Nikki Green and her family are among a growing number of first-home buyers to have found their way into the property market after a decade of unaffordable prices.
Auckland's skyrocketing prices had earlier left Green feeling like home ownership was a dream that would forever remain out of her reach.
However, with prices stagnating over the last 18 months and interest rates at near record lows, she was finally able last month to purchase a four-bedroom family home in Ranui in Auckland's west.
Paying less than $650,000, Green also took advantage of loosening lending restrictions that allowed her to take out a mortgage with just a 10 per cent deposit on the home's value.
"If the Auckland market had continued the way it was, we were always going to be behind because the amount you can save versus the amount house prices were increasing by meant you took one step forward and two steps back," she said.
"So by the time you had saved $5000, house prices had increased by $10,000 or $15,000."
But with market conditions improving and more than three years savings behind her, one of Green's first steps into the market was to approach a mortgage broker for help finding the best loan.
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Knowing she already had the bank's backing allowed her to act quickly when favourable property's came up.
This, together with more sellers being open to negotiation rather than simply putting their homes up for auction, meant Green was able to make a successful offer for her Ranui home.
"We were in a multi-bid situation and ended up offering the price the seller was asking for," she said.
"But that price was a very good reflection of what the house was worth and so we were quite comfortable."
She said her family had wanted to live in west Auckland - close to her three children's schools and day care centre - and didn't want to wait for the chance to enter a ballot for a KiwiBuild home.
"Out west is by far the best option for first home buyers in Auckland - there is the motorway upgrade, the schools, the amenities and the house prices are still achievable," she said.
She also thought the competition for a KiwiBuild home would be fierce.
"There are so many families that haven't been able to purchase for so long now that the dream of owning a home has become really unattainable - KiwiBuild gives them hope," she said.
But it's a dream that Green worries is fading for her own children unless she and her husband can find a way to help give them a leg up.
"I don't think the next generation will be able to get into their own home without old money," she said.
"So you need to look at using your own assets earlier to help your kids get a step up."