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Strong demand: Bayleys Queenstown's Jimmy Allen outside a Hanley's Farm home which sold for $1,080,000 in January after an auction was brought forward

By PHILIP CHANDLER

Strong interest from locals in entry-level Queenstown property is flying in the face of predictions made in the wake of Covid last year.

Local Bayleys managing director David Gubb says it was assumed there’d be a lot more pressure on this sector of the market due to job losses and the like.

‘‘The reality is, for time on the market and the prices being achieved, this sector is going better than any other, or just as well.’’

A good example, he says, is Hanley’s Farm, where his company’s sold more than 200 sections since last August, and is also selling a lot of houses in the $850,000 to $1.2 million
bracket.

‘‘Probably 80% of the people buying are locals, whether they’re young lawyers, accountants, tradies and so on,’’ Bayleys agent Jimmy Allen says.

A catalyst, he believes, is low interest rates, meaning if your finance is organised, it can be cheaper to own something than to rent.

What makes Hanley’s Farm particularly attractive, he believes, is a covenant requiring you to build within four years of getting title, ‘‘so you’re not living in a construction zone forever’’.

And you can’t on-sell your section, which stops land speculators, Gubb adds.

Golden Homes Southern Lakes director Ethan Smith notes last month a 25-section Hanley’s Farm release was snapped up in half an hour.

Eighteen of those lots are in the ‘affordable’ category.

His company’s building 30 to 50 homes a year at Hanley’s Farm.

Smith says a $650,000 house-and-land package — allowing for a 400 square metre section at $320,000 — is achievable if people have realistic expectations.

‘‘You’re not going to get tiled showers and pitched ceilings and 250sqm houses.

‘‘It is a stepping-stone home but it is brand new, warm and insulated.

‘‘And those houses are then valued at $800,000-plus, straight off the bat.’’

Smith adds first-home buyers are also attracted by the KiwiSaver HomeStart grant which offers couples, if they’ve contributed to KiwiSaver for at least five years, up to $20,000 if they build a new home.

While $20,000 mightn’t seem a lot, Smith says it still takes a bit of saving, ‘‘especially in Queenstown where the cost of living’s so high’’.

Meanwhile, Bayleys’ Allen says: ‘‘I think the general public is probably surprised at the level
of demand, but I’m not surprised.

‘‘Queenstown’s had a lot of growth.

‘‘It’s an amazing place to live and it doesn’t matter what’s going on in the world, there are always going to be people who want to live here.’’

scoop@scene.co.nz