Simon Collins is the Herald’s social issues reporter.

One in nine Kiwis brush off record prices and plan to buy a home in the next year, surveys find

One in every nine Kiwi adults plans to buy a house in the next year. Photo / Chris Loufte
One in every nine Kiwi adults plans to buy a house in the next year. Photo / Chris Loufte

New Zealanders are brushing off record house prices with one in every nine adults planning to buy a home in the next year, a new survey says.

The annual Nielsen survey says 38 per cent of buyers are looking for their first home - up slightly from 34 per cent last year despite skyrocketing prices.

Only 17 per cent are looking for investment properties, down from 19 per cent perhaps because of tighter Reserve Bank loan-to-value restrictions, and 39 per cent (down from 40 per cent) plan to sell their existing home and buy another one.

The survey does not include a regional breakdown, but it seems likely that first home buyers may be a bigger share of the buyers in regions outside Auckland where prices are still relatively affordable. On average, buyers expected to pay just $525,000 for a home - only half the average Auckland home value which passed $1 million last month.

Nielsen research director Tony Boyte said the data was based on two separate surveys.

The first, an ongoing online and face-to-face "consumer tracker" survey of 11,000 people nationally, was used to calculate how many New Zealanders planned to buy or sell homes in the next year.

It found that 387,000 people planned to buy a home - 11.3 per cent, or about one in nine, of all New Zealanders aged 20-plus.

Seventy per cent of these, or 8 per cent of all adults, planned to buy a "primary residence" for themselves, and 4 per cent of adults planned to sell a primary residence.

A third of the buyers in this survey, or 4 per cent of all adults, planned to buy an investment property, and 2 per cent of adults planned to sell an investment property.

The second survey was an online sample of just 1200 people who were actively involved in the real estate market. This was the group in which 38 per cent were first home buyers and only 17 per cent were buying investment properties.

This survey found that 82 per cent of buyers were looking online. They rated Trade Me Property most favourably, scoring it 4.1 out of 5, followed by realestate.co.nz (3.9).

Only 36 per cent searched property websites on their mobile phones, hardly changed from 35 per cent last year, and people using mobile real estate apps actually dropped from 17 per cent to 12 per cent.

"We are not seeing as much as we thought we'd see in mobile use, it's been quite stable," Boyte said.

"It's an opportunity to really make those apps easier to use, because smartphone penetration is growing quite substantially so we'd expect that to grow. Maybe there is room to improve the functionality in some way."

This survey also found that 12 per cent of people in the property market expect to change their mortgage provider in the next year.

- NZ Herald

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