More Southlanders using KiwiSaver to buy their first home
Southlanders using KiwiSaver to buy their first home has increased by 50 per cent in less than a year.
Data shows in the 2014-15 financial year a total of 449 KiwiSaver members used their accounts to make a withdrawal to buy their first home.
That figure has jumped to 654 between July 1, 2015, and April 30.
In the 2014-15 year a total of $6.4 million was withdrawn by Southlanders, which has increased to $11.4 million between July, 2015, and April.
hoamz director Stephen Hebbend said he had noticed a "huge uptake" in people using KiwiSaver to buy homes in Invercargill.
"Certainly it's been the case," he said.
"It's not just north Invercargill. It's north and south. It's across the board really."
Buyers were particularly keen on homes priced under $250,000, he said.
Pride Real Estate and Property Management chief executive Avinash Varghese said the market was generally picking up.
"People are just becoming aware of how cheap houses actually are."
Ray White business manager John Murphy said he had also noticed an increase in first-time buyers using KiwiSaver.
"April was just a huge month. Trying to find that home for the first home buyer is pretty thin on the ground. All suburbs in Invercargill are very popular at the moment."
The "halo effect" from Auckland and the North Island, where house prices were continuing to rise, was also having an impact, Murphy said.
Murphy said low interest rates were also making homes more affordable for the first-time buyer.
He said he expected the trend to continue.
"There's no reason why it should stop unless interest rates rise or there's some stipulations on KiwiSaver."
Data from Realestate.co.nz showed the mean asking price for a home for sale in Southland was $262,486.
The number is the second-lowest in New Zealand, behind the West Coast at $246,477.
The New Zealand average was $570,971.
The mean asking price for a home for sale in the Central Otago/Lakes region was $819,778.
By the numbers: KiwiSaver and first-time home buyers in Southland
2013-2014 financial year
352 - KiwiSaver members who made a first home withdrawal
$3,863,676 - total value of withdrawals
2014-2015 financial year
449 - KiwiSaver members who made first home withdrawal
$6,375,888 - total value of withdrawals
27.5 per cent - increase in KiwiSaver members who made first home withdrawal from 2013-2014 financial year
65 per cent - increase in total value of withdrawals
2015-2016 financial year so far (July 1, 2015 to April 30, 2016)
654 - KiwiSaver members who made first home withdrawal
$11,438,229 - total value of withdrawals
45.6 per cent - increase in KiwiSaver members who made first home withdrawal from 2013-2014 financial year
79.4 per cent - increase in total value of withdrawals