If you're chasing the quarter-acre dream, maybe don't look in inner-city Auckland, or inner-city Tauranga for that matter, where some areas have zero such residential sections left.

On the other hand, Kerikeri, up north, has a large percentage left, according to statistics from OneRoof's data partner Valocity.

The figures show of 2844 residential properties in Kerikeri nearly 76 per cent are still on quarter-acre sections, whereas Grafton, in Auckland's inner-city, has none.

Papamoa Beach, a big Tauranga suburb, has also become squeezed of the quarter-acre dream – of 8889 residential dwellings, only 1.19 per cent are of a quarter-acre size.


Valocity's director of valuation, James Wilson, says while quarter-acres are not vast amounts of land, they used to be what everyone aspired to – a decent piece of land where you could mow the lawns on a Saturday and plant some fruit trees.

"What it does give you is more often than not you don't have immediate neighbours so the privacy factor is a lot higher.

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"You get the benefits that go with a larger section as opposed to a modern home on a really small infill site. When compared to the modern equivalent it feels like quite a big section that's for sure."

While the quarter-acre dream is dwindling in size, the aspiration to have your own piece of New Zealand isn't, so people now find it in a small courtyard where there's room to have a table and chairs, or even on the balcony of an apartment.

This sort of downsized aspiration is much more common in the city centres, where the price of land is high, and it's a necessity in suburbs like Grafton, in Auckland's inner city, where there are zero quarter-acre sections left.

High and medium density suburbs also have few or none available – for example, Burswood, in Manukau City, has none and Golflands next door has only one.

Valocity's director of valuation, James Wilson. Photo / File
Valocity's director of valuation, James Wilson. Photo / File

Wilson, who points out the figures crunched relate only to residential homes and exclude rural/lifestyle and other property types, says these newer types of suburbs feature larger homes on smaller sites and are in high-density locations.

The older inner-city suburb of Grafton is now mainly apartments and mixed-use stock.


Stonefields, a new suburb in East Auckland, has no quarter-acre sections, but this suburb represents a newer trend of master-planned communities where there might not be much land attached to the house but there is still plenty of greenery and outdoors in the form of shared public spaces.

"They will have reserves and parks to replace the utility so you buy into high density but you get the local shared space to get the benefit of that so there are ways to get around it."

In popular suburbs like Grey Lynn and Kingsland there are few quarter-acres left but Epsom still has a good number, as does Remuera, however, Wilson says people with quarter-acres in more upmarket areas may or may not benefit from them in terms of subdividing as that depends on the zoning.

"Generally, sites have some potential but not always. In some locations, though, such as more character areas where there's more of a historic feel to it, that will be protected so you can't subdivide because they want to maintain that character of the area."

The downward trend in section size is mostly a direct correlation to land value, Wilson says. The bigger the site, the higher the land value per square metres in urban areas so people trade off the size to get the price point down.

"That's just the reality of it. You still see more quarter-acre dreams in smaller parts of New Zealand where land value is not as high.


"The reality of land values has resulted in many homeowners, particularly new homeowners, having to change what's a reality for them in regards to site size.

"But what you see clearly, from what transacts well and what gets premium values, is there is definitely still a desire by homeowners to try and get that little piece of the quarter-acre dream, whether that be a courtyard or even a balcony.

"There's still a desire for having your little piece of New Zealand, or section, or outdoor area, to sit with your coffee or wine so aspirationally it's still there, it's just been a reset in terms of what's a reality for the modern home-owner."

The locations with the most quarter-acre sections percentage-wise include Auckland, which has 85 per cent, bearing in mind the percentage is for the whole of greater Auckland, including places like Wellsford and Pukekohe.

Other areas with the highest percentages for quarter acre sections are Marlborough with 90 per cent, Southland with 92 per cent, the Far North with 54 per cent, Central Otago with 48 per cent, Waitaki with 48 per cent and Tasman with 44 per cent.