Nine years after taking on a job cleaning other people's houses, Chinese migrant Anna Feng is a proud owner of two of her own.
Feng, 55, migrated from China with her husband and children in 2008. Her cleaner's wage has enabled her to purchase two Auckland properties, one of which she rents out.
She said she firmly believed it was more than realistic to buy a house in Auckland, if people worked hard and made day-to-day sacrifices.
"Of course, it's possible to buy a house in Auckland. I don't quite understand people who complain about Auckland house prices. If you work hard and save money, you will get there. But people need to realise that you can't have it both ways, you can't want a house but not give up some everyday luxuries."
Feng credits many "money saving" methods for allowing her to start purchasing property.
"There are lots of ways I have been saving money since I got here. For instance, I only wear second-hand clothing, and we only use LED lights at our house. People would be shocked to find out how much money and energy it saves."
She also has her own vegetable garden, which means she spends less money on groceries, and sells second-hand trinkets at flea markets in the weekend for extra cash.
"It's all about being smart with money, and always thinking about your goal. Houses here are still so much cheaper than China, and it's important for me to have my own house, especially for my family. It's been tough at times but it's worth it."
Feng and her husband made the decision to move to New Zealand to give their children a better life and more opportunities. Her children have now graduated from Auckland University.
The couple bought their first home, a two-bedroom unit in Mt Roskill for $330,000 in 2010. They then purchased a three-bedroom home in New Lynn last year for $650,000.
They live in the New Lynn home and rent out the Mt Roskill home for about $400 a week.
Her mother, Mei Xiang, said she was very proud of her daughter and all she's accomplished.
"We had a hard life when Anna was growing up. Seeing her prosper now and do well makes me very happy."
Dr Shanjiang Yu, a senior lecturer in Chinese studies at the Auckland University of Technology, owning a house was an important part of Chinese culture.
"They feel without a house they don't have family, or can't support a family. With a house, they can place roots down and their family can prosper.
"I'm not surprised to hear Ms Feng's story, as a lot of Chinese immigrants in particular, who move to a foreign country, feel like they need to work even harder because they are foreigners," said Dr Yu.