While thousands of Aucklanders despair at their chances of owning a house, a determined 22-year-old student is proof it can be done.
University of Auckland under-graduate Brandon Lipman has just become a property investor and hopes to add a second house to his portfolio within 12 months.
"It's not going to stop at one. There will be another purchase - it's just a matter of when."
He has always dreamed of being a homeowner. And on April 29 - his birthday - he bought a $300,000 Hamilton rental property after scraping together $45,000 through hard work and financial compromise.
The keen basketball player saved the money while studying towards a commerce and science degree, working from 9pm to 5am each night at Countdown supermarket during his first year.
He slotted in studies by listening to recorded lectures in his own time - some at double speed for slow-speaking professors - and catching sleep whenever he could while living a modest life rent-free at his parents' home.
Mr Lipman became interested in the property market as a teenager, watching his parents doing up and selling homes.
"I just knew that was what I wanted to do and that was my goal."
He originally aimed to buy a house in Avondale with a 5 per cent deposit but those plans were torpedoed by sky-rocketing Auckland house prices, which hit a median of $720,000 in April - up nearly 18 per cent in the past year alone.
So like many other Aucklanders forced to look outside the city, Mr Lipman decided to invest in the nearest main centre, buying a three-bedroom 1970s "do-up" in Margaret Place, Deanwell. The 100sq m property has a $260,000 CV and he hopes to eventually modernise it to add value. The $300 weekly rent is more than enough to cover his interest-only mortgage repayments, rates and insurance.
He is now working full-time for BNZ while completing his final year of studies part-time and has just moved into his first flat while saving for his next deposit.
Mr Lipman said he had worked hard and made sacrifices to achieve his goal, but still managed to enjoy a social life, despite his mates questioning some of his choices.
"They'd ask 'why'. It's not conventional but being a homeowner is something I always wanted.
"I'm not complaining now. The hard work does pay off. It's just a matter of working out how much you can give."
He was adamant the nondescript one-storey brick house he now owns would not be his last, and echoed sentiments expressed by Barfoot & Thompson director Peter Thompson that today's first-home buyers needed to make sacrifices.
"Not many people as young as I am get into the property market, and in its current state it certainly looks more and more difficult.
"It's just about never living more lavishly than you can afford.
"You do need to make some financial compromises."