Kiwis have prime chance to buy homes in tourism hotspots

New Zealand buyers have a real opportunity to snap up beautiful homes in tourism hotspots around the country.

22 April 2020

Villa 2, 27 Panorama Terrace, Queenstown­-Lakes, Otago

Kiwis have prime chance to buy homes in tourism hotspots

It used to be the case that investors would buy beautiful homes in New Zealand’s tourism hotspots and rent them out during the year to international tourists.

But with the international tourism business gone for now due to the COVID-19 pandemic and closed borders, some homes targeted to this sector are coming onto the market with a different kind of buyer in mind. Smart agents are presenting them as homes which New Zealanders might like to secure for their primary residence or as a holiday home.

Why do the tourists get to have all the fun in the most beautiful parts of the country? And if people are working or running businesses from home, what better place to do it from than from a lovely tourist spot. The New Zealand property market is seeing some excellent real estate opportunities for locals in these areas.

And it doesn’t have to break the bank. The option of renting the home out from time to time to New Zealand tourists is always there, but you get to enjoy the fantastic views for most of the year.

Auckland Ray White agent, Rick Mozessohn, says a lot of towns in New Zealand are so propped up by tourism, it can make a lot of sense for Kiwis to buy homes there if they are wanting a lifestyle change.

Beautiful spots, such as the Coromandel, Te Anau, Taupo and Langs Beach could appeal to Kiwis wanting to settle in a beautiful location favoured by international tourists, he says.

Queenstown real estate market a potential opportunity for Kiwi buyers

Queenstown and Wanaka are obvious locations which will be particularly hit by a dearth of international tourists. Wanaka is also a favourite holiday location of New Zealand farmers, so it may see some interest from that buyer group.

Queenstown, meanwhile, has an excellent selection of attractive homes in the current market. New Zealand Sotheby’s International Realty agent, Hadley van Schaik is selling a recently-built home on Queenstown Hill which has attracted a phenomenal 33,000 views on Trade Me Property, and 133 watchlists in its first week of listing. A new listing normally attracts 2,000 views a week, says Mr van Shaik..

In the case of this beautiful four bedroom, three bathroom cedar and coloursteel villa built in 2017, (pictured) it has visitor accommodation resource consent, so it’s zoned as a commercial property, making it permissible for international buyers to buy the property.

Prior to COVID-19, it would have been snapped up by an international purchaser. Australians love Queenstown, for instance, says the Sotheby’s agent.

“Pre-COVID-19, it would have sold as a holiday home or an Airbnb rental because it’s so close to town.”

Now, after COVID-19, it’s positioned to sell as a permanent home or holiday home to New Zealand buyers, says Mr van Shaik.

Locals are more likely to step in, in light of the worldwide pandemic and New Zealand’s closed borders, and that’s largely who he is hearing from.

The new owner would have “one of the best outlooks in New Zealand,” says the Sotheby’s agent.

Mr van Shaik says he’s receiving five email or phone inquiries every day, largely from Kiwis, about the property which is for sale by negotiation, likely to sell in the sub $3 million price range.

“What we are saying to people is with Queenstown, there’s no better place to be in at a time like this.The tourist town will be popular domestically,” says the agent. So if the successful purchaser wanted to rent the place out for some nights during the year, they’d have no trouble finding takers among Kiwi holidaymakers.

Mr van Shaik is expecting a lot of Aucklanders and North Islanders to travel to Queenstown this winter and in time, once borders lift, Australians will return.

The modern villa rented out in 2019 at between $1250 and $1800 a night for 241 nights, which is a high amount for a luxury home, says the Sotheby’s agent. In an alpine environment, you want a well built new home with good heating like this property, he says. And it’s just a 10 minute walk and a couple of minutes’ drive to the heart of central Queenstown.

Bay of Islands opportunities abound for a slice of domestic heaven

The Bay of Islands is another beloved destination for international tourists where Kiwis might find their next home. LJ Hooker Kerikeri agent, Carolyn Smith, says she has two properties which would particularly suit a New Zealand buyer wanting to live in a beautiful tourist area and to work from home.

One is a three level home with B&B options, overlooking Opito Bay near Kerikeri, on the market for a very reasonable $875,000. The other is a lifestyle property which offers people the ability to live in one part of the home and rent out the other part to holidaymakers.

The lodge, on 11 hectares, has just come down in price to $1.85 million, says Ms Smith. It would be well suited to multi-generational families, wanting separate space.

Both properties are a quick drive away from Kerikeri and three hours from Auckland.

Ms Smith has no doubt that New Zealanders will come more to the Bay of Islands as domestic tourism will be the only option for the foreseeable future.

“I do think people are going to come to the Bay of Islands and travel north. If people are coming from Auckland and want to be out of the city and run a business, it’s a great opportunity,” she says.

There’s no way you could buy these properties at this price in Auckland, adds the LJ Hooker agent.