First Queenstown auction in weeks gives glimpse into state of NZ's real estate market

New Zealand got a first peek into the state of its real estate market post-lockdown as 100 people packed a Queenstown auction room hall today for the first time in weeks.

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Punters turned up for the first auction day in Queenstown. Source: 1 NEWS

It gave David Gubb, managing director of Bayleys Real Estate in Queenstown, a chance to look at how the market was doing.

“I guess at the moment we've got a market where both the buyers and the vendors are a little uncertain exactly where the prices sit, so we think the auction's a good way of doing that,” he said.

He said 25 per cent of inquiries were coming from Auckland, and about 50 to 60 per cent were from locals. He said there was also a spike in Dunedin and from young people off-shore.

Real Estate Institute of New Zealand chief executive Bindi Norwell said there were “quite a lot” of overseas inquiries.

“So ex-pats that want to return to New Zealand - they see New Zealand as quite a safe haven ... particularly areas that provide more lifestyle choice as well,” she said.

About 1300 sales went through during the Covid-19 lockdown.

REINZ figures also showed sales in Otago dropped 85 per cent compared to April last year. Median house prices dropped 25 per cent in just over a month.

Meanwhile, average prices in the Queenstown Lakes area dropped six per cent to $850,000.

However, experts warn the true effect of Covid-19 may not be seen for a couple of months.