Real estate sales, prices lift in May

Queenstown's property and section sales are slowly returning to volumes not seen since before the global financial crisis.

Real Estate Institute of New Zealand (Reinz) data released yesterday showed 65 houses and apartments were sold in the resort last month. It was the highest monthly figure since 2007, Reinz Queenstown spokesman Kelvin Collins said yesterday.

In the first five months of this year, 277 homes and apartments had been sold, Reinz data showed. That was 76 more, or a 37% increase, on the same five months last year.

While sales were still well below the 700-800 annual sales during the economic boom times of the mid-2000s, Mr Collins said sales had been lifting this year and appeared to be holding at the new level.

"I'd say we are getting back to normal levels. Queenstown can sustain 55-65 sales a month."

Mr Collins said first-home owners and investors were competing in the under-$450,000 market, but there were still consistent sales at the upper end of the market, too.

Section sales were also stronger this year, with 12 sold in April and about the same last month, he said.

Asked if stronger sales would continue, Mr Collins said the market was still "fickle".

"If we get a good winter with plenty of snow, we will see demand for holiday houses. But if the snow does not come soon, we probably won't ... Give me another three to four months of stronger activity and I will be more confident."

Nationally, 7175 sales were made last month, 26.4% more than in April and 26.4% higher than in May last year. Sales in Dunedin and most other parts of Otago and Southland were static, but volumes doubled in Clutha compared with April and 18 higher than in May last year.

Valuation company QV also released its May data yesterday.

It analysed the average sales price for homes in the three months to the end of May and the growth over the past 12 months.

Annual growth for most Otago and Southland centres was modest, ranging from 3.9% in Central Otago to a decline of 2.7% in Clutha. Growth in Dunedin was 2.2%.


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