House prices may have soared through the biggest boom in two decades last year, yet that hasn't stopped one eagle-eyed buyer snapping up a classic timber villa for just $15,000.
The November purchase was the cheapest in the land last year according to a list of 2020's lowest-priced sales by analysts OneRoof-Valocity.
And - for the price of a decent used car - the new owners netted a 1910-built, timber villa boasting two bedrooms, lounge and dining room on a huge 1012sq m block.
But - you guessed it - there's a catch.
Not only was the ramshackle home begging for an extensive renovation with its peeling paint and rusting roof, but the remote Southland home was at 1 Malta St in tiny Wyndham, population 550 and half an hour north of Invercargill.
Owen Vaughan, editor of property website OneRoof, said bargains may have become increasingly hard to find in the post-Covid housing boom, but the new data showed they were out there.
"It's just that buyers have to apply some creative thinking to get them," he said.
National median house prices rocketed to $730,300 last month, a 19 per cent jump from $612,000 last January, according to the Real Estate Institute.
Auckland prices, meanwhile, jumped 15 per cent to $1 million, up from $870,000 in January 2020.
ASB senior economist Mike Jones described the price growth as "jaw-dropping".
"That is a high not seen since 2004, a boom year for the New Zealand economy [when] GDP growth exceeded 6 per cent," he said.
Yet while many prospective buyers may have fallen into despair, some thrifty house hunters netted cheap deals without even leaving the big smoke.
One buyer bought their way into Auckland's sought-after Epsom Grammar zone for just $233,000 last October.
For that incredible price - roughly equivalent to the $200,000 deposit needed on a typical $1m Auckland home - they were able to move into a "gorgeous art deco", double-brick home at 282 Manukau Rd, Epsom.
It boasted "cavernous" 4.5m-high ceilings, three bedrooms, double garage and a manicured garden just a block from Auckland's Cornwall Park.
So what was the catch? The home sits on a leasehold title, so the buyer didn't own the land.
Instead they needed to pay $13,720 in ground rent every year for the next 12 years - totalling $164,640 - at which point the next 21-year lease and rent agreement would be struck, according to the home's advertisement.
Yet the Epsom home wasn't even the cheapest buy in Auckland, according to the OneRoof-Valocity data.
One buyer snagged the cheapest Auckland deal by picking up a one-bedroom apartment in the Waiheke Island Resort on Palm Beach Rd for $215,000 last July. The resort complex even has its own swimming pool and spa and 18 hole mini-golf course.
Another buyer snapped up a 60sq m apartment at 13/27 Avenue Rd in Otahuhu for just $262,000 last March.
Closer to the city than homes in suburbs, such as Manukau and Manurewa, the 1960s brick apartment's selling agents described it as "built to last" and an "unpolished diamond".
"Do some re-configuring put in a new kitchen and bathroom, paint and carpet and you will have the perfect one-bedroom pad or ideal long-term investment," they said.
Closer to town again and near to Auckland Domain, the University of Auckland and Newmarket's shopping strip, another buyer picked up a tiny 33sq m open-plan apartment for $280,000 last March.
"A rare offering in a super central location," its selling agents declared.
Vaughan said buyers on the hunt for creative deals might need to consider buying units or apartments instead of standalone homes or be willing to accept a cross lease or leasehold title.
"Buying a do-up has long been seen as the best way of breaking into a desirable street or suburb, but recent sales show that even do-ups in relatively affordable South Auckland suburbs are fetching more than $1 million."
However, the recent Covid-19 lockdown-induced trend towards working from home had helped boost markets outside of Auckland, he said.
"Certainly buyers can get more house for their money in places like Invercargill or towns in the West Coast, where typical house prices range between $255,000 and $395,000."
Nationally, the 10 cheapest house sales all came in under $50,000.
Another early 1900s-built, ramshackle wooden house on a 1012sq m block in rural New Zealand - this time at 19 Kaipo St in Waitotara, South Taranaki, half an hour from Whanganui - was the second cheapest sale last year on $20,000.
Similarly rundown wooden homes in Southland at 239 Argyle Otahuti Rd, Waianiwa, and 16 Lyne St, Nightcaps, also went for a steal at $25,000 and $36,000, respectively.
A collection of small units at 1A Tamarangi Dve - a street previously named as New Zealand's cheapest in a 2014 article - also sold for prices ranging from $26,000 to $40,000.