Slow burn

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Queenstown real estate continues to be stuck in the same doldrums it’s been in for most of this year. 

Just 24 homes or apartments changed hands in July – one more than May, which marked a 10-year low. 

By contrast, June spiked at 43 sales, the most since the recession started in December 2007. 

“Statistics are telling us that there’s a degree of volatility in the marketplace,” local Real Estate Institute of New Zealand spokesperson Adrian Snow says. 

There was a similar fluctuation between figures for January and February this year, which recorded 26 and 45 sales, respectively. 

“It is clear that there are few parts of the economy now untouched by the recession,” Snow says. 

“As a result, the buyers in the marketplace are being more cautious than they have over the last three years. 

“The experienced agents are reporting reasonable levels of activity but all agree that there’s considerable effort involved in creating interest, soliciting offers and negotiating. 

“There is little urgency involved for the purchasers and as a result the sales cycle is indicated by median days to
sell now being at 80 [days] for dwellings.” 

July recorded the lowest national sales volumes since REINZ started keeping stats in 1992, Snow says. 

“I suspect on balance that Queenstown’s market is performing above average but the average at the moment is very, very low,” he says. 

While Queenstown sales volumes over the first six months were 20 per cent lower than for the same period last year, national volumes were down 30 per cent, Snow adds. 

One bright spot is that section sales continue to be healthy – last month there were nine, he says. 

“I think it’s been very, very slowly increasing over the last six to eight months. It is indicative that there is a core need there for land to build new houses on. 

“It’s got to be priced properly but we’ve seen some big shifts in prices. 

“The people who are buying are going to build, which will flow through to the greater Queenstown economy.”