The Queenstown / Otago Lakes region has seen its fair share of property booms over the past decade. It has become a global vacation hotspot and property development has been dynamic. Now by combining web statistics with industry information we can provide some valuable insight into the market and the interest expressed through website visitors to this beautiful part of the world.
From a real estate perspective the local market of the Queenstown Lakes region mirrors very much the national market – the graph below shows in the red line the significant fall off in sales volumes of residential properties in the Otago Lakes region over the past 18 months. Matched with this softening of the market has been the rise in the inventory as reflected in the blue bars of the chart.
In the first half of 2007 buoyed up by an active sellers market the level of inventory was steady at around 1,800 listings in the region representing around 42 weeks of stock – an admittedly high level as compared to the national average at the time of 19 weeks (4 months). As sales started to slow through late 2007 and into 2008 the inventory levels crept up, and up to a situation now with around 2,300 listings representing just over 119 weeks’ worth of listings, based on current sales activity.
Whilst the current market is relatively quiet in terms of actual transactions, the website activity continues to be focused to overseas visitors. This region of the country is one of the most popular with overseas web visitors – attracting not far off one in every two visitors to these properties in the region. The graph below shows the comparison of the Otago Lakes district as compared to the national perspective of the whole website. The blue bars represent the monthly % of visitors to the website looking at properties in the region, as compared to the red line which is the % for all properties on the website. Both figures reflect the growing interest from overseas, more as a function of the websites appeal and global linkages.
As to the source of this international interest it is valuable to analyse the make up of this 45% of the visitors viewing the website from overseas. The top 3 countries visiting the site are consistent across all regions of the country – UK, Australia and USA in that order, the top 10 countries are represented in the chart below.
It is interesting to see how interest from certain countries has changed comparing 2008 with 2007 – most striking is the growth in interest from Hong Kong now the 5th most popular country source of visitor and over 170% up on a year ago. Despite the large % growth represented by Hong Kong most significant in terms of quantum of visitors is a decline in traffic visiting the site from Australia, down 41% with just 2,500 visitor sessions in the 2nd half of 2008.
As highlighted earlier the website can be a valuable lead-indicator of potential future activity, primarily about the level of demand as measured in website visitors and enquiries sent from the website to agents regarding listings on the site in the form of emails. This tracking shows some interest recent trends from this index chart on the right:
Whilst the level of enquiry fell away markedly (when measured as an index of average monthly enquiry) during the autumn and winter period of this current year; the month of August has seen a robust boost in email enquiries being sent to agents – potentially leading to a degree of a spring boost to flagging market activity.
Properties of interest
Within that rich portfolio of over 2,400 property listings on the website at this time for the region there are some very interesting properties on the website to tempt buyers.
The most popular Queenstown listing on the site is this striking property in Gibbston on 7 hectares. Currently being marketed by Brown’s Sotheby’s, this property is on the market for $3.25m.
The listing has received over 6,600 views since being listed. Of these visitors a high proportion have visited to view this property from overseas as per this graph for the listing which shows the traffic from each of the top 8 countries over the past 7 days.
Naturally the question always goes to the most expensive and the cheapest property in the region – well for $8.95m this 4 bedroom 385m2 home takes the top slot. Out of the top 20 most expensive properties on the site a whopping 25% are in this Otago Lakes region.
Whilst at the other end of the spectrum for just $35,000 and a lease cost of $2,010 per annum you could be living in Arrowtown in this 2 bedroom cabin.