Auckland electrician Dylan Prasad understands why many young Kiwis believe they will never be able to own a home - he was one of them.
The 33-year-old had been a good saver most of his life and earned extra money playing rugby. Yet Auckland's housing market always seemed too expensive and did "psyche" out many younger residents from thinking of buying.
"Everyone I knew who bought a house was either being gifted money or had rich parents," he said.
"Whereas, it always seemed someone like me would have had to look outside Auckland."
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But this year, he set himself the simple goal to check on his finances and whether he could actually afford to buy.
At first, he didn't have luck. The first two banks he went to didn't give him a loan - mostly because he was a single guy with only one income.
But then mortgage broker Loan Market helped him secure a loan in October by drawing out $32,000 from his KiwiSaver and matching this with a further $70,000 he managed to save across about 10 years of budgeting.
With his roughly $100,000 deposit, he then snagged a four-bedroom home in Clover Park in South Auckland for $610,000, which he is due to move into in mid-December. It was the third house he looked at.
With a mortgage just over $500,000, he has to pay $543 per week in repayments. But he also plans to have one or two friends move in as boarders on rents of at least $180 per week each. That could effectively take his repayments down to $150 per week.
With a salary just over $60,000 per year, Prasad said the repayments were definitely manageable.
"It's good for me and I'll be able to help my mates too," he said.
"They'd rather live with me than pay $400 per week in rent somewhere else and they'll be able to save."
Research by OneRoof.co.nz and property analysts Valocity showed 26 per cent of buyers taking out mortgages in Auckland in the past year were first-time buyers, just below the nationwide share of 28 per cent.
James Wilson, director of valuation at Valocity, said first-home buyers were still active in the residential market.
"But when we take a look at what they are buying, to build a profile of the 'typical' property the first-home buyer is acquiring, there are changes."
Research showed that in the year to October, new mortgage registrations for apartments had grown 62 per cent.
As for Prasad, from beginning the year with the goal of just checking on his finances to now moving into his own home, he's clearly "smashed" his goals.
"It shows it can be done," he said.