First-home buyers holding 'above-average share' of property purchases


First-home buyers are on a record-breaking streak, accounting for 27 percent of the market share.

CoreLogic's six-monthly First Home Buyer Report indicates first-home buyers were getting a foot on the property ladder, despite stretched affordability, high interest rates, and cost of living pressures.

CoreLogic chief property economist Kelvin Davidson said first-home buyers were sitting well above the long-term 21 percent average share of the market, though the total number of deals was relatively low.

"FHBs (first-home buyers) are proving relatively more successful in buying their first home than at any other time," Davidson said, with all six areas in the survey recording above-average shares of first-home buyer purchases.

Wider Wellington has held the strongest market share for FHBs with 33 percent of purchases in the year to date, which was 4 percent above the average range.

At the other end of the spectrum, first-home buyers in Tauranga held accounted for 21 percent of the purchases, which was 5 percent above average, with Auckland, Christchurch, and Dunedin also reporting a 5 percent higher than average share. Hamilton was 6 percent above for 2023.

Provincial markets show a similar trend with Invercargill holding the strongest market share for first-home buyers with 32 percent of purchases, a significant 10 percentage points higher than the long-term average.

Davidson said the typical first-home buyer often entered the market above the 'bottom rung', rather than starting from the bottom of the ladder.

"For example, $690,000 is lower than the median price paid across all buyers at $762,500, but it's significantly higher than the lower quartile across all buyers at $565,000," he said.

"It wouldn't be a surprise to see FHBs continue to hold onto an above-average share of property purchases in the next six to nine months."

However, he said a change of government could bring investors back into the market in larger numbers, though there were other market factors to consider.

"To be fair, low rental yields and high mortgage rates, hence high 'top ups' from other income sources, could prevent a strong return from property investors.

"But this FHB Report probably still marks a line in the sand, and FHBs may start to see some competing buyers returning."