There are so many distinctly different areas to buy property in within the greater Queenstown region. Each suburb and region have very specific advantages and disadvantages.

My approach with clients before beginning to look, is to list the five most important features that are important to them in a property and have a clear understanding of how they intend to live when occupying the house. What draws them to holidaying or living in this region?

The difference between buying a property to live in, compared to holiday in, has significant implications for the location of the property in the Queenstown region. Similarly, for an investment property. Who are you hoping will tenant the property? There are areas which are more residential than others. This is driven by amenities, traffic flow, contour and aspect.

The best time to buy is when no one else is shopping – when everyone is saying it’s not a great time. There are seasonal variations in our market – ideally a shortage of buyers could make for more motivated vendors. The ski season traditionally has a healthy number of buyers about.

If the property is a long-term investment or lifestyle purchase then it is best to pounce on something that is a box ticker when you it hits your radar, especially in the current market. It can sometimes be better to get the right property rather than being completely price driven – over the long term the price paid will be less significant. Opportunity cost can sometimes be significant. The current market has moved on from what it has been over the previous few years where there has been a quick profit to be made.

From a purely financial perspective, the loan-to-value ratios have eased (these were lending criteria imposed to curb low deposit lending and cool the housing market) and interest rates are at historical lows – these are conditions in favor of the buyer.

The Central Otago Lakes area has had a decline in house prices over the last quarter. Data from the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand showed in May Queenstown prices were down 7% on a year ago. Wanaka’s prices rose 0.5%.

The market seems to be ticking along, with good properties selling, just taking slightly longer. The days-on-market are stretching out from 30 days (a year ago) to 50 – 60 days currently. Properties without a correct marketing plan and pricing from the start are disadvantaged in the current property market.

An important consideration for off shore buyers is the exchange rate. If you are considering buying, start to watch the exchange rate. I have had many clients benefit significantly by moving money at the right time.

A significant percentage of buyers within the local market are Australian based. Sydney property values are easing off and this may have an impact on the buyers to our local market.

The best time is when you are ready, and this will be dictated by your personal circumstances – but don’t be like so many of my buyers at the moment and be lamenting that they should have done it 4 years ago!!!