‘Good deals’ on first homes

Enjoying their new lives in Invercargill are Sam Rose, Kylee Roets and baby Noah, 8 months. PHOTO...
Enjoying their new lives in Invercargill are Sam Rose, Kylee Roets and baby Noah, 8 months. PHOTO: TONI MCDONALD
First-home buyers are getting more bang for their buck in the current market, and Invercargill is leading the charge.

Core Logic property economist Kelvin Davidson said across all main urban centres, the percentage of first-home buyers, out of all buyers, had risen.

In Invercargill, 31% of all buyers were first-home buyers in the first three months of the year, which was 8% above the long-term average for the city.

In the first quarter of this year, first-home buyers in Rotorua represented 32% of all buyers, while in Palmerston North and Invercargill first-home buyers both comprised 31% of all buyers.

"These figures exceed Rotorua and Invercargill’s long-term averages by 9% and 8%, respectively.

"First-home buyers are getting good deals in the current conditions."

The typical first-home buyer did not always enter at the bottom of the market and work their way up.

Mr Davidson expected above-average first-home buyer activity would continue this year and possibly into 2025.

First-home buyers Sam Rose and Kylee Roets were determined they would own their own home rather than pay someone else’s mortgage through rent.

Ms Roets, who was raised in Invercargill and Mr Rose moved from Auckland to start a new life after being told by their bank to come back in 30 years when they inquired about borrowing for a house.

"We were initially living with my parents, and we decided that we wanted to buy a house. We didn’t want to go into renting ... when we could be paying our own mortgage."

A work transfer to Invercargill substantially changed their circumstances and made their dream possible.

"I’d always told Sam, I was moving back to the South Island."

Two months later the couple arrived in the city.

Their bank’s adamant "never" quickly changed to a resounding "yes" after calculations for an Invercargill property.

Within weeks of arriving they had bought their first home with a pre-approved mortgage.

The couple said their dream had been made possible by accessing their KiwiSaver as well as a first-home buyers’ grant to put together "a pretty decent deposit".

Mr Rose expected the equivalent $200,000 three-bedroom home on a 500sqm section in Invercargill would cost about $900,000 in Auckland.

"We’re four minutes from anywhere in town. In Auckland, for something like that, you’d easily be looking at an hour and a-half drive from the city.

"It’s our home and no matter what we paid for it, we didn’t have to do anything to it to be able to live in it and for something like that in Auckland, we pretty much have to rip it to its bones before we can live in it."

The couple recommended to those considering owning their first home to take their time and do the homework.

"It’s going to be the biggest purchase of your life."

Property Brokers Invercargill agent Tim Frampton said even with interest rates where they were, it was a great time to buy a house.

"There’s a lot of houses on the market, more than we’ve seen before ..."

There were also more houses under the $400,000 price bracket coming on the market and good activity in open homes.

"There seems to be a lot of first-home buyers out there."

He believed the Southland first-home buyer market was being driven by the rental market and the investor market was slow.

By Toni McDonald