Buyer classification data from CoreLogic shows that in early 2006 first-home buyers accounted for around 29% of Auckland house sales, only marginally below the proportion of sales (34%) going to multiple property owners, or investors.
Fast forward a decade to 2016, and first-home buyers in Auckland accounted for 22% of sales while multiple property owners had increased their share to 43%.
The proportion of those moving to their next home dropped slightly from 26% to 25% during the same period.
In contrast, the proportion of sales made around the rest of the country to first-home buyers over that decade remained consistently around the 20% mark. And while multiple property owners made up around 35% of sales nationally in early 2006, that had risen to 40% a decade later.
The proportion of those moving on to their next home stayed relatively consistent around 30% during those 10 years.
Senior research analyst Nick Goodall says a focus of CoreLogic's first-home buyer analysis in recent years has been on the impact of loan-to-value lending restrictions, introduced by the Reserve Bank in 2013, and the requirement in most instances of a 20% deposit to purchase an owner-occupied home.
"There was a lot of discussion that the requirement to have that 20% deposit was going to absolutely kill the first-home buyers' market," explains Goodall. "What we saw is that first-home buyers came out of the market by about 2 or 3%, but they gradually found their way back to those pre-LVR levels."
Goodall says the upward trend in sales to property investors, particularly in the past 2 or 3 years, is being driven by a number of factors, including low interest rates, increased speculation on the back of rises in capital gains, and investors' ability to leverage against other properties in their portfolios.
While there's much discussion that competition and fast-rising house prices are delaying the age at which Aucklander's buy their first home, there's little demographic information available to support whether the current average first-home buyer age of 32 is an upward trend or not.
While the impact of global factors such as Brexit or the US presidential elections are still to be divined, Goodall says factors point to current trends in the property market continuing, meaning it's likely the future holds further regulation.
"It does seem inevitable there will be some changes from the Government and the Reserve Bank," says Goodall, "and I think they will try to target investors more.
Pay no interest
In a move to support first-home buyers in a tough market, Westpac is currently running a competition offering them the chance to pay no interest for a year on their home loan - potentially saving up to $32,000 on a $700,000 home loan.
To enter, you just need to be a first-home buyer planning to buy a home to live in, and have a home loan approved with the bank between May 27 and July 31, 2016.
To find out more about your chance to win your home loan interest paid for a year, visit Westpac.co.nz/paynointerest.