An increasing number of first-home buyers in Whanganui are getting offers accepted compared with several months ago when they were regularly beaten to houses by investors.
A range of professionals working in the city's real estate industry agreed almost all property investors retreated from the local housing market in the period following the Government's housing policies announced in March.
Among a suite of policy changes targeting the housing market, the Government removed interest deductions for residential investment property bought after March 27.
"Three months ago it was carnage," Whanganui lawyer Rob Moore, who helps first-home buyers with their offers, said.
"You put an offer on a property and there were 15 other people offering. Half of them are investors who are offering $50,000 or $60,000 over the purchase price."
It wasn't always the price where first-home buyers were losing out, more the conditions on their offers.
"You'd have a first-home buyer that says 'look I'm going to offer $500,000 for this place but I need to get a registered valuation'.
• Read more: A first-home buyer's guide to Whanganui
"Then an investor says 'look I'm going to offer $485,000' but it's unconditional."
Then an agent, who Moore pointed out would be doing their due diligence, goes back to the investor and asks if they can match the $500,000 offer.
"And so the first-home buyer misses out, even though they've actually put the best offer in to start with."
Moore said that since the Government's tax changes were announced "all the investors are gone".
One Roof and Valocity figures out this week were in line with what real estate watchers had noticed in Whanganui.
Nationally, first-home buyers now made up 25 per cent of the buyer market, whereas this time last year that figure was 18 per cent.
Investors' share of new mortgages dropped to 19 per cent.
Whanganui mortgage adviser Aaron Stampa said his clients were finding the market more manageable.
He was seeing properties not selling and coming back asking for a reduced price.
"They've obviously had no offers or no bites. They've reduced their price. That tells me straight away the market is changing.
"Three or four months ago that wouldn't have been the case."
There were still some properties getting multiple offers and Stampa said he knew of a Springvale property that had 11 offers on it just this week.
Property Brokers sales consultant Vicky Todd said before the Government's housing changes they were seeing up to 60 groups coming through open homes.
She cited one house where five Auckland couples drove down to Whanganui just to see the open home.
Now the number of groups coming through open homes is half what it was.
There was not a complete exodus of investors with Bayleys real estate agent Lyn Wickham saying she had noticed one or two investors starting to show interest again.
"They're people from out of the area because Whanganui's still been one of the cheaper places to buy houses in New Zealand ... they are still getting a 4 per cent to 6 per cent return on investment for their money."