Twenty per cent of properties nationwide have been sold to first-home buyers since 2012, data from PropertyIQ shows.
The property information provider said it counted first-home buyer transactions as those where none of the new owners had owned a property in New Zealand previously, and where a mortgage was involved.
It found the highest proportion of sales to first home buyers was in West Auckland at 29%, closely followed by Porirua and Hutt City. South Auckland, Upper Hutt and Wellington City reported 24% and North Shore, Hamilton, Rotorua, New Plymouth, Wanganui and Dunedin were all between 20% and 22%.
Tauranga and Christchurch had considerably lower proportions of first-time buyers, at 16% and 17% respectively.
Areas that are popular with retirees or as holiday home destinations were also not favourites of first-home buyers. In Coromandel, only 6% of sales went to first-time buyers.
In Auckland, the suburbs with the highest percentage of first-home buyers were in parts of North Shore, in suburbs such as Birkdale, Beach Haven and Bayview, then through Sunnyvale and Kelston in the west. These suburbs all recorded 35% to 39% of sales to first-home buyers.
Others with more than 30% first-home buyers were Glenfield, Glen Eden, Glendene, Massey, Avondale, Mangere East and Clendon Park.
PropertyIQ said many of the areas with a higher percentage of first-home buyers were also the same areas that had increased the most in value over the past year.
Its report said how much LVR restrictions changed the market in areas popular with first-home buyers was yet to be seen. “There are several ways that first-home buyers are reacting to the changes. Some are choosing to stay out of the market for now and save more for a deposit, others are finding money from elsewhere, for example from parents, and others are resetting their expectations lower so don't need as much for a deposit. Over the coming weeks and months, we will be measuring exactly what does happen to the number of first-home buyers and whether investors become the perhaps unintended beneficiaries of this new policy. Furthermore we can do this for every transaction rather than relying on a survey of only a small number of buyers.”
October and November had recorded a slight increase in first-home buyer activity, probably because those with existing preapprovals were purchasing property before it was too late.