Perfect storm: record prices, high sales


Wakatipu property prices have hit an all-time monthly high, while sales are the highest for nine years.

There were 111 sales last month, comprising 82 houses and apartments and 29 sections, according to the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand.

March now supersedes last July - 103 sales – and last September - 101 sales – as the biggest month for property transactions since April 2007, just prior to the global financial crisis.

Local REINZ spokesperson Gail Hudson says the market reflects the growing number of people coming into town, chasing a limited number of properties, and the buoyant economy.

“Queenstown’s having its day.

“Retailers, businesses have really struggled here for quite some time but hopefully everybody’s making money now.”

The shortage of residential accommodation, however, is creating a semi-crisis, Hudson warns.

Despite high sales volumes, the median dwelling price continues to soar.

December’s record median of $762,500 was overtaken by January’s $798,500. That dropped a little in February only for last month to jump to $815,000, a figure which Hudson says is “staggering”.

A year ago, the median price was only $640,000.

Hudson says the new $800,000-plus median price reflects a higher percentage of million dollar-plus sales and the fact that new home buyers are regularly spending $700,000 to $800,000 to get into the market.

The average number of days it’s taking for properties to sell is also going down.

Geoff Stevens, manager of the local Harcourts franchise, says: “In my 23 years in the real estate market, I haven’t seen it quite as buoyant as this and so much buyer demand as this, coupled with very low interest
rates and such a lack of stock.”