The housing market has seen a 5% increase in first-time buyers over the last three months according to ANZ, New Zealand’s largest home lender.
Home ownership has been a distant dream for most would-be buyers as a result of high deposits, housing shortages and increasing net migration. According to a survey of 1000 people in February, 39% of people who didn’t own a home felt that buying a property was not feasible.
However new figures suggest that first-time buyers are slowly returning to the market.
According to ANZ, buyers in Auckland are primarily targeting lower-priced homes in the west, south and north suburbs where first-time buyers make up approximately 50% of home sales.
First-time buyer activity in Christchurch has also seen record levels and is up by 3% since last year, but hasn’t been so buoyant across the investor-heavy regions of Tauranga, Hamilton and Dunedin.
“We know it’s been a real stretch for many first home buyers to get their foot on the ladder – particularly in Auckland – so it’s great to see more first home buyers coming into the market,” says ANZ Managing Director Retail & Business Banking Antonia Watson. “We’ve also seen the number of property movers drop significantly – from 25% to 22% of the market, which could reflect that more Auckland home owners are staying put in an uncertain market.”
“But while it’s good to see more people buying their first home, we’re still talking about huge sums of money – especially in Auckland. It’s vital that buyers are financially ready to take this step.”
Watson also warned that whilst interest rates are currently at a historic low, buyers should be aware of the possibility that rates might increase and to properly assess their financial security before committing to sizable mortgage repayments.