By John Petre, Manager of Harcourts Cromwell.
Having been in real estate in Otago since 1990, I’ve seen a lot of changes. Queenstown and Wanaka have gone from small holiday destinations to two of the fastest growing and most attractive property markets in New Zealand. And it’s great to see that they’re taking smaller surrounding towns – like Cromwell – with them.
Cromwell sits in the valley of Upper Clutha and is an easy 45-minute commute from Queenstown – I do it myself every day! The geographic and strategic halfway point between Queenstown and Wanaka, it’s perfectly placed to benefit from the strong growth we’ve seen in these areas over the past decade. And signs show that property owners are starting to recognise Cromwell as a big player in real estate.
The market facts and figures
The number of sales rose by a huge 26 per cent in the Central Lakes region from August to September, whereas property prices rose by just two per cent. If you compare this with Queenstown’s fall in sales but five per cent increase in prices, you can see that people are taking the opportunity to trade in high-cost homes for an improved lifestyle – and are placing more value on a better quality of life, a slower pace and a strong sense of community. Add in Cromwell’s rich heritage, world-class wineries and beautiful countryside and you’ve got a formula for a town on the rise.
The good news for buyers is that property in Cromwell remains relatively affordable. You’re looking at a median price of $450,350 for a dwelling and $195,000 for a section in September – around 90 per cent lower than Queenstown’s respective prices in 2016*.
Investment in Cromwell is coming from all angles
This faith from investors is mirrored by the council’s reinvestment in Cromwell over the last few years and we’re now seeing the fruits of that growth. The reinvention of the mall has created a brilliant hub and I’m particularly delighted with the great sporting facilities the town now has.
Although some criticism has been fired at the council over the cost of these projects, I see them as an investment in the future of the town and I fully expect us as a community to reap the long-term benefits. And with new faces entering the political landscape of the district, I can only see Cromwell enabling and embracing further growth.
Local businesses are also taking the time to update and prepare for the future. The Golden Gate Lodge is a prime example and I think other businesses should take confidence from this: a well-equipped town with plenty of amenities will only continue to attract tourists and home-owners, further strengthening the local economy.
We’ve recently renovated our Cromwell office – we’re very proud of how it now looks and we’re future-proofed for at least the next ten years. We’re having to work hard to keep up with the town’s expansion, too – we’re looking forward to welcoming another new face to our team this month!
As a long-time Otago resident and the Manager of our Cromwell and Alexandra offices, I’m very excited about the future of Cromwell. I hope that we can keep making strides towards strengthening and modernizing our district without losing its authentic, small-town vibe and interesting culture and history.
*Stats from Harcourts Cromwell and Harcourts Queenstown 2016 data.