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Otago property punters are upbeat about the housing market for 2020.
The latest Colliers International market outlook shows Queenstown at the highest level in New Zealand, with 63% of respondents expecting average house prices to increase in the next 12 months.
House buyers and sellers in Dunedin are a more cynical bunch, with only 32.2% expecting prices to track up next year.
However, that is the highest level in more than three years and three times more optimistic than three months ago.
Overall, a net 41% of the more than 4500 respondents to the quarterly survey expect price increases, the highest national score since the first quarter of 2017.
Notably — and pulling the overall score into positive territory — it was the first time Christchurch reflected a net positive score since December 2017, at 13.2%.
Auckland also posted the biggest single gain in sentiment, with a net positive score of 49%, dramatically up from the 6% it posted the previous quarter.
Colliers research and communications director Chris Dibble said the positive sentiment reflected an expectation of continued low interest rates.
He said while New Zealand might have a lower or stable OCR in 2020, interest rate margins were likely to rise as well as term deposit rates.
‘‘This may see more properties come to market as owners look to take advantage of the strong gains made in recent years.’’
He said as was typical in an election year, there would likely be a period of disruption before and after the 2020 election — both in New Zealand and in the US.
‘‘Those focused on long-term performance will benefit the most,’’ he said.
However, the survey numbers belie current pricing, as Queenstown-Lakes house prices declined in November, according to latest data from the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand.
REINZ regional director and Bayleys Queenstown general manager Gail Hudson attributed the 4.5% decline to fewer buyers in the market, which was ‘‘something we haven’t seen in a while’’.
‘‘However, sales were up 22% from 91 in November 2018 to 111 this November, and we are also seeing more confidence, which the market is starting to react to.’’
She said the wider Otago region had a record median price of $540,000 and a 10.9% annual increase in new listings, one of only two regions to experience increased new listings.
Mr Dibble said 2020 was likely to usher in higher density, more affordable homes, catering to the demand from first-home buyers and the reemergence of investors driven by historically low interest rates.