First-home buyer numbers fall

MATT NIPPERT
Last updated 12:41 17/03/2014

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Reserve Bank limits on low-deposit mortgages are cutting down the proportion of first-home buyers, a survey says.

The Bank of New Zealand-Real Estate Institute of New Zealand residential market survey found 17 per cent of agents said sales during February were to first-home buyers, down from 24 per cent a year ago.

The results follow the survey finding 80 per cent of agents reporting fewer first-home buyers in November and December.

In October the Reserve Bank put strict limits on banks offering mortgages with less than 20 per cent deposits.

"First-home buyers have been radically scared away or shut out of the home ownership market by the new credit controls," according to the survey.

The monthly survey gauging impressions of real estate agents of their industry spoke to 373 agents in February, with significant proportions reporting high prices (52 per cent in Canterbury said so, 40 per cent in Wellington and 37 per cent in Auckland).

Success rates for auctions continued to wane, with 24 per cent of agents reporting a decline in clearance rates.

Foreign buyers accounted for 6.4 per cent of sales in February.

"One would struggle, statistically speaking, to conclude that there is a lift or decline in foreign buying of New Zealand houses," the survey said.

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- Fairfax Media

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