First-home buyers get onto property ladder with second offer

After making a successful offer on a house on the second attempt, a young Hamilton couple says getting onto the property ladder was easier than they expected.

It comes as high demand combined with low housing stock is forcing up property prices, the national average asking price rising to $893,794 in July, an increase of $146,628 year-on-year. The Real Estate Institute of New Zealand (REINZ) reports the national median selling price was $820,000 in June, up 28.7 percent on the same time last year.

Having spoken to a mortgage adviser and starting the approval process in April, Hamilton couple Alexandria and William said as the market is so tough for first-home buyers, at first they felt "overwhelmed".

"As we continued along and got our pre-approval, it created light at the end of the tunnel and we found the process a lot easier than we had expected in the end," Alexandria said.

After two months' of extra saving to show "clean spending", a suggestion made to them by their mortgage adviser, the couple got finance approved on July 7.  Their first offer wasn't accepted, but their second offer of $747,000 on a 3-bedroom home in the Hamilton suburb of Dinsdale was.

For sale by negotiation, the house is on a 600-square-metre section and has a single garage.

"We put in one offer on a house and missed out... it was our second offer we put in that was accepted, which is the house we purchased," Alexandria explained.

Their joint deposit, estimated to be 12-13 percent of the purchase price (around $97,000) was mostly savings from KiwiSaver, to which they each contributed since starting work around 10 years ago.

It also included proceeds from selling one of their cars, and two months of hard saving.

"[We] had about $6000 in cash we'd saved the last two months to help our situation out, including selling one of our cars," Alexandria added.

The couple, who are due to settle on their first home at the end of August, said having a good mortgage advisor (and a proactive real estate agent) was a huge help, suggesting other first-home buyers do their research to find one who has "their best interests at heart". 

"[The real estate agent] took us out on Sundays to view houses, kept in constant contact [and] emailed details of properties we viewed and liked so we could research and liaise with all parties involved, including our solicitor," Alexandria added.

Real Estate Institute of New Zealand (REINZ) data shows the median sale price for properties in Hamilton city was $770,000 in June, up 17.4 percent year-on-year.  

In Dinsdale, median selling prices were slightly lower at $749,500, but the year-on-year increase was higher, at 23.9 percent.

Over the last six months, over half (57.9 percent) of the 1844 properties sold in Hamilton city were for less than $800,000.

REINZ chief executive Jen Baird confirmed over June, 310 houses sold in Hamilton city: 73 percent by negotiation and 27 percent by auction.

Auction sales are on the rise throughout the country, Baird said, reflecting up to 27 percent of all property sales in June.