The property market is now in slowdown mode, especially in Auckland and most of the other main centres, while a few of the smaller areas are helping keep the national stats up.

But who has contributed most significantly to the slowdown? According to our (CoreLogic) buyer classification series, it's mostly investors needing a mortgage. That's not to say owner-occupiers haven't also pulled (or in reality, been pushed) back, just not as much as prospective investors.

This is especially evident in Auckland where only 28 per cent of sales in June went to owners of multiple properties with mortgages. Just a year ago they accounted for 33 per cent of all sales.

No other group has dropped this much, with first home buyers even improving their share to over 22 per cent in June, after appearing less active at only 20 per cent of sales during the first quarter of 2017.


Outside Auckland we see a similar trend, with owners of multiple properties with a mortgage dropping from buying 27 per cent of all properties a year ago to 23 per cent last month.

In context, this is less than 2 per cent more than first home buyers. In Hamilton the drop is even more significant; from 43 per cent to 26 per cent.

So with the promise of capital growth all but gone and yields (profit from rental income) low, this drop could be voluntary as well as market-enforced (due to tightened lending restrictions, both from RBNZ and the banks, and slightly higher interest rates).

Sales, or more accurately mortgages, have dropped across the board. However, first home buyers, as they tend to do, seem to be finding a way into the market.

Hot spots such as Porirua and Hutt Valley are their favourite, with one in three sales going to this group - the largest share by 8 per cent when you split the multiple property owners group out to those buying with cash vs a mortgage.

Based on all this behaviour, where is the market headed, given the persistent slow down? Well, the short answer is further restraint.

Our measure of market demand continues to trend downwards, especially in Auckland where sales volumes are already 32 per cent below the same time last year.

This suggests the current subdued sales volumes situation will continue to be weak for the rest of winter at least.

It's not just Auckland either. Hamilton is 26 per cent down, although it looks to have bottomed out, as does Tauranga. Wellington is also showing a real and consistent decline - 19 per cent down year-on-year.

Dunedin is the only main centre that looks to be going through a typical winter cycle with volumes similar to the same time last year.

Looking slightly longer term though, there are many strong pressures likely to keep property prices up.

So unless there's a radical election result or international shock, high net migration and low interest rates will keep the demand pipe full, while the supply side of the equation remains unbalanced and difficult to improve.