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Real estate agents, mortgage brokers and figures from Quotable Value New Zealand all tell the same story - there are fewer first-home buyers in the market in Dunedin.
From October 1 last year, the Reserve Bank directed banks to restrict lending to buyers with less than a 20% deposit.
Real Estate Institute of New Zealand Otago spokeswoman Liz Nidd said all of the buyers who had pre-approved loans before the changes had now either bought properties or their finance had lapsed.
''Yes, there are less first-home buyers in the market and we have seen that consistent downward trend ... I don't think we are necessarily going to trend down any further.''
Quotable Value released data last week that showed a rise in the percentage of first-home buyers in the overall market in October and November before a sharp drop in December and January.
In Dunedin, the percentage of first-home buyers was estimated to have dropped to 19.3% of the market from 21.4% before the lending changes although the market over that period was considered ''volatile'' by Quotable Value.
Ms Nidd said there were still options for people with less than a 20% deposit, including Welcome Home Loans that only required 10%.
Banks still had a small number of low-deposit loans they could offer and people could draw money from KiwiSaver accounts for a house deposit.
''Don't just throw your hands in the air and give up hope.''
Mortgage Link Otago director Glenda French had noticed the drop in first-home buyers and others who had ''missed out'' on finance because they did not meet the rules.
She said those buyers who were in a good financial position still had options with the main banks or non-bank lenders, some of which were offering two-tier loans that amounted to 100% finance.