Auckland's property market has never been so exciting to watch. Mix in the ever-changing mortgage landscape with fixed-rate deals from the banks, and the Government's highly ambitious plan to use hectares of hitherto forgotten Crown land for housing in Auckland, and there's plenty to think about.

Will the infrastructure be up to the job of meeting the needs of those living in these new housing developments outlined by Housing Minister Nick Smith? And, more importantly, when will people be able to move into these homes? So many questions followed Smith's post-Budget announcement.

Is it all pie in the sky, or a pie in the face of Labour? Business writer David Maida attempts to unravel it all in his special report.

Listen to Steve Hart's podcast below:

One thing's for sure, Auckland's property prices are unstoppable. Rising at around 18 per cent a year there is no better investment for those with the cash to spend. In this issue we explore the drivers keeping property prices up and Dr Susan Flint-Hartle, of Massey University's School of Economics and Finance, explains why we are not in a housing bubble - it's just business as usual.


One way of getting on the property ladder is to buy a leasehold property. Under this model, the home owner doesn't buy the land, but instead pays ground rent. On page 8 we look at the pros and cons of such arrangements.

First-home buyers are struggling in the Auckland market for obvious reasons. Housing affordability is still very low, and has risen mainly because of lower fixed term interest rates.

Those still looking for their first step on the housing ladder should take heart from Mae Hensman's story. She started out with a one-bedroom unit and used its capital gain to get the house she wanted. The trick, it seems, is to buy what one can afford and grow from there.

And if you think you are past it when it comes to getting a mortgage, well it seems you are (almost) never too old for a bank to lend you money for real estate. Finance writer Diana Clement looks at how the over 50s can negotiate the property market.

And with about 1000 migrants arriving in the country every week, Diana also looks at the impact this is having on Auckland house prices. You may be surprised at what she has discovered.

Reserve Bank Governor Graeme Wheeler's changes to the loan to value ratio (LVR) caused a ripple across the real estate market when it was announced.

Landlords appeared to raise a casual eyebrow at the change, realising quickly that it won't bother many of them (given the equity their properties hold).

What does concern them though is the thought of a Warrant of Fitness for rentals. In short, they don't like the idea one bit - the NZ Property Investors' Federation says property WoFs are not needed and risk reducing rental supply.