Living and Renovating in Queenstown

Queenstown's property market is booming, being one of the most desirable holiday destinations in NZ. David Dolphin says that renovating is much more viable in the Queenstown area than building new homes.

panoramic view of queenstown

To most New Zealanders, Queenstown is regarded as one of the most desirable holiday destinations in the country. The majestic peaks of The Remarkables and the tranquillity of Lake Wakatipu combine to create a unique lakeside town setting not seen anywhere else in New Zealand. Throw a healthy helping of thrill-seeking and an afternoon visiting an array of award-winning wineries in there too, and you’ve got yourself all the ingredients for a very memorable holiday.
But Queenstown is not just the birthplace of bungy jumping or a popular home away from home for savvy tourists. According to the 2013 census, 28,224 people usually call the Queenstown-Lakes District home, a number that booms during the busy holiday seasons. A number of schools cater for the region’s children, while the thriving township offers a lot of opportunities for busy professionals.
There’s a bit of a boom going on in Queenstown too. Housing is expensive with most properties selling for around $1 million. New subdivisions are periodically opened (and subsequently quickly snapped up) while high- and medium-density housing is on the rise.
Queenstown Refresh Renovations franchisee David Dolphin says that renovations are much more viable than building new homes in the Queenstown area.
“Queenstown and Central Otago are in boom times, from the point of view of economic activity, population growth and construction,” he says. “There is significant strain on the housing sector in Queenstown especially, from the point of view of availability and affordability. I think it would be fair to say that for many people in the current market, renovating or extending their existing home should be a serious alternative to looking for a bigger or better property.”
Queenstown is home to quite varied housing stock, from modest older holiday baches, to apartment, duplexes and terraced units (all of varying ages), right through to multi-million-dollar standalone homes. Further afield in Central Otago, you’ll even find whole sections of former Ministry of Works housing from the construction of the Clyde Dam that date back to the 1970s. Some parts of the region, such as Arrowtown, have well-preserved historic precincts.


But when it comes to renovating, extending or even building, the geography and weather have more of an impact.
“Queenstown and the surrounding area is an alpine environment with many steep sites that can be tricky to build on,” says Dolphin. “There is a strong emphasis on preserving and protecting the natural environment, which flows through to planning, resource and construction restrictions.
“Weather-wise, we have some of the lowest winter temperatures and highest summer temperatures in the country,” he says. “Where I live in Cromwell, we went from -6 degrees last July to 36.6 degrees in January. Many houses that would have been summer holiday homes in the past but are now permanently lived in are poorly equipped for the extremes. Snow to ground level is common in winter, while Central Otago is particularly prone to drought. It’s important, then, that renovation projects cater for this extreme in weather conditions.”
When it comes to renovation trends in the Queenstown area, Dolphin says that homeowners are more likely to lean towards modern and contemporary. “There aren’t many properties with true historic character in Queenstown, not in the sense of the grand old villas of Auckland and Wellington,” he says. “That gives homeowners much more freedom with the design of their own homes.”
With new Queenstown property at a premium, renovating is a much more viable option to get the results that you want. For more information about how to renovate your property in Queenstown, call Refresh Renovations today.
Refresh Renovations Specialists work with reliable, local suppliers and a full network of experienced tradespeople including designers, builders, electricians, plumbers, bricklayers and gasfitters.

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Want to know more? Get in touch with the renovation experts at Refresh now to find out what they can do for you and your home. Refresh Renovations Specialists offer a free initial one-hour consultation that will help you make the decision whether their team is the one for you. This consultation is no obligation and is a chance to understand what they can do for you.

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