In a sign of Auckland's heated housing market, a ballot is being run to sell five $450,000 one-bedroom planned Auckland apartments after unprecedented demand prompted the developer to decide on the unusual system.

Helen O'Sullivan, chief executive of developers Ockham Residential, said demand for such low-price places was so high that the best system was a ballot or application system, closing on Wednesday.

But don't bother applying for one of the 46sq m places with balconies and many appliances if you don't comply with the Axis Series qualification system, aimed to provide low-priced places help first-home buyers.

Applicants must fulfil strict criteria to get access to the process, O'Sullivan said.


"The owners must be New Zealand permanent residents or citizens; cannot put the home in the name of a family trust, company or nominee; must have a household income no higher than $120,000 gross per annum at the time of purchase and will agree to live in the house for a minimum of two years," Ockham's website on the criteria says.

The units are planned in the five-block, 120-unit Bernoulli Gardens at Hobsonville Point, a project arranged around a communal garden where O'Sullivan said Ockham referred to ''character flats'' rather than apartments.

"The ballot or approval system enables buyers to get their information together, so it gives them time. It's fairer than first-come, first-served," she said.

Ockham says most of the Hobsonville Point places sell off the plans, including the Axis Series homes.

The $450,000 places come with Smeg appliances, stone benchtops, a heat pump and smoke alarms.