A new way of measuring the number of first home buyers

Date: 02 December 2013

For the first time there is now a comprehensive and reliable way to measure exactly how many sales are by first home buyers. This is thanks to new analysis carried out by PropertyIQ, the market leading property information, data and analytics company. The analysis looks at every property transaction across the country for the last ten years then identifies whether the new owners were first home buyers, movers, or property investors. Although the base data has long been available, it is only recently that we have applied our new methodology to categorise each sale and therefore establish what type of buyers are in the market and match this to the type of property.

Across New Zealand 20% of sales of houses, flats and apartments since the beginning of 2012 have been to first home buyers. We have defined a first home buyer transaction as one where none of the new owners have owned property in New Zealand previously, and they have also taken out a mortgage.

We can now take stock of the first home buyer market as it stands today, look back to how that has changed over the past months and years, assess any immediate changes in the two months following the LVR caps, as well as track changes as they occur in the coming months.

 

Percentage of first home buyers across the country

As you would expect, there is variation in the number of first home buyers across the country (see table). The highest proportion of sales to first home buyers is in West Auckland at 29%, closely followed by Porirua and Hutt City. South Auckland, Upper Hutt and Wellington City sit in the mid twenties, while North Shore, Hamilton, Rotorua, New Plymouth, Wanganui and Dunedin are all in the low twenties.

Of the main centres Tauranga (16%) and Christchurch (17%) are considerably lower. So too are the areas surrounding Christchurch as people have moved there either from Christchurch or from further afield to assist with the rebuild.

Also at the low end of the scale are areas where people either retire to or have holiday homes such as Taupo, Kapiti, Nelson and Queenstown. And the lowest of all is Coromandel where only 6% of sales were to first home buyers.

 

The Auckland market

One of the main reasons for the LVR caps was to slow down the increase in property values in Auckland. If we look at where first home buyers are purchasing in Auckland we can make some assessment of whether that will be successful.

The accompanying map shows the relative number of first home buyers by suburb across Auckland. The dot on each suburb is sized based on the total number of sales in the suburb since the beginning of 2012, with a larger dot reflecting more sales and a smaller dot fewer sales. The colour of the dot represents the percentage of sales in that area that were to first home buyers. Red indicates it has an above average percentage of first home buyers, while blue reflects it being below average.

It is clear to see where first home buyers have been active, with fewer in the more expensive suburbs, such as central Auckland, and coastal North Shore.

The suburbs with the highest percentage of first home buyers are in parts of North Shore, in suburbs such as Birkdale, Beach Haven and Bayview, then through Sunnyvale and Kelston in the west. These suburbs all have 35% to 39% of sales to first home buyers. Others with over 30% of first home buyers are Glenfield, Glen Eden, Glendene, Massey, Avondale, Mangere East and Clendon Park. Glen Innes and Point England just to the east of central Auckland also have over 30% of first home buyers but they are smaller areas with fewer overall sales. Many of these areas with a higher percentage of first home buyers are also the same areas that have increased the most in value over the past year.

 

The impact of LVR changes

So what impact may the LVR caps have on first home buyers in Auckland? One of the defining factors of the Auckland market at the moment is the high demand combined with low supply. This has meant multiple interested parties for each property many of who may have missed out on several previous properties. The question is how much impact the LVR caps will have on this. If there are multiple interested parties for each property, and the LVR caps remove some of these, there are still potentially several interested parties remaining. Furthermore, the removal of first home buyers from the market opens opportunity for property investors.

There are several ways that first home buyers are reacting to the changes. Some are choosing to stay out of the market for now and save more for a deposit, others are finding money from elsewhere, for example from parents, and others are resetting their expectations lower so don't need as much for a deposit. Over the coming weeks and months, we will be measuring exactly what does happen to the number of first home buyers and whether investors become the perhaps unintended beneficiaries of this new policy. Furthermore we can do this for every transaction rather than relying on a survey of only a small number of buyers.

The data for October and November, in the first two months following the introduction of the LVR caps, shows a slight nationwide increase in first home buyer activity. This is perhaps not surprising given that there would still have been people with pre-approved loans, and the expectation that there would be a rush of first home buyer activity before the market settled. So far there have been no dramatic changes in any areas, but that may be yet to come.

 

Percentage of first home buyers by area since the beginning of 2012

Far North District

12%

Whangarei District

17%

Kaipara District

13%

Auckland - Rodney

16%

Auckland - North Shore

22%

Auckland - Waitakere

29%

Auckland - City

18%

Auckland - Manukau

24%

Auckland - Papakura

26%

Auckland - Franklin

20%

Thames Coromandel District

6%

Hauraki District

15%

Waikato District

25%

Matamata Piako District

21%

Hamilton City

23%

Waipa District

19%

Otorohanga District

21%

South Waikato District

20%

Waitomo District

23%

Taupo District

12%

Western Bay of Plenty District

13%

Tauranga City

15%

Rotorua District

22%

Whakatane District

19%

Kawerau District

17%

Opotiki District

19%

Gisborne District

25%

Wairoa District

20%

Hastings District

17%

Napier City

17%

Central Hawkes Bay District

22%

New Plymouth District

21%

Stratford District

22%

South Taranaki District

22%

Ruapehu District

16%

Wanganui District

21%

Rangitikei District

19%

Manawatu District

21%

Palmerston North City

26%

Tararua District

21%

Horowhenua District

16%

Kapiti Coast District

14%

Porirua City

28%

Upper Hutt City

24%

Hutt City

28%

Wellington City

24%

Masterton District

22%

Carterton District

16%

South Wairarapa District

18%

Tasman District

13%

Nelson City

13%

Marlborough District

16%

Kaikoura District

17%

Buller District

16%

Grey District

22%

Westland District

17%

Hurunui District

11%

Waimakariri District

14%

Christchurch City

17%

Selwyn District

15%

Ashburton District

21%

Timaru District

17%

MacKenzie District

9%

Waimate District

15%

Waitaki District

16%

Central Otago District

10%

Queenstown Lakes District

12%

Dunedin City

20%

Clutha District

17%

Southland District

15%

Gore District

20%

Invercargill City

22%

Total NZ

20%

 

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