Falling investor confidence has prompted a flight towards the safety of term deposits at the expense of property investment, according to the latest ASB Investor Confidence Survey.
"Before the financial crisis, term deposits languished well below rental property as the investment that offered best returns," said ASB's Jonathon Beale.
"However, over the past two years the two investment classes have had more mixed fortunes."
The survey found rental property remains equal with bank savings accounts at 14%, while 20% of respondents now view term deposits as providing the best return.
"Rental property remains at its lowest level since late 2002, indicating that investors may now be opting for more certainty in their investment choices," said Beale.
"Rental property has dropped from the dizzy heights of the boom, with perceptions of rental property as an investment class that offers best returns being more volatile over the past two years."
Beale also said changes to the tax laws on property and the generally flat market have an impact on investors' views of property as an investment.
Overall investor confidence was down four percentage points to a net 15% over the September 2010 quarter.
"Overall investor confidence has dropped, with a sharp dip of seven points in the month of September alone," said Beale.
"It is not surprising that our results show investor confidence failing back, with the triple hit of the Canterbury Earthquake, the Southland storm and the continued unraveling of South Canterbury Finance taking their toll."