The rise and rise of Aspen Grove

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It’s taken 20 years but Aspen Grove has become one of Queens­town’s premier subdivisions. 

Unusually for Queenstown in today’s economic climate, six houses are under construction with many more on the way.
Aspen Grove, comprising 102 sections, was originally developed by Queenstowner Arthur Ander­son. 

“It was always going to be a good subdivision, it just took a while to get momentum,” local Real Estate Institute of New Zealand spokesman Kelvin Collins says. 

“Sections started in the high $200,000s-$300,000 in the 1990s, then they dropped down to about $150,000. Now they’re back to $500,000. 

“And with better quality houses around you, there’s probably further capital gain.” 

Collins – who built there in 2000 after buying a very reasonably-priced section in 1998 – says there wasn’t demand for middle-to-top end properties in the late ’90s, and Aspen Grove didn’t have a tone. 

“There was a bit of a risk factor for people building a nice house – were there going to be other nice houses up there? 

“In more recent times there’s been more of a tone set.” 

Sections are selling for even more than during the mid-2000s peak, he says. 

Collins notes the irony that Aspen Grove sits below suburban Fernhill. 

“You go from one extreme to the other, in some ways.” 

Collins estimates at least half the subdivision’s homes are owned by Australians: “They like that look over the lake into the golf course, into the Remarkables.” 

It’s understood one house under construction is a $10 million 955sq m whopper for Sydney food importer Roy Manessen. 

Aucklander Rodger Coleclough, who owns an Aspen Grove holiday home, believes it outranks the resort’s other exclusive subdivision, Queenstown Hill. 

“In Queenstown Hill you’re facing Walter Peak, which is not a particularly scenic mountain, whereas in the Aspen Grove area you’re looking directly at the Remarkables, which is a stunning mountain range. 

“Also we’re north-east-facing and we get the sun, and the two most important things in Queenstown are the sun and the view. 

“It’s also whisper-quiet here – we don’t get the noise coming up from the town, like Queenstown Hill, yet we’re a 20-minute walk into town.” 

Another advantage is that no one gets built out because the subdivision is so steep, Coleclough says. 

“If someone built across the road from us, it would have to be more than three storeys before we’d even see the roof.”
David Penrose, a local agent for New Zealand Sotheby’s Inter­national Realty, says his company’s achieved a number 
of sales in Aspen Grove. 

“There’s been a number of section sales in the last 12 to 18 months and as a result you’re now seeing pretty elaborate homes being built on those sites. 

“It’s a very nice neighbourhood,” Penrose says. 

“You’ve got established plant-ings, it’s got that nice somewhat alpine feel.”