A new $51 million University of Auckland student residence has attracted more interest than it can accommodate - with half the applicants being turned away because of limited space.

Nine hundred students applied to live in the new Whitaker Place hall of residence but hundreds had to be turned away as there are only 442 rooms, despite it being built to cater for an overwhelming demand for student accommodation.

Brendan Mosely, the university's director of campus life, said the new residence, which students move into this weekend, was built following a huge excess of demand for the university's's eight other halls of residence and apartment units.

Residents are selected based on criteria that include their academic achievement, general background and where they live, meaning those already in Auckland don't stand a chance. But that is something Mr Mosely says the university wants to change.

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"It's just getting tougher and tougher for students to find affordable accommodation, they are fronting up to places and competing with people who are on salaries and can show payslips.

"It's just getting harder and harder for them."

Those selected for the new hall of residence are first-year and include students from outside Auckland and from as far away as Britain, Europe, North America, the Middle East and Asia.

Denholm Orr, 18, who is from Taupo, is one of the lucky ones and said the accommodation, which includes a furnished single room, meals, power and internet use, was costing about $12,700 a year or $334 a week.

STUDENT DIGS
University of Auckland accommodation
* 5 catered halls of residence (including new University Hall).
* 4 self-catered apartments.
* 1810 students in residence this year.
* 400 second-year students were among the thousands of students turned away through excess demand.
* $51 million the cost of the new University of Auckland student residence.