13 Aug 2014

Drop in sales of most affordable homes

9:13 am on 13 August 2014

Sales of the most affordable homes are falling and a community housing group says the market is pushing more desperate families to ask for help.

Real Estate Institute (REINZ) figures show sales of homes priced at $400,000 or less fell by 21.8 percent in the year to July - with 3561 sales in July last year and 2786 last month.

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Photo: RNZ / Diego Opatowski

The institute says this could indicate rules introduced by the Reserve Bank in October last year to restrict the number of low-deposit mortgages granted by banks are continuing to bite.

The director of Community Housing Aotearoa, Scott Figenshow, said he was seeing an increasing number of families desperate for help because they can't afford to buy on the general market.

REINZ chief executive Helen O'Sullivan said the restrictions are not just affecting first time home-buyers, but are having an impact on those trying to sell to a first-home buyer in order to move somewhere else.

The institute's July figures also show fall in house prices, and a drop in sales to 5893 houses sold, 13 percent down on the same month the year before. REINZ blames the winter season, recent rising interest rates, and the upcoming general election.