Regions experience a leap in first home buyer activity

Regions experience a leap in first home buyer activity

New figures from Westpac NZ show a surge of activity from first home buyers in the regions.

In the 12 months, the number of first home buyer mortgages issued by Westpac rose 12% across NZ, with the largest increases came in Manawatu-Wanganui, Marlborough, Nelson, Northland, Southland, Tasman, Wellington and the West Coast, with volumes rising more than 20%.

Westpac NZ Chief Executive David McLean says 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.”

Plenty of people also had their eye on the Capital, with Westpac mortgages issued to first home buyers rising 43% year on year.

“These figures show buyers are flocking to Wellington,” McLean says.

In sharp contrast, volumes fell 5% in Auckland.

“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.”

McLean says the more restrictive loan to value ratio rules for property investors introduced by the Reserve Bank appears to have given first home buyers more room to make purchasing decisions, and contributed to the increase in sales.

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