Foreign buyers show interest in resort properties

New figures show the resort is the most expensive place to rent a house in New Zealand. Photo:...
Photo: Guy Williams
Foreign buyers have already expressed an interest in high-value Queenstown property, as the new government looks to make changes to ownership rules.

National wants to change the Overseas Investment Act to end the ban on non-residents being able to buy houses in New Zealand — but only if the houses were listed at $2 million or more and buyers paid a fee of 15% of the sale to the government.

Harcourts Queenstown agent Priscilla Uhrle said it was likely to make an impact as 15% of all Queenstown property sales achieved a sale price of over $2m in the past six months.

"Harcourts Queenstown have relationships with a large number of investors and lifestyle investors right around the globe and yes, those buyers have re-engaged with us," Ms Uhrle said.

"Harcourts have maintained strong overseas buyer interest from Australia and Singapore who under the current legislation can purchase New Zealand residential property that does not fall under the ‘special land’ category."

She said it would be interesting to see how the proposed new legislation was packaged.

"In the 28 years of selling Queenstown property we have seen both significant direct and indirect benefits of foreign investment in this town," Ms Uhrle said.

Queenstown real estate agent Stacy Coburn said with the change of government, there would be some positive momentum moving into Christmas.

"In respect to the foreign ownership ban lift, it’s probably too early to tell at this point," Mr Coburn said.

"Buyers may well have an increased appetite to transact now or early next year to beat a potential increase in competition from overseas buyers.

"Conversely, owners should also be mindful of where the value of their property sits and simply hanging their hat on that elusive overseas buyer and waiting on them to pay a premium for their property, which may not come, is not a strategy."

Mr Coburn said he did not believe there would be a mass influx, "but what I do believe is that we will move into the next peak selling cycle early next year, and owners should deal in the market conditions, which in general should be positive, and not wait for what may potentially happen".