A migrant’s guide to the current property market and house prices in New Zealand including Auckland, Wellington, Hamilton, Christchurch and Dunedin.
New Zealand is a strikingly beautiful country, regardless of which part you’re heading for. But a concern for many migrants moving from the UK to New Zealand is the cost of housing.
New Zealand has a reputation for sky high prices and this is certainly true for central Auckland; but, as in the UK where not many Brits buy property in central London, it’s the same for Auckland and New Zealand.
In fact, you don’t have to go far outside the city centre to find attractive and affordable housing. If you choose to live in another part of New Zealand, you’ll find that house prices compare very favourably with the UK.
We have therefore decided to take a conservative look at the current New Zealand housing market to see what property you could afford to buy with the average UK house price.
If you have a higher value property to sell in the UK then you can expect to afford an even nicer or larger property than we have picked below.
Like every country, New Zealand has a variety of housing options to choose from. You can go with a cosy convenient unit, apartment or townhouse in the heart of one of their beautiful cities, a larger family home in a style of your choice on a bit of acreage where the kids will have plenty of room, or something to suit your love of the outdoors. As an added bonus, it will probably come complete with views of that stunning scenery.
What Is The Current NZ Property Market Doing?
New Zealand’s housing market is finally stabilising after years of record growth that caused what experts call a ‘housing bubble’. Has the bubble finally burst? Surprisingly enough, not really it seems. It’s probably more accurate to say that it’s sprung a bit of a leak, which has simply slowed its ascent somewhat.
According to the country’s foremost real estate authority REINZ, house prices are still currently increasing in most areas. However, those increases are modest compared to the spectacular price growth of the past few decades.
Even in Auckland, where it is the norm rather than an exception for inflated prices to mean handing over a cool 2-3 million NZD for what is an average house by world standards, things have slowed down with average prices dropping 2.7% in the last year.
This slow down is good news for Brits wanting to move to the Land of the Long White Cloud. However, there’s a slight hitch these days for most foreigners moving to NZ. That hitch is the new law that prohibits them from buying property in NZ.
Those with NZ residency status can however purchase once they’ve been living in NZ for 12 months. The flip side of this law though is that it will give you plenty of time to have a good look around and find exactly the right property and neighbourhood for you.
To help you do that, we’ve summarised current house prices and New Zealand’s property market. This should give you a clearer understanding of what types of houses fit your budget if and when you move to New Zealand from the UK.
However, if price is no object, just skip straight to the bottom where we’ve found what may be your ideal home with views out over Auckland Harbour!
The New Zealand Property Market in 2019
According to the latest property figures (June 2019) from REINZ, the national average price for a house in NZ is NZ$585,000 (£315,800) when Auckland prices are factored in. That’s up 4.5% from June 2018.
If you take the ‘Auckland bubble’ out of the equation however, the national average drops back to $485,000NZ (£261,800), up from $460,000 (£242,000) in June 2018 and a 5.4% increase overall.
Whilst that’s still above the UK average of £228K (NZ$431K), remember that it is being driven by higher prices in other metropolitan centres like Wellington, Queenstown, and across the North Island generally. Prices on the South Island are typically lower in many areas with the average median price there sitting around NZ$420K (£222,394) in May 2019.
In four regions prices are even coming down. Along the picturesque but rugged South Island West Coast for example the median price for houses in May 2019 was NZ$185K (£97,821) and falling. The same is happening in Marlborough and Tasman on the South Island, and in North Land on the North Island.
The actual cost of moving and shipping your household belongings and furniture to New Zealand may not be as expensive as you think. To get an estimate you can use our online cost calculator on our removals to New Zealand page.
So where should you set down your roots in New Zealand?
Well, that rather depends on how much you have to spend, and where you want to spend it.
To provide you with some ideas around what you can afford after you sell your UK property, we have selected a range of properties around the UK average price, give or take, of £228K (NZ$431,194). We have purposely erred on the cheaper side so if your budget is above the UK average you’ll of course be able to afford a lot nicer property than those below.
