Home buyers look to Cromwell as asking prices see 'extraordinary rise'

by Kim Bowden - Feb 07, 2024

The average asking price online for a home in the Central Otago-Southern Lakes region has soared past $1.6 million, forcing would-be buyers from outside the region to look beyond Queenstown for a place to call their own.

According to realestate.co.nz, the country's longest-standing property website, its most searched 'suburb' in the area at the moment is Cromwell.

The town, located beside Lake Dunstan, is commuting distance from both Queenstown and Wānaka, but with real estate slightly more affordable than its bigger neighbours.

Vanessa Williams, of realestate.co.nz, says the average asking price in Central Otago-Southern Lakes is now $1,621,899.

That is a close to 20 percent jump on this time a year ago, and close to $600,000 more than the average asking price in Auckland.

Ms Williams says interest in Central Otago-Southern Lakes is also "surging".

Last month, searches for properties in the area on the website were up 40 percent on December, and 43 percent on January last year.

"Interestingly, the most searched suburb was Cromwell, followed by Wānaka."

Ms Williams says in January there was also plenty of interest from potential purchasers in Auckland, Christchurch and Sydney, which she thinks is evidence of lifestyle factors pulling people from urban centres to this part of the South Island.

"It's fascinating to see how, not long ago, in mid-2021, Auckland and Central Otago Lakes were at a similar price point of around 1.2 million. Since then, Auckland's prices have dipped, while Central Otago Lakes’ have climbed.

“The price gap between the regions illustrates the unique appeal of lifestyle areas like Central Otago Lakes, and Coromandel, over major urban centres like Auckland. The data tells us that when Kiwis look to buy property, lifestyle is a major consideration.”

She notes neighbouring Southland sits at the other end of the price spectrum, as the second-most affordable region in the country.

There the average asking price in January was $555,173 - approximately one-third of that sought in Central Otago-Southern Lakes.

"It's fascinating to see such contrasting price points within geographical proximity."

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