First home buyers pace setters: CoreLogic

Wednesday 17 October 2018

First home buyers accounted for nearly one in four residential property buyers in the September quarter, rivalling investors, according to new research.

The 24% slice of the market for FHBs compares to just 18% of the market four years ago, the research firm said. Christchurch and Wellington were said to be popular destinations.

CoreLogic research analyst Kelvin Davidson said: "At those levels,FHBs’ share of the market is on a par with the pre-GFC peaks*, while it’s also the first time that they have matched mortgaged multiple property owners."

Mortgaged multiple property owners also took a 24% share in the September quarter. CoreLogic said investors, remained resilient, despite measures introduced to curb spending, such as ongoing LVR restrictions requiring a 40% deposit. 

Kelvin Davidson said: "Despite extra regulatory pressure (e.g. Healthy Homes; the looming removal of negative gearing; longer-term threat of a capital gains/income tax), these figures show that new investors are still entering the market and/or existing landlords are expanding their portfolios."

Davidson pondered whether FHBs would surpass multiple property owners this quarter: "It’ll be really interesting to see if FHBs can push ahead of mortgaged MPOs next quarter, driven by access to their KiwiSaver funds and also a clear financial incentive (often renting can be more expensive than a mortgage repayment, provided that the deposit hurdle can be cleared)."

According to the CoreLogic research, second movers -- home owners shifting house -- are taking a relatively low share of the market. "context. At 27%, their share is the lowest it’s been since early 2011. The high cost to trade up, both in terms of the higher price for a newer/larger house as well as legal/moving expenses, will be a key factor keeping existing owners where they are," Davidson said.

While cash multiple property owners have "flattened off" in recent months, CoreLogic said, perhaps due to the impact of the foreign buyer ban.

Davidson said competitive interest rates and banks gradually raising lending would boost the market in the months to come, adding "overall activity is unlikely to race away, so the story for the next few months at least will continue to be about the different buyer groups (and their lenders) jostling for market share". 

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