Multi-millionaires are keeping their wallets in their pockets for now, leading to a drop in prices in some of Auckland's most exclusive suburbs.
House prices in Auckland's eastern suburbs have taken a sharp dive as more first-home buyers join the neighbourhood alongside the multi-millionaires.
And while the trend is partly due to a fall in the number of luxury homes being sold, data to be released this week is expected to confirm that the Auckland market is on the downhill slide.
Beachside suburbs Mission Bay, Kohimarama and St Heliers as well as super-rich playgrounds Remuera and Parnell are among those where values have fallen by as much as $200,000 in a year.
Mission Bay's median sales price fell 13.1 per cent, from $1.59m to $1.38m for the 12 months ending in June, new data provided to the Herald by the Real Estate Institute showed. Kohimarama also fell by 13.1 per cent, from $1.67m to $1.45m.
St Heliers fell from $1.68m to $1.5m, Remuera fell from $1.85m to $1.67m, and Meadowbank fell from $1.25m to $1.18m.
REI chief executive Bindi Norwell said the drop in median sales prices was due to fewer sales of luxury properties, particularly those above $3 million.
At the same time, there were more sales of apartments and modestly-priced homes to investors and first-home buyers, which had the effect of dragging the overall median sales prices down.
"With lower price points into some of these more expensive parts of Auckland, the current market provides a real opportunity for buyers who previously wouldn't have been able to afford to buy in these suburbs," Norwell said.
The drop in eastern suburbs' prices comes in contrast to the rest of Auckland where city-wide median sales prices remained dead flat over the same period at $850,000.
Some eastern suburbs also bucked the trend with prices in Orakei jumping 18.9 per cent and Stonefields prices rising 1.2 per cent.
Most eastern suburbs homes were also still selling for higher prices than they did three years ago, according to the REI data.
However, the broader trend of falling prices in the eastern suburbs comes as some property pundits expect the latest round of housing data due to be released this week to show Auckland property prices have now officially begun to slide.
Among the forces pushing prices down was a dramatic drop in the number of expensive Auckland homes selling.
REI data released last week showed 722 fewer Auckland homes sold for $1m or more in the past year - a drop of 17.3 per cent.
There were also 55 fewer homes selling for $3m or more in Auckland over the past year, a 26.8 per cent decline.
Ray White Remuera salesman Steen Nielsen said there was still strong interest for $3m-plus homes, but that buyers could take their time choosing now they were no longer under pressure from skyrocketing prices.
His firm sold an apartment for close to $5m last month along with a number of other properties worth more than $3m, including one that attracted interest from 70 buyer groups.
Another refurbished property at 3/174 Upland Rd in Remuera sold for $2.19m, which was 1.51 times higher than its council valuation at $1.45m.
On the other hand, another four-bedroom mansion at 732D Remuera Rd, featuring its own sauna, appeared to sell for a steal at $2.76m - close to half the value of its $5m CV.
However, Nielsen said the home was a plasterclad build from the 1990s.
Plasterclad homes were typically deemed high risk by lawyers and banks due to the building type having been the cause of leaky building issues in New Zealand in the past.
The Remuera Rd home also came on a 1700sq m block of bushland that prompted council to put a $4m value on the land alone. However, the land was steep and not easily subdivided or developed.
Nielsen said the property highlighted how his team was still getting "very good prices" on good properties.
"But properties where there is risk, where there are limitations, they are hard to move in today's market," he said.
And - while luxury home buyers might be more cautious - at the other end of the market, Remuera was still running hot with investors.
Data by analysts OneRoof-Valocity, showed Remuera was investors' second most popular Auckland suburb during the first six months of this year as they bought 124 properties in the suburb.
This was only behind Auckland Central and its many apartments popular with international students where investors bought 183 properties.
Valocity director of valuation James Wilson said investors liked Remuera and its range of cheaper to mid-priced housing because it was easy to rent out to families keen on living in the suburb and gaining access to its elite public schools.