First-home-buyers are currently the largest group of purchasers in the Auckland housing market, CoreLogic figures show.
While sales volumes are below average, CoreLogic's latest Buyer Classification Series shows that First Home Buyers (FHBs) account for 27% of all purchases in the nation's biggest city, even with the average value of a property being $1.04 million.
CoreLogic's Kelvin Davidson said FHBs were also a strong market segment in Hamilton, Wellington, Christchurch, and Dunedin and nationally they are at their strongest market share in 11 years.
Nationally, the biggest segment of buyers is Movers – people selling one house and moving to another.
"The real interest lies in the competition for second and third place: that between FHBs and mortgaged Multiple Property Owners (i.e. investors)," Davidson said.
Mortgaged investors had declined to 22% of purchasers following the 40% deposit rules imposed in late 2016. They have since climbed back up and are the second biggest group of buyers at 24.2%, just ahead of First Home Buyers at 23.5%.
FHBs briefly rose above investors in late 2018 – the first time they overtook investors in well over a decade.
These findings match the experience of Westpac Mobile Mortgage managers, such as Chris Poledniok.
"We are really seeing a return of FHB’s back into the market," he says. "Conditions are more favourable with low interest rates, softened house prices, and more properties in their price range as investors look to be off-loading more properties."
However, he doesn't necessarily believe there are more first home buyers in the market than before, "but many were previously locked out and unable to access lending or could not compete in a market of rising house prices."