January house; section sales up

Buying a house or section in Queenstown and Arrowtown appeared to be a New Year's resolution for more people than last year, according to the latest real estate sales figures.

There were 56 house sales in the Wakatipu in January this year compared with 34 house sales in the same month the year before.

There were also 18 section sales compared with 13 in January 2013.

Queenstown real estate sales statistics for the month of January 2014 found it took an average of 39 days to sell a dwelling, including apartments, last month, compared with 57 days in January 2013.

Sections took on average 82 days to sell in January, faster than 147 days on average in the same month last year.

However, the median sale price for dwellings in January 2014 was $512,500, less than $562,500 in January 2013.

Real Estate Institute New Zealand Queenstown spokesman Kelvin Collins said many buyers who had been looking for some time were now acting, often resulting in multiple offers being made for new listings, especially below $500,000.

''The demand was at both ends of the market, with strong activity under $500,000 from first-home buyers and investors,'' Mr Collins said.

''There is a shortage of rental property and many new residents to the region are being forced to consider buying instead of renting.

''There was also stronger activity in the upper sector of the market with nine sales occurring over $1.5 million. These were to both local residents and people moving to the region for lifestyle reasons.''

Mr Collins said the majority of section demand was at Jacks Point from residents looking to build.

The demand reflected a tightening of listings for family homes and purchasers looking to build as an alternative to buying established homes.

Dave Fea, Queenstown agent for Bayleys Realty Group, said there were 280 sales in the past six months, down slightly on 287 sales for the same period last year and 222 for the previous year.

During the past 12 months there were 619 sales, compared with 585 in 2012 and 460 for 2011.

The total value of residential housing sales during 2013 was $376.6 million, compared with $377.4 million for the same period the previous year.