CoreLogic report shows first-home buyers getting more bang for buck thanks to weak property prices

Kiwis looking to buy their first home are being advised now might be their best shot. 

It comes as CoreLogic's latest report shows first-home buyers are getting more bang for buck thanks to weaker property prices. 

But those looking to get on the property ladder are being warned the pendulum could soon swing in favour of another group. 

"I was eating out all the time... friends, drinks - usual things people do. But after that I decided to minimise my expenses a little bit, live cheap," Auckland homeowner Mathew Simupande said, telling Newshub of how he saved up to buy his place.  

New data from CoreLogic shows he's not the only one making the most of a buyer's market. 

First-home buyers made up 26 percent of purchases in the first quarter of this year - well above the long-term average of 21 percent. 

They're also getting better bang for buck. The median price they're paying right now is about $695,000 - down from $715,000 last year. 

"I think less competition from other buyer groups is definitely helping out and simply lower house prices," CoreLogic property economist Kelvin Davidson said. 

But the property pendulum could soon swing in favour of investors. 

Given 80 percent interest deductions are back, the deposit requirement for investors purchasing existing properties is expected to drop from 35 percent down to 30 in July. 

Also, that month, the bright-line test loosens - meaning investors will only pay tax on capital gains if the property's sold within two years. Currently, it's up to 10 years. 

"The big hurdle for investors is simply high mortgage rates. The rental returns are not covering those mortgage costs," Davidson said. 

But relief came from ASB on Wednesday, with the bank dropping some of its fixed home lending rates. That's despite the official cash rate (OCR) not moving. 

"Fixed rates are driven by a set of other factors besides the OCR - the wholesale money market, the economic landscape, but also how we price our deposit products," ASB products general manager David Jackson said. 

Swift Mortgages negotiated a 6.8 percent interest rate for Simupande. 

"I am able to manage it OK, believe it or not but, of course, if interest rates go down then... that would help tremendously as well," he said. 

But that's not expected to happen until next year. 

For now, at least, Simupande will be sitting back in the comfort of his own Auckland home.