For each area compare what you can buy in the major central city areas with what you can buy in the suburbs of those cities so you can decide whether to opt for convenience or getting a larger property for your money.
House Prices in Auckland
If you’re aiming for the top end of New Zealand, and the top end of the NZ housing market, house prices in Auckland are down 3.3% on May 2018 but up 0.5% on April 2019. However, despite the slowing down in prices, you’ll still be paying a premium for a house here with the average across the greater Auckland area being NZ$860K (£454,738).
City Centre Pad overlooking the Marina NZ$425K (£230,000)
That being said, quality apartments and units in the city in the NZ$400K to $500K (£211,500 – £264,382) range are available if you look around for them. This sort after 1 bedroom apartment in Auckland Central would set you back NZ$425K (£230,000). That’s below the national average of NZ$488K and is typical of the quality and size you can expect in this price range in this city. Whilst it is on the small size, it does have a small balcony with spectacular views of the viaduct and yachts. You won’t find much better if you’re looking for a city centre pad.
Detached home in Aucklund Suburb of Onehunga NZ$449K (£242,400)
A little bit farther out, but still close to the CBD in a suburb like Onehunga, you may come across finds like the house above. It was on the market for NZ$449K (£242,400) so a little above the UK average but still well below the NZ and Auckland medians. At 70 square metres, it comes with 2 bedrooms, 1 bathroom, a garden, and a prized location in the heart of Onehunga. The local shops, transport, and schools are conveniently close by.
House Prices in Wellington
The mean house price in Wellington is NZ$611,500 (£329,900), up 5.4% on May 2018. Wellington currently has a strong employment market and the housing is more affordable when compared to Auckland. This makes the city an appealing proposition for first-home buyers.
Right in the heart of Wellington and close to the CBD are affordable homes like the apartment above. At 50 square metres, fully furnished with just 1 bathroom, it’s small but still manages to fit in 2 bedrooms. It has a rateable value of NZ$415K (£224,000) and is listed for auction so may go higher.
Auctions and sales by tender are quite common for properties of this nature. Therefore, it’s entirely possible that if you’re prepared to buy via auction or tender you could pick up a very affordable piece of New Zealand real estate priced well below the national and Wellington medians.
Unfortunately, currently you won’t find too many freestanding houses in the NZ$400K to $450K (£215,900 -£243,000) range around Wellington. Those that are available typically need some money spent on them. If you don’t mind this, you should be able to pick up something a bit cheaper that needs some work. That may even be an advantage as you can modify to suit, and it gives you more brick for your buck too. Alternatively, you could go for one of the quality apartments or units that are available within this price range.
Stokes Valley, 30 minutes from Wellington NZ$435k (£234,800)
Having said that, if you look just a short commute from the in nearby towns such as Upper and Lower Hutt, you can find some great properties for your budget. This house in Stokes Valley is less than 30 minutes from Wellington city centre and not only has 3 spacious bedrooms but also a great outdoor living area with views over the surrounding country.
House Prices in Hamilton, Waikato
Hamilton is the administrative centre of Waikato, just below Auckland on the North Island. The latest (May 2019) average house price here is NZ$545K (£294,000), up 6.9% on this time last year. Whilst this is again higher than the UK and national average, there are still some very affordable properties around if you’re prepared to go looking for them.
New Build Hamilton Central Business District $459K (£247,800)
The property above is in Hamilton Central, and is listed for a very reasonable (for Hamilton CBD area) $459K (£247,800). It’s a 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom new build in a high demand area around a 10 minute drive from the CBD and is also close to the University and Waikato Hospital. It’s fairly typical of what you’ll find in the NZ$400 to $500K price bracket in this part of Hamilton. As with the other properties we’ve looked at, it’s priced below the national median and well below the Waikato median.
If you’re prepared to consider the suburbs, and who wouldn’t in this picturesque part of the North Island, you’ll find a heap of properties well below your price limit, presuming you’ve sold your UK property for around the national average of £228K. You’re also spoilt for choice as there are good sized family homes, units, and apartments priced between NZ$380 – $450K (£201,210 – £237,944) readily available.
