Alanah Eriksen

Alanah Eriksen is the New Zealand Herald's property reporter, and assistant chief reporter.

City affordable, if you start small

Aucklanders feel first-home market too expensive but expert says it's fine if you approach it as a ladder

Shannon Felton and Estelle, 3, have bought in Tauranga. Photo / Alan Gibson
Shannon Felton and Estelle, 3, have bought in Tauranga. Photo / Alan Gibson

More than half of Aucklanders think first-time home buyers should turn their back on the city to get on the property ladder, a Herald-DigiPoll survey shows.

But real estate experts say young Kiwis should not give up on the region yet - just be prepared to live a bit farther out of town.

The survey of almost 250 Aucklanders revealed 54.3 per cent believed new buyers should move elsewhere. Thirty-five per cent of respondents said they should stay.

Alistair Helm, of Properazzi.co.nz, said new buyers should realise they needed to start small.

"It's easy to say, 'Well, they have to turn their back on Auckland.' But they've got to work. Unfortunately most employment opportunities are in the major cities.

"It's wrong to think that Auckland has become unaffordable. The issue is not new ... people always want to live in the nicer suburbs, but when you start on the property ladder, you start somewhere small and it's not always in the best suburb.

It's a ladder.

"You look back on your first house and you think, 'How the hell did I live in such a small, cramped house?' But it was four walls and you called it a home."

The Herald revealed yesterday that Auckland has 11 suburbs with an average house value of $1 million or more.

The median house price in Auckland is $505,500 - more than six times the average wage in the city of $75,533.

A house priced over the $1 million mark would be at least 13 times the average wage.

"There are many parts of Auckland that don't cost a million dollars. You can get property for $400,000 or $300,000, it may just be a couple of bus rides from the city," Mr Helm said.

However, Auckland prices are too much for some. Shannon Felton, of Tauranga, recently bought her first home, which she shares with 3-year-old daughter Estelle and a flatmate.

She paid $266,000 for the 103sq m, one-storey home in Chester St in the suburb of Judea. Her mortgage repayments are less than she was paying in rent earlier this year for a home in Papamoa.

She said she would not consider moving to Auckland "unless I got offered a job that offered to pay me three times what I get now".

On realestate.co.nz, which lists more than 80,000 houses for sale, there are just four stand-alone homes in Auckland City in the same price range. They are all on leasedland.

There are hundreds in Manukau, Papakura and Franklin and a handful in Waitakere and Rodney.

A three-bedroom weatherboard home in Linda Place in Otara, which is 18km from the city centre, is being marketed as a rental investment and is advertised at $259,000.

A two-bedroom brick-and-tile house in Tennessee Ave in Mangere - almost 20km from the city - is being advertised at $269,000.

- NZ Herald

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