Buying an Auckland house in today's market is a struggle and is only getting harder but it's not impossible.

In early 2013 Liz Clayton, 50, and her husband, Talo Vailahi, 47, had no savings and no home, and had to borrow money from family to cover their rent.

Today, the couple have just sold their first property, which was bought in Matamata in 2015, and are left with just $200,000 owing on the two-bedroom Mt Wellington property they bought at auction in 2015.

While Clayton said they were "well over the age" of the millennials who'd shared their property journey in the Herald today - like them, they'd also started from scratch.


Her husband was a caretaker, earning around $33,000 a year. She had just recovered from a lengthy life-threatening illness and had few contacts in her line of work.

"I had to borrow $10,000 to pay rent while I was bedridden."

But Clayton said fortunately, when she got back on her feet, one contact gave her the opportunity to build back into contract work as a financial security consultant.

"I just went out and worked, and worked and worked," she said. "I gave up all luxuries, basically gave up everything."

Clayton, who has no formal university training, said in her first year back working she managed to bill close to $200,000.

While she acknowledged it was tough and could be a struggle she said it was not impossible.

She also acknowledged many would not be earning what she did straight out of university, or on their first job, but the financial consultant said there could be good money in certain industries, like the trades, where overtime and contract jobs led to a higher income.

But Clayton said it wasn't just about her income, but also about making some sacrifices.


She said the couple bought $1 bread loaves, packed lunches, forgot about holidays and "did nothing" for 18 months.

"It was hard, but it was worth it," she said. "I'm very single-minded and my husband was great."

Clayton said the reason she'd never bought a house before 2013 was because it simply wasn't a priority. Her husband, of almost 10 years, had spent his youth, having children.

"I spent all my money, went on holidays, had fun, bought a car."

She said it was getting sick that gave her a bit of a wake-up call and changed her focus on life.

Clayton said if she'd died while they were renting, her husband would have been left with nothing.


So they changed their priorities and began working and saving hard, and within a year managed to save a 20 per cent deposit for a four-bedroom Matamata property, which they bought in February 2015 for $330,000.

Just last week, they sold it for $410,000.

But Clayton said they didn't buy it to make money, but more so that they could use it to leverage a mortgage on an Auckland property - which they managed just three months later.

In May 2015, they bought at auction a two-bedroom Mt Wellington property for $640,000.

"What we got was horrid, horrid, horrid," she said. "But we've pulled it to pieces to rebuild."

As well as keeping up with mortgage repayments, which at its peak she said were around $1400 a fortnight - they've managed to build a new kitchen and are in the process of upgrading the rest of the home.


And while the Auckland couple were now looking at considerably lower repayments, with only $200,000 left owing on their Mt Wellington home, Clayton didn't anticipate any big celebratory spends in the future.

"We are probably eating a little bit better now, only doing Mad Butcher Specials," she said.

"But still our priority is to get this place paid off."