US about what these very rich people are doing.
“They’re trying to figure out, as we are, where to put their money, and I’ve come to the realisation that land in NZ is now more valuable than cash in an American bank, because of the incredible uncertainties created by [US President Donald Trump].
“The question, as an American, is what do you do to guard against a potential catastrophe?
“If everybody’s suddenly thinking, ‘Oh my God, this guy really is going to make a mess of it’, then the stockmarket will literally collapse, and the dollar, so is there anything safer than NZ land?”
Jaffe says the clincher was an article in The New Yorker magazine last month, ‘Doomsday Prep for the Super-Rich’.
“It mentions NZ [as a bolthole] eight times and NZ is the only country it mentions – no one’s talking abut Canada.”
Jaffe’s owned his Summit Lane land, accessed off Alpine Retreat Road, since 2004.
He’d planned to build on it before construction prices rose, so bought a property at Queenstown’s Aspen Grove instead.
He and his wife Julie, who spend three months a year here, sold that and bought an apartment at The Rees Hotel in 2013.
He’s had Summit Lane on the market for two years and only had one offer, which fell through.
Despite adding more than $400,000 to his asking price, he thinks it will appeal as “an apocalyptic hedge”. He’s listed it locally with NZ Sotheby’s International Realty, Ray White and Re/Max.
Local Sotheby’s sales associate David Penrose says the vendor’s entitled to market the property where he sees fit.
He says the site, with spectacular lake and mountain views, appeals to the international market, generally.
Its strongest selling point, he believes, is that “a mere 10-minute drive from the heart of Queenstown you’re in this mountainous, alpine environment which has just got drop-dead gorgeous views”.