NZSIR’s co-founder and joint Managing Director Mark Harris shares his views on the exciting prospects of the post-COVID property market.
How is the Southern Lakes property market progressing since COVID-19?
It has certainly been performing better than was being speculated during lockdown. April was quiet due to the inability to conduct property inspections but enquiries were consistent. When we moved to Level 2 in May, inspections recommenced and the market started to move again. We were 47% back on May 2019 but prices held up; we managed a new residential record in Queenstown and our Auckland team achieved the biggest residential sale seen in New Zealand since 2018.
How are you feeling about the immediate future in terms of both the local economy and the property market?
Right now, there is plenty of enquiry and contracts are being completed when vendors are sensible with pricing. The health side of COVID has been dealt with as well as could have been expected and now it is time to move the economy forward. The trans-Tasman bubble will be key to unlocking short-term economic relief, while the very low interest rates and relaxed LVRs are helping.
What are some notable sales that NZSIR has achieved since the country went into lockdown on March 25th?
We achieved a land-only residential record in Lake Hayes of $3.95 million, as well as the top residential sale for the Southern Lakes this year which was a $6.75 million property in Queenstown. We also completed a significant sale in Auckland of over $22 million.
What initiatives did NZSIR implement to comply with restrictions imposed by the pandemic?
We had systems in place that enabled remote working and therefore the business to continue throughout all alert levels. We had a policy to over-communicate with our teams and tried to be as proactive as we could with our clients in terms of keeping them informed. All of our staff were outstanding through this crisis and, from a technical perspective, we treated it as an acceleration to digital with more virtual tours, live video tours for buyers and pushing all of our marketing online with a big emphasis on social platforms.
Who is typically looking for property right now?
There is domestic and local trading happening within the region but also a noticeable increase in enquiry from expats looking to come home, as well as Australians.
What is the sentiment amongst buyers searching for property in the Southern Lakes?
COVID has reset a lot of our perceptions of value and what’s important to us, in a positive way. I think property has formed part of this as we were all stuck at home for so long. There has been a lot of feedback from buyers that the Southern Lakes is somewhere they would like to be if this ever happens again.
Enquiries for properties at the higher end of the market have increased. Why do you think this is?
Brand NZ is relevant now more than ever. The way COVID has been handled from a health perspective has been getting headlines all over the globe and that has stimulated international enquiry, particularly at the high end. We’ve also seen more than 50,000 expats return home.
This story was published in the July Southern Lakes Elevate.