Record sales price

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Two sections in a scenic high-end subdivision near Glenorchy have set a new sales price record. 

Americans have paid $2.7 million apiece for two lots at lake-facing Wyuna Preserve. 

Those sales smash the previous Wakatipu residential section record of $2.3m for a Queenstown Hill property a few years ago. 

To date, four sections have sold at Wyuna Preserve for between $1.5m and $2.7m, with another five under contract. A 500sq m showhome also sold for a tick under $6m. 

Of the remaining 24 sections, one is listed at $2.75m. 

Wyuna Preserve, high above the Glenorchy Road, includes 90ha in communal land including a 7ha lake, boathouse, walking track and a clubhouse with a lounge, commercial kitchen and bar, gym, lap pool and spa. 

Section buyers pay about $8000 a year to belong to a residents’ association that owns those communal assets. 

The subdivision’s 50/50 partners are American Tom Tusher, who owns the nearby exclusive Blanket Bay lodge, and local resort developer and landscape architect John Darby, best known for Queenstown’s large Jack’s Point subdivision. 

Wyuna Preserve property has been sold by both local listing agency Sotheby’s International and the developers themselves during the past year. 

Considering the high Kiwi dollar and depressed real estate market, Darby says sales have exceeded expectations.
“We’re still achieving strong sales and sales values which just really shows how resilient the Queenstown market is in the international marketplace. 

“I expect values to continue to grow.” 

Darby maintains the market for well-planned subdivisions on prime sites is “quite elastic”. 

“It provides a strong direction for Queenstown to focus on quality because that’s what is working in the market.” 

Darby uses the example of Arrowtown’s Millbrook Resort, which he helped develop in the early 90s. Land prices there rose from $170,000 per section to $1.3m at the peak of the cycle in 2008. 

“The principles of prime location and quality build and quality controls have sustained land values through multiple property cycles.” 

By contrast, he points to discounting at other less well-planned rural residential subdivisions “which almost turns the market off”. 

Wyuna Preserve buyers to date have been American, European and English. 

Darby: “International buyers are looking for quality homes but there’s a shortage of them so they are looking at quality sites in locations where they understand what’s happening in and around the area.” 

Wyuna Preserve development manager Steve McIsaac says all section buyers to date have house designs under way. 

McIsaac expects to see four houses built in the next 18 months. 

Darby: “It’s going to be good for the local building industry because these are high-end houses.” 

Marketing material gives another clue why section prices should remain high. 

“Wyuna Preserve is an outstanding investment since it is one of the last locations on the shores of Lake Wakatipu that will ever become available for sale.” 

The reason? 

“This offer is never to be repeated due to laws that came into effect in New Zealand in 2007, restricting property sales in iconic parts of NZ.”