Prices plummet in Queenstown after foreign buyer ban introduced

The Government's foreign buyer ban appears to have hit the Otago Lakes/Queenstown property market the hardest.

New figures from show the average asking price last month fell to $857,011 - down almost 19 percent on October's average of $1,057,019.

"During August, September and October a lot of those high-end properties that would perhaps would encourage foreign investment - that $15 million mark and above - they all hit the property market in those months," spokesperson Vanessa Taylor told The AM Show on Monday.

"Now what we've seen is either those properties being withdrawn from, which could mean they've been sold to perhaps foreign buyers or not, or it could mean vendors have withdrawn them from the market."

Since October 22, foreigners (with a few exceptions) have been banned from buying existing residential property. The move, widely panned by the Opposition, is supposed to help curb house prices, which have skyrocketed in major centres since the global financial crisis of 2008/9.

But it hasn't stopped overseas buyers from taking a look. More than a third of the traffic to last month came from overseas, the site saying the ban has done little to dampen interest - especially from Australians , who aren't affected by the ban. They made up 18 percent of all visits.

"We're certainly still continuing to see that demand from overseas," said Ms Taylor. "This is a little slice of paradise."

The average asking price nationwide is $653,575, down only slightly on October. In Auckland it remains stubbornly high at $949,345, where it's been all year.

The problem for buyers, Ms Taylor says, is there just aren't enough properties to go around.

"There's about 5.7 percent of people who definitely want to buy, and only 3.7 percent of people who definitely want to sell."

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Listings are well down on a year ago. Nationwide, the bump in listings ahead of the foreign buyer ban were more than offset by the drop in November. In Auckland however, there was a slight rise in availability.

If sales were to continue at the present rate and no new properties added, says it would take 16 weeks to run out - this time last year, it was 30 weeks.

The total number of properties available has been around about the 25,000 mark since the start of 2016 - less than half than a decade ago.

The biggest asking price rise came in Southland - up 6.9 percent to $321,216 - followed by Bay of Plenty (up 6.6 percent to $680,754) and Nelson & Bays (up 1.5 percent to $651,686).

Sizeable falls were recorded in Hawke's Bay (down 7 percent to $507,085), Marlborough (down 3.6 percent to $507,783) and Manawatu/Whanganui (down 3 percent to $365,318).