First-home buyers may be edging back into the market but are still bearing the brunt of the Reserve Bank’s loan-to-value restrictions, a new survey shows.
BNZ chief economist Tony Alexander said the results of the first BNZ/REINZ survey of real estate agents for the year would be released next week.
But he said preliminary analysis of the results showed that things were improving after the shock of the rules introduced last October.
In December, agents estimated that 15.3% of their sales were to first-home buyers, down from 23.3% in May. In January, that had lifted slightly to 16.2%. “Perhaps there is a slight recovery happening in first-home buyer activity. We shall monitor this.”
Agents were asked how many sales were to investors. In January, they estimated that 19.4% were to landlords, both based in New Zealand and overseas.
That is comparable to the 19.1% in May last year and the 18.5% last March. “Thus we have some further evidence that the hit to activity as a result of the loan-to-value rules being introduced from October 1 is being taken by first-home buyers and not investors.”
He said a net 20.5% of agents were seeing more investors in the market, while a net 39.7% were seeing fewer first-home buyers. A ne 0% would indicate the agents were evenly split.
Alexander said that was likely to cause New Zealand’s home ownership rate to decline. The recent Census results showed an ownership rate of 64.8% in March, compared to 66.9% in the 2006 census.
“The Reserve Bank’s credit controls are working to reduce New Zealand’s home ownership rate.”