Fancy paying just $150 per week on a home loan for a four bedroom villa?

Then forget moaning about Auckland house prices and make the move to sunny Invercargill, Graham Sumner, 33, says.

Two-and-a-half years ago, he and wife Amanda, 33, had been stuck paying $450 a week rent on a "stinker" of a two-bedroom flat in Sandringham in Auckland.

But when they became pregnant with their first daughter, the couple, both 33, were forced to re-evaluate.


"I thought, 'Do I want to be stuck here under the burden of heavy rent and not being able to afford a house or do I grab life by the [horns] and do it'," he said.

After looking around the whole country in 2016, they found a 170sq m, four-bedroom villa in Invercargill on a 500sq m section for just $160,000.

"Heck, my mortgage payments are $150 per week," Sumner said.

"What do you get in Auckland for that - nothing? That is the cost of your petrol for a week."

His comments come after the Herald recently revealed Auckland first-home buyers were labouring under crushing mortgages of up to $950 per week.

That was based on figures by analysts CoreLogic, showing first-home buyers paid an average of $856,467 for an entry level property in Auckland last year.

Loan Market mortgage adviser Bruce Patten calculated that buyers would need to save a minimum 10 per cent deposit of $85,600 and have an annual combined income of around $150,000 to be granted the $770,000 loan needed to buy homes at that price.

This would mean up to $850 weekly repayments over 30 years on current record low interest rates of 3.99 per cent or $950 per week repayments on 5 per cent rates.


Community groups said the prices showed only the elites could afford to buy property in our biggest city.

But Sumner said he gets frustrated by millennials continually moaning about house prices and they should instead get serious about moving to the regions.

"If you are a young person, you don't have a lot of money and you want to buy a house, you have to consider leaving the big smoke," he said.

QV data shows the average house value in Invercargill last month was $286,250, up 21 per cent from $236,400 in 2016 when the Sumners bought.

Sumner said the move wasn't easy for them. He and Amanda into their new home in December 2016, spending Christmas alone in an empty house because their furniture hadn't arrived yet.

Three-weeks later their first daughter was born.

Sumner - who is a fitter-joiner - also had to find a job in Invercargill before the bank approved his home loan.

However, he's now making the same money he did in Auckland, while saving heaps more, allowing his wife to stay home to care for their children.

The couple were also able to buy their home with just $5000 in savings after drawing out an extra $40,000 from their combined Kiwisaver accounts.

Most living expenses, apart from food, are also cheaper down south with the family spending $28 a fortnight on petrol because they don't have to travel as far.

Amanda, who is a teacher, used to face the "horrendous" commutes on Auckland's Southern Motorway, but now "everything is five minutes away" in Invercargill.

"Invercargill has everything a big city has, except the noise, congestion, cars and rudeness of people on the roads," Sumner said.

"Down here it's like, 'Oh it's a bit busy, I'll wait 20 seconds at this intersection', then you go on through – it's awesome."