Central property defies bad trends

New Zealanders returning to their homeland have helped defy predictions of a downward trend across the real estate market in Central Otago and Queenstown Lakes. PHOTO: FILE
New Zealanders returning to their homeland have helped defy predictions of a downward trend across the real estate market in Central Otago and Queenstown Lakes. PHOTO: FILE
Cashed-up expat New Zealanders are helping the Central Otago and Queenstown Lakes real estate market defy predictions of a downward spiral in a post-Covid-19 environment, agents say.

During lockdown sales volumes fell drastically across both region but prices held and property transactions had rebounded almost to pre-lockdown levels.

In Central Otago, Tall Poppy Real Estate business partner Peter Hishon said the market favoured the more rural nature of the district, which meant it was less exposed to market vagaries than Wanaka and Queenstown.

He said Real Estate Institute of New Zealand official sales figures for May had yet to be released but “figures don’t lie”.

First National Wanaka sales manager Lynette Winsloe said online inquiries and calls from New Zealanders abroad began in lockdown.

“Certainly, expats are out there looking.”

There were cashed-up buyers from Otago, Mrs Winsloe said.

That included a $3.28million sale in Wanaka completed during lockdown.

Queenstown-based Harcourts-Highland Real Estate Group managing director Warwick Osborne said interest from expat Kiwis was strong.

“There are cashed-up buyers inquiring and potentially coming home sooner than planned.”

Added to the mix were first-home buyers.

“We have seen very strong inquiry from first-home buyers especially and have had a number of multi offers on property.”

Lifestyle, holiday home, and lock-and-leave-type properties were also attracting interest.

“Sales last week included a close-to-town penthouse by an out-of-town buyer, and multiple offers on holiday homes circa $1.5[million] to $2million.”

There were factors at play potentially preventing the full impact of the pandemic being known.

“Queenstown is showing positive signs of a recovery. However, mortgage holidays and low interest rates may be currently masking some of the potential issues in the short term.”

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