Surge in regional first home buyers

by Kelly Gregor07 Nov 2017
New figures from Westpac NZ show a surge of activity from first home buyers in the regions.

In the year ending September 30, the number of mortgages issued by the bank to first home buyers rose 12% across New Zealand to 5553.

Areas that experienced significant growth include Manawatu-Wanganui, Marlborough, Nelson, Northland, Southland, Tasman, Wellington and the West Coast, with volumes rising more than 20%. In contrast, volumes in Auckland fell by 5%.

Westpac NZ CEO David McLean said it’s heartening to see first home buyers finding places to put down roots.

“The housing market has slowed and that’s good for New Zealand. We need a sustained period of flatter prices so that as incomes grow, houses become more affordable. In many places, we’re seeing a welcome increase in young New Zealanders getting a foothold on the housing ladder.

“It’s pleasing to see plenty of activity in the regions, which are the engine room of the New Zealand economy.

“In Manawatu-Wanganui for example, mortgages issued by Westpac to first home buyers rose 26%, while Northland had a 44% increase. Marlborough had a whopping 74% increase,” McLean added.
Westpac said plenty of people were eyeing up the capital, Westpac mortgages issued to first home buyers rose by 43% year-on-year.

“These figures show buyers are flocking to Wellington. It’s a different story in Auckland, where entering the market is still a challenge for many people.

“Having said that, analysts have noted a recent cooling in prices, meaning some first home buyers may now be reviewing their options in our largest city.”

Mr McLean said the Reserve Bank introduced more-restrictive loan to value (LVR) ratio rules for property investors on October 1, 2016.

He added this appears to have given first home buyers more room to make purchasing decisions, and contributed to the increase in sales.

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