A millionaire 21-year-old with 11 properties across the country has come under fire for borrowing money from his parents, but he says he could have done the same without it.

Jonathan Brownlee owns 11 New Zealand properties valued at more than $3 million, from Auckland down to Invercargill.

He's created $1m in equity and expects to pull in more than $60,000 per year in after-expenses income once he finishes his next renovation.

Following the publication of a Herald article on his story, the budding property magnate has been accused of having only achieved his success because of his privilege.


While he previously spoke to the Herald of his entrepreneurial spirit from a young age, some readers focused on the fact his parents topped up his savings to reach the threshold for the deposit on his first property in Hamilton.

In a social media video, Brownlee responded to the "keyboard warriors", saying he didn't want people to think they couldn't do it in today's market, at a young age on their own.

"I am quite grateful and blessed my parents were in a position to lend me part of a deposit for my first property and guarantee my loan.

"But do I think 100 per cent I wouldn't be here without that? No not at all."

Brownlee said the first home he bought was in Hamilton, and didn't need to be renovated.

He later learned of other areas, including Flaxmere, Hastings, where houses could be bought for $100,000, needing only a 20 per cent deposit.

"I realised if I had bought one of those, and renovated it, within a couple of months I would have created sweat equity, and been able to revalue that sooner."

He said people could get started with as little as $30,000.


"Start building equity, renovate and get going."