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A rollercoaster ride

View-Lower-Sth-summer-article-730x410.jpeg It has been a roller coaster ride of events for those in the region – with a rugby world cup, a cricket world cup, an election, and finally, a change of government.

The property markets continued to churn along at a steady pace in Otago and Southland, albeit at a rate which has seen parts of the Lower South Island outperform every other region within the country. Queenstown Lakes for example has overtaken Selwyn in Canterbury as the fastest growing territorial authority area in the country.

Recently released Stats New Zealand data shows the Queenstown Lakes district’s population grew by eight percent, or 3,900 people, in the year ending June 2023. The growth was driven by a net international migration gain of 2,500 people, with net internal migration of 1,100 people, and a natural (birth) increase of 340 new arrivals. Comparatively, Greater Otago’s population grew by 2.7 percent – well above the New Zealand average of 2.1 percent. According to data from economic performance analysis agency Infometrics, Queenstown-Lakes remains the fastest growing territorial authority in New Zealand in the 12 months to September 2023 - with gross domestic productivity growth of 5.9 percent.

Employment of Queenstown Lakes residents grew 8.3 percent over the year to September 2023 – reflecting the district’s fastest growth since 2018. Queenstown Lakes’ accommodation and hospitality services industry added nearly 900 jobs over the past year, while retail services added more than 300 new positions. Many of the region’s employers are relieved to see the migration tap well and truly open again after several challenging post-Covid years where staff were hard to find – particularly as we all know in the hospitality and tourism sectors, and international farm workers in Southland. Rental bond statistics lodged through the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment indicate virtually no change in the number of active rental bonds in Queenstown Lakes over the year to August 2023, showing there has been no change in the supply of rental properties despite the strength of population growth.


Meanwhile, latest in-depth sales data from the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand shows that several districts within the Lower South Island saw healthy 12-monthly lifts in residential property pricing values. These sub-market districts include:

  • Central Otago District – up 10.5 percent from $742,000 to $820,000
  • Clutha District – up 5.4 percent from $389,000 to $410,000
  • Queenstown Lakes District – up 6.0 percent from $1,240,000 to $1,315,000
  • Waitaki District – up 20 percent from $425,000 to $510,000
  • Gore District – up 4.8 percent from $420,000 to $440,000
  • Southland District – up 2.4 percent from $420,000 to $430,000

The REINZ data also tracked that in Otago, the current median number of days to sell a residential property now sits at 39 days – more than the 10-year average for October which has been 34 days. On current sales levels, there was 19 weeks of inventory on the market for sale in October – which is exactly the same as October last year. Real Estate Institute of New Zealand chief executive office Jen Baird said vendors’ price expectations in Otago have risen slightly compared to recent months – with open homes and auction rooms both noting good attendance levels. She also alluded to anecdotal comments from Queenstown real estate salespeople that there was continued strong buying intentions coming from ‘out of town’ purchasers. Non-residential building consents worth $232.5 million were issued in Queenstown Lakes District during the year to September 2023. The value of consents in Queenstown Lakes District increased by 68.4 percent over the year to September 2023.

By comparison, the value of consents in New Zealand increased by 3.9 percent over the same period. Subsequently, that has translated to greater confidence in the area’s residential investment property sector, along with restoring some stability to the retail and commercial scene. Cascading further down the chain, more homes are being built, with a portion of those being allocated into the locale’s rental pool by their new owners. Approximately 2300 new homes were consented in the district since January last year. Meanwhile in Southland, the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand stat’s show the current median number of days to sell a residential property now sits at 46 days – more than the 10-year average for October which has been 18 days. Emulating its neighbouring province, on current sales levels, there was 17 weeks of inventory on the market for sale in October – which is the same as October last year.

REINZ chief executive Jen Baird said Southland’s residential property market was currently in a state of flux – “with interest rates and the new government’s policy changes having the largest impact.”

“Local real estate agents believe the current market will remain the same until after Christmas, at which point they are hopeful of a steady and progressive improvement,” she added.


With offices in Dunedin, Mosgiel, Invercargill, Gore, Arrowtown, Winton, Cromwell, Wanaka, and Queenstown, Bayleys’ commitment to the Lower South Island is proudly exemplified not only by the sales and marketing services we deliver across all property sectors, but also through our long-standing support of the Highlanders Super Rugby franchise.

Thanks to the Bayleys Real Estate network of offices across the Otago and Southland provinces, rugby fans will see the Highlanders rugby team return to Queenstown early next year for a pre-season ‘friendly’ against the flair of Moana Pasifika.

The game is to be played on February 2 at 6pm at the Queenstown Events Centre close to the Five Mile shopping centre, which will be widely accessible to fans and families who can take advantage of the time-friendly scheduling. About 5,000 people turned out to the team’s last highly entertaining pre-season match against Moana Pasifika in Queenstown at the beginning of the year, which the Highlanders won 33-24.

A similar number of fans are expected at next year’s game. Bayleys’ ticketing commitment will ensure that children aged under-13-years will be able go to the game free — with up to six children allowed to attend with a fee-paying adult.

Adult tickets to the game are currently on sale through the Highlanders website. The franchise has discounted early bird tickets for Queenstown and Southland locals, using the code ‘LocalsOnly’. The offer is available until December 31.

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