Resort market too fast for high school

Saturday 27 March 2004

Queenstown's booming property market moved too quickly for the Education Ministry, which was forced to sell property through a slow legal process, Education Ministry Otago Southland manager Kathryn Palmer said.

By The Landlord

A former Wakatipu High School teacher's house was sold by the ministry on November 12 for $615,000 and on-sold by the new owners in December for $1.1 million.

The intention was to sell the Suburb Street house, which is on a prime commercial site, and buy another less expensive property. The resulting profit would be divided equally between the ministry and the school.

Wakatipu High School principal Kevin Orlowski was concerned the slow process meant they were selling on one market and buying on another, much more expensive, one.

He was also upset that because the valuation was so low the school and ministry missed out on the $485,000 profit the original owner's descendants gained when they sold the house weeks later.

However, Ms Palmer said the ministry did not have the luxury of selling through the open market.

Under the Public Works Act, crown land has to be offered back to the original owners or their beneficiaries, she said.

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