At 7.30pm on August 12, 83 empty lots were released to market in Queenstown.
Within minutes none were left. At the Shotover Country subdivision between Queenstown and Arrowtown that level of interest has become par for the course.
The night Shotover Country developers Grant and Sharyn Stalker released their latest bundle of lots they received more than 280 emails and 170 phone messages, and their gmail account went on “overload” and was stopped for 12 hours.
That was Wednesday last week. As of Tuesday, 50 contracts had been written for the stage 11 sections. They were expected to start going unconditional by Thursday.
Mrs Stalker says titles should be issued on those sections in about 12 months.
The couple felt there was never doubt the subdivision, off Stalker Rd, would be successful, based on the number of young people in the Wakatipu community who were “losing the opportunity to get into the [housing] market”.
But even they were taken aback by the response from the community.
“It started to become overwhelming after a while,” she says.
“It just got better and better … It’s just much busier now, there’s much more demand.
“It’s really satisfying because there are so many young people. It’s really nice and they’re really emotional and really happy.”
Buyers, who snapped up sections as they were gradually released since November 2012, were largely residents in Arrowtown, Lake Hayes and surrounding areas – many of them renting and largely young families, Mrs Stalker says.
That demand was now spreading to people living in other suburbs, for example, Sunshine Bay and Fernhill.
Some of the newest landowners will build their own homes, some are building properties to be rented and a few are building to sell.
The common theme, though, is their connection to Wakatipu.
“The only people [interested] are young ones that live here, or have been brought up here and they’re coming back.
“That’s the only ones that we’re emailing, really.
“Or a mother moving … down here. That’s happened a few times. That’s nice, I like that. I’m very family orientated.”
While there had been some commentary on social media following last week’s release alleging building companies had instructed staff to buy sections that would be bought back by the companies, Mrs Stalker says that is not the case.
Only two building companies came into the latest release.
They were allowed two sections each, one in the medium-density area and one in the low-density.
While there were a couple of builders who got a section, they intended to build homes, she says.
They were in line at the time … and they are allowed to build one home to sell.
“That’s good, because it spreads the need. There are just so many people wanting different things. [Some] people don’t want to build. They haven’t got the confidence and the knowledge.”
Further, every buyer was personally “qualified” by Mrs Stalker.
“I spend over half an hour with every person talking to them about who they are, what they are and where they’re going.
“I’ve done a lot of real estate, so I can easily tell [if they’re a section speculator] and we’re firm with this now.
“We’ve also put a clause in the contract, so I explain all of that to them … We haven’t got any speculators in there so far.”
Mrs Stalker will not disclose the number of people on Shotover Country’s database, but says they will contact those who missed out on the latest sections in due course.
“We’ll be very fair to them in the next release.”
House builds are beginning almost daily.
About 480 homes are planned, under way or completed and two large areas are set aside for future development.
– Otago Daily Times