Napier and Wellington have experienced the biggest drops in first-home buyer numbers since the loan-to-value restrictions kicked in, Property IQ data shows.
Both have reported a drop of 5.4% in first-home buyers since the rules took hold.
In Wellington, first-timers had made up 26.8% of the market. After the rules were introduced, they made up 21.4%.
In Napier, their numbers fell from 21.2% to 15.8%.
The North Shore reported the biggest fall of the Auckland regions, of 2.2%.
Most major centres reported a drop but some areas started to see more first-home buyers after the rule change.
Upper Hutt had 4.3% more and Palmerston North 1.6% more, Property IQ said, supporting anecdotal evidence that buyers were starting to look further afield. “Waimakariri is also up while Christchurch and Selwyn are both down, and this could represent a similar trend.”
For most of the past two years, the percentage of sales to first-home buyers has been about 20%.
In December that dropped to 19% and in January it dropped further to 18%. Property IQ said the number of first-home buyers currently in the market was lower than any month since late 2010 or early 2011.
The percentage of first-home buyers purchasing property increased in September and October, which Property IQ said was probably a response to the signals that the rules were about to be introduced.
The numbers during that period were still down on the first-home buyer activity reported earlier in the year.