The housing market has found its footing, with residential property values up for the third month in a row.
Despite the difficult economic conditions, our biggest bank, ANZ, has reported a 3 percent rise in home lending and a $2 billion profit.
It's first-home buyers who've helped keep the market ticking.
Auckland homeowner Stephen Raju's dog Toby is just as excited as he is about their new home.
"Feels great to be a homeowner, to be honest," Raju said.
He and his partner moved in last month, and are proud first-home buyers.
"We had the KiwiSaver and we qualified for first home through Kainga Ora," Raju said. "So got in at the right time I'd say."
They sure did, because the property downturn is turning around.
The latest QV House Price Index shows residential property values have increased for the third month in a row.
"First-home buyers have been the most active group over the last 12 to 18 months, [they've] really carried the team, if I can use that expression," QV operations manager James Wilson said.
"We're now seeing though, that mindset shift towards a more confident position, and that's enticing in more investors."
"There was an opportunity for first-home buyers to get in at a lower price than they would have been looking at 12 months ago," Massey Business School associate professor Claire Matthews said.
"Certainly they've taken that opportunity, and therefore it means that for banks, they've had an outlet for lending," she added.
Last week BNZ posted a $1.5b profit, and our largest bank, ANZ, has reported $2.26b.
ANZ said home lending was up 3 percent for the year, despite the difficult conditions, but it's now preparing for a difficult year ahead.
"Inflation is expected to remain above the Reserve Bank's target range, interest rates will likely be higher for longer and unemployment is expected to rise," ANZ Bank NZ CEO Antonia Watson said.
ANZ said the majority of its home loan customers have now moved onto higher interest rates.
The bank has reached out to over 290,000 of them identified as most at risk of financial stress, to offer support. It's also increased the amount put aside for potential bad debts by $144m.
"It's unlikely to have a significant impact on their profits," Matthew said.
Because Kiwis are still sold on the dream of owning a home.