Auckland property: Can't afford a house? Buy a boat

By Kristin Edge -
20 comments
Couple see living on board only way to get on Auckland property ladder.
Reuben Mackey and  Jade Pumford had no DIY experience but received plenty of advice during the renovation project.
Reuben Mackey and Jade Pumford had no DIY experience but received plenty of advice during the renovation project.

Engaged couple Jade Pumford and Reuben Mackey are about to become boat people - not as refugees, but to get into the Auckland housing market.

They want to buy a home but say the Auckland market is just "so damn crazy" and question why they should pay rent to finance someone else's retirement fund.

So Pumford, 31, originally from Liverpool in England, and Mackey, who was raised in Whangarei, are ditching their landlubber lifestyle on Auckland's North Shore and going to live at sea - well, moored on the water in a boat at Westpark Marina at Hobsonville.

"We can halve our rent cost each year by moving on to the boat and that way a house deposit is not so out of reach," Pumford said.

The landlord's decision to raise their rent to $440 a week prompted them to start looking for a new home early this year.

Mackey, 32, a monitoring response engineer for Spark, started searching the internet and came across a boat moored in Whangarei Harbour and made the journey north to check it out.

A "boatie" friend recommended a launch if they were preparing to live aboard.

So when Mackey clapped eyes on Dorina he knew he had found his boat and they paid $5000 for it.

"When I saw it I saw the potential.

"It was a great opportunity."

After getting the tick of approval from Pumford, a beautician with her own business, they launched into preparing the 10.4-metre long Dorina to become their home.

For the past eight weekends the couple have travelled to Riverside Marina where the boat has been on the hard during the renovation project.

They did the calculations and it was much cheaper to have the boat out of the water in Whangarei compared with costly Auckland boat yards.

They have sanded and sanded and sanded some more, before painting on antifoul.

Neither of them had any DIY skills and didn't know where to start.

But the boating community at the Riverside Marina rallied and gave the young couple advice, which they appreciated very much.

Dorina was built in 1927 and had significant work done in 1990.

The interior and the wiring is fine but already they have plans for developing the "outdoor living area" at the rear.

Neither of them have any seafaring experience and laugh at the question.

But they are both looking forward to stepping on deck and celebrating their new abode.

"It's been a journey so far and it means we can achieve our dream," Pumford said.

"It allows us to save up for our imminent wedding and invest in our future."

Dorina was transported to Auckland on the back of a truck yesterday.

The couple hope to move in within the next two weeks.

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