Auckland first-home buyers Chelsea and David Yandell ended up paying more for their Onehunga place than they initially expected when they started out as house-hunters.

Now, they have a three-decade mortgage. "We realised that paying $350,000 in Auckland, you'd get something that was pretty crappy," recalls Chelsea of the buying experience. So they changed their expectations and borrowed more.

"The house we bought has been finished to a high standard. It's perfect. When we were looking, we realised we'd have to spend more. We had a look around for a few months and we had our hearts set on a couple of houses. But the places we were looking at would not have gone up in value. It wasn't what we wanted.

"House prices are definitely too high and wages are too low for first-home buyers. We'll be 55 by the time we pay off the 30-year mortgage. But we didn't want to keep renting. That's dead money. ... We are now more careful with our money and set goals. If we pay a certain amount off the mortgage, we can get new blinds. We're with KiwiSaver so we know in retirement, we will have something more than the house."