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Realtors say don’t miss the bargains – and they might be right.

Buyers stimulated by lower interest rates are reportedly picking up Queenstown properties for a bargain.

Some historically low-selling prices are being recorded but real estate agents warn this won’t last long as buyer competition heats up.

One marked price drop has been in section resales at the relatively new Lake Hayes Estate

Three sections recently sold there for between $203,000-$208,000 – prices formerly ranged from $240,000-$300,000.

Local Harcourts principal Kelvin Collins, who suggests sections may even go below $200,000, says Lake Hayes Estate homes formerly fetching $580,000 now sell for close to $500,000.

“It’s very good for buyers because that’s below replacement value.”

Apartment prices continue in freefall.

Units at Pounamu Apartments originally sold at about $760,000 are now down to $400,000 or even less – Locations Realty has sold an unfurnished one for $350,000.

A one-bedder at Alpine Village recently went for just $105,000.

Buyer-friendly prices also abound on TradeMe – such as $289,000 and $298,000 for central Queenstown two-bedroom units and $339,500 for a Fernhill three-bedroom house.

Locations consultant Grant Coburn says there’s even some cheap buying at the luxury Jacks Point – pointing to a recent $300,000 section sale.

“We have on our books a two-unit-capable, 747sq m section there at $255,000.”

He also says a 4000sq m Bob’s Cove section can be bought for a very reasonable $275,000.

“This is the time when people will make their money, for the future.

“You’ve got the lowest interest rates in many years, you’ve got people who’ve been making offers on properties for considerably less than vendors are asking and getting exceptional buys.”

He particularly refers to a house in Yewlett Crescent, Frankton, which listed at about $920,000 and sold after a mortgagee auction for $650,000 – “That’s unbelievable”.

“You can go out as a buyer now and you can make the deal – you can ask for a long settlement.

“Vendors are also more prepared to do trades.”

Collins still believes many buyers are waiting for floating interest rates to go below seven per cent.

But he thinks some prices have come back to 1990s levels.

“In a growth market like this, there’s only a very small window where you start selling below cost and we’re in this part of the market now.”

Southern Lakes Real Estate principal Stephen Hebbend has no doubt recent interest rate drops have stimulated the market and buyers are finding some “very fair” prices.

“First-home and investment buyers are back in the market.”

But, like Collins, Hebbend warns cheap deals will only last until buyers start to compete for properties.

In the past two weeks four listings have attracted multiple offers, while one Kelvin Heights property even sold above its asking price, he says.

Southern Lakes sales numbers for December were also up 40 per cent compared with December 2007 and 32per cent up for January on last year.