Queenstown is a confident property market and investors are benefiting from extremely high rental occupancy levels and year-round tourism.
Airport numbers have risen by more than 102 per cent in the last six years, the average median dwelling value in Queenstown jumped a third in a single year (2015-16), and the average house price has topped $1M. It’s easy to see why national and overseas investors continue to choose Queenstown, but there’s also a lot to consider.
So we got our real estate agents together to share their most important advice for anyone buying investment property in Queenstown.
Location, location, location. Whether you’re going to be leasing your investment on a short- or long-term basis, a prime location will ensure the best returns for years to come. Luckily, there are many spots in and around Queenstown that are great for different reasons. The town centre and Frankton are extremely convenient, Lake Hayes and Shotover Country are wonderful for families, Arrowtown is a close-knit community and Jack’s Point and Dalefield offer private rurality. So, as an investor, you need to consider whether the property you buy is well matched to what tenants or guests are looking for from the suburb you buy into.
Your priorities will vary depending on your purpose for buying but as the town expands away from Lake Wakatipu the famous lake views will become harder to come by. So, right now in Queenstown, we think it’s worth investing in a lake view. Sounds expensive but we feel that Queenstown remains reasonably priced compared to places like Sydney. There are also many good, less expensive investment opportunities with lake views in suburbs such as Fernhill and Sunshine Bay, still very close to the CBD. Just make sure you get in a position to move quickly — desirable properties sell fast in Queenstown!
Ensure you do your due diligence early as the market is strong and properties are moving quickly. Many buyers are caught out by the speed at which properties sell here, either by auction or priced. Market knowledge is essential too, so choose your consultant wisely and get to know them and the market.
Don’t lose sight of the bigger picture — investing in property is a business and you can’t afford to be sentimental. Regularly review your goals and check on your portfolio’s fundamentals regularly, such as your equity, available depreciation, cash flow, rents and interest rates. And don’t neglect your obligations — consider using a professional property manager to make sure you’re going by the book.
Look for two-income properties, whether it’s a two-flat property or a house with a self-contained area or sleep-out, for the best cash flow in Queenstown. The income will not only pay off the mortgage, but is also a valid indicator of its value. So, if your potential purchase is currently achieving a weekly rental of $660 for the house plus $380 for the sleep-out, that’s $1,040 or $52,000 per annum (allowing for two week’s vacancy). An acceptable rental yield is 6%, so you’d divide $52,000 by 6%, indicating that the property is worth $866,666.
Identify what the most important criteria is for you. Is it cash flow? Capital growth? Or perhaps you want to use your investment yourself in the future? The clearer you are with your objectives, the better job the professionals around you can do. Real estate consultants want to understand what’s important to you so we can give the best advice possible and help you secure the property that best suits your needs.
Surround yourself with great people that you trust. If you choose a consultant, a builder, a lawyer and others that you already know are successful and experienced, they can pass on their knowledge, give the best possible advice and allow you to benefit from their previous learnings. In a fast-moving and complex market like Queenstown’s, that’s very important.
The main image is 10 Ada Place, Lake Hayes Estate, currently for sale in Queenstown.