Property sales low in Queenstown but experts remain optimistic

A large number of houses went under the hammer on Friday in the Queenstown market's first test since the COVID-19 lockdown.

"I'd say it's reasonably comparable with what we've seen around the country as well I mean," Bayleys Realty Auction Manager Conor Patton said.

"We've had bidding on a number of properties today. About two-thirds of properties have had bidding on them."

The first two properties in Friday's catalogue sold in the biggest auction day of the last few months, but overall only four of the 21 properties for sale were sold. The other 17 were passed in.

But Patton is remaining optimistic. 

"We've got people who are looking from out of town, we've got locals, we've got people who need accommodation, we've got people who are looking for investment here."

Local economist Benje Patterson agrees, saying it's too early to get a good gauge on what effect the COVID-19 pandemic had on the market.

"I'm going to be looking towards the spring when some people begin to leave their mortgage holidays when we have the wage subsidies behind us, and we're in a situation where we can begin to see how willing Kiwi's are to visit Queenstown and whether the trans-Tasman bubble is up and running," he said.

Before COVID-19 the median hour price in Queenstown had soared to $1.2 million and now the crisis could see a spike in listings, making it easier for locals to get into the market.

"The types of houses that are likely to see the most pronounced price falls in the immediate term are those that derive income from being Airbnb rented.. because that's one part of the market where the yields are so much lower so investors that are targeting that return are going to be prepared to pay less," Patterson said.

In a world of uncertainty, one thing is for sure, there's set to be plenty more auctions like these in the future.  

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