Auckland house prices might be eye-wateringly high, but that is not stopping millennials and retirees getting a foot on the property ladder for as little as $50,000.
That's according to Martin Dunn, managing director of real estate agency City Sales, who has launched a new business, called Real Estate Together, allowing Kiwis to buy a share in Auckland homes.
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Dunn said he would pick out the "best brick-and-tile" units on sale for about $650,000 and negotiate to buy them on behalf of investors, who then chip in with an equal share of the purchase price.
It would allow first home buyers unable to afford a deposit in Auckland's booming market to get into property and give retirees the chance of better returns than leaving their money in a bank, he claimed.
"We've got a problem looming that's going to divide society," he said.
"Millennials have missed the property market and some boomers are too scared of the costs of retiring."
Dunn said Real Estate Together was New Zealand's first business in which a real estate agent would scout and negotiate purchases on a large scale for buyers.
It's launch comes as Kiwis increasingly look for alternative ways to invest in property at a time when sky-high house prices make it difficult to buy homes outright.
Syndicates, allowing people to buy a share in commercial property, were becoming increasingly popular, while a company called Miuwi also launched last year as the "Tinder of property investing".
It promised to match first-home buyers willing to buy and live in a home together while paying off the mortgage.
One experienced Auckland property investor - who didn't want to be named - told the Herald he was considering using Dunn's new business to buy a $75,000 quarter share in a $630,000 two-bedroom, Hillcrest brick home.
His cash together with $75,000 from each of three other investors would enable the quartet to put down a 50 per cent deposit and take out a home loan for the rest.
They would then use rent to cover the mortgage interest repayments and other expenses, while holding on to the home for five to 10 years in the hope it rose in value and gave a return on their money.
Other investment options with Dunn's business included gathering together enough buyers with $50,000 plus settlement costs each to cover the entire purchase price of a house.
This would allow the investors to collect rental returns as well as potential capital gains.
The experienced investor, aged 59, said Dunn's venture appealed as a way to spread risk by buying a smaller share in multiple homes.
He had earlier experienced success and failure with property investing.
This included paying $250,000 for a new three-bedroom townhouse in Avondale in the 1990s that turned out to be a leaky home.
He was forced to demolish the house down to the concrete slab and rebuild for a further $167,000. It took 10 years for the townhouse to rise enough in value to break even.
Another inner city leasehold apartment he bought brand new 12 years ago was now worth almost half of what he paid for it because "leasehold had fallen out of favour".
In launching Real Estate Together Dunn said he'd studied 23 Auckland suburbs and 1300 on-sale properties that he narrowed down to about 30 good buys.
They were all smaller brick and tile properties built in the 1960s and 70s in suburbs like Howick, Mt Wellington, One Tree Hill, Beachhaven or Mangere Bridge.
Brick and tile homes were generally well built and less likely to run into maintenance or repair issues, he said.
Dunn charged an extra 4 per cent finders fee or minimum $20,000 for his services and would also act as a property manager handling the tenants for a further fee.
At a time when property prices were already high, lumping an extra $20,000 on the purchase price would not be for everyone.
But Dunn argued the fee was reasonable when split four-or-more ways and that his real estate experience could help him negotiate better prices and cope with high pressure bidding at auctions.
His scheme also relied on house prices going up to deliver good returns.
Yet ultimately, new ideas were needed for property investing because young people were giving up and many retirees were fearful of the growing cost of retirement, Dunn said.
SMART INVESTMENT FOR MUM AND DAUGHTER
Radio presenter Ivanka Zonich says Dunn's new business could make sense for both her and her 22-year-old daughter.
Zonich, 50, already owns a home and investment properties but was looking for a "smarter" way to make the extra savings she has in the bank work for her also.
"I've got other properties I could borrow against, but I don't want to," she said.
"I'd rather use the money I've got saved, which isn't quite enough for a deposit on an entire home."
"I could save for another two years and have an extra $50,000, but is it worth it because by two years time property might go up $200,000."
Zonich might even invest in a home with her daughter in the future, who has just started working as a teacher.
"She's not on great wages, and it is gonna take time for her to save up a deposit to get into her own home."
"So this is a good way for her to get her onto the property ladder."
"Because once you're in you have something to use to go the bank to borrow against, or as proof you were able to pay off a loan."
Zonich said she also liked Dunn's business scheme because he didn't use real estate jargon but explained the process clearly.
It was also simple because he offered to manage the contracts and trust accounts into which the money would be paid, she said.
"I want to invest again but I want to make it easy, not hard for myself."
The idea was to invest in a property for at least five years so as to avoid the extra taxes charged in the brightline test, but Zonich said there were options for investors to sell out earlier.
In such cases, those who bought a share in the house would meet and potentially buy out the share of the person exiting or sell it to a another investor, she said.
The scheme also relied on properties going up in value, but Zonich said she had faith in Dunn's ability to select good brick and tile units.