Detached House in Frankton, Hamilton NZ$419K (£226,600)
The above property in Frankton for example is listed for NZ$419K (£226,600) so is a bargain in terms of what you get for your money. The 110 square metre weatherboard house has 3 bedrooms and 1 bathroom with a modern kitchen and is located in a cul-de-sac. It’s quite typical of the size (house and block size) and quality available in this price range around the Hamilton suburbs. There’s also room for additions and scope for renovation if desired.
House Prices in Tauranga, Bay Of Plenty
Tauranga is located on the beautiful Bay Of Plenty that gives its name to this region of New Zealand. The median cost of houses in this area is up 0.9% up on the same time (May) last year with an average price of NZ$595K (£321,250).
There’s quite a range of house types and prices available here. From nifty, economical transportables (quite common in these parts) to elaborate and large modern brick and tile homes with sweeping views out over the bay and the surrounding hinterland, there’s plenty to like about both the style and the affordability of houses in and around Tauranga.
Tauranga City Centre House NZ$449K (£242,400)
If an established abode within or close to the CBD is your style, something like the property above may suit. It’s centrally located within the CBD at Tauranga South, has 2 bedrooms, 1 bathroom, and is a very comfortable 110 square metres in size on a 227 square metre block. The asking price was NZ$449K (£242,400). Whilst this property is no longer available, it does give you an idea of what is available in and around the Tauranga CBD for not much more than the current UK average, and for a lot less than the region’s average.
Family House, Poike, Tauranga NZS479k (£258,600)
This quaint house in the heart of Tauranga is the ideal family starter home. With 3 bedrooms and spacious living areas, it also has a beautiful garden complete with play house. With outdoor decking, patio and pond you can enjoy the Kiwi outdoor living in the summer, whilst unusually for New Zealand homes it is fully insulated with energy efficient heat pump central heating for those chilly winter nights.
The biggest advantage of house prices on South Island New Zealand is that they are a lot cheaper so you can have a much more spacious property especially if you are not in the centre of wellington or Christchurch. If you’re moving to New Zealand for the quiet life then this could be ideal.
House Prices in Christchurch, Canterbury
Christchurch is located halfway down the eastern seaboard of the South Island and is the capital of the Canterbury region. House prices here have remained stable for the past 12 months at a median price of NZ$445K (£235,627) across the region.
For those who really enjoy the buzz of living within walking distance of a CBD, Christchurch offers some of the best options in terms of quality and affordable options. Many of these are new builds after the devastating 2011 earthquakes.
Christchurch Modern City Centre Apartment NZ$330k (£178,200)
This is typical of the modern, well designed new builds that you can find springing up all over Christchurch. With 2 large bedrooms, open plan kitchen / diner you can expect all mod cons with central heating and plenty of storage space. You also have a spacious balcony area so you can enjoy outdoor dining and two car ports if you need to commute.
Newly renovated home in Halswell, Christchurch NZ$400K (£216,000)
Prices begin to drop as you move out into the suburbs in this city. For under NZ$400K (£216,000) you can get a lot of bang for your buck in Christchurch. However, if you want to stick around the NZ$440K (£232,980) mark you’ll come across some very very nice real estate indeed.
Like this newly renovated 3 bedroom, 1 bathroom home on a 696 square metre block in Halswell for NZ$439K (£232,450). Granted, it’s one of the outer areas of Christchurch but ideally suited for a small family as it’s close to public transport and the local schools.
House Prices in Queenstown, Central Otago
Queenstown and its surrounds (Central Otago/Lakes area) is renowned as the top outdoor holiday destination in New Zealand, but is probably not the best place to head for unless you have boundless amounts of cash after selling a large UK property or two! That’s because recent figures from REINZ indicate prices in and around the city surged by 9.8% in May 2019, pushing the average house price here past the NZ$1 million mark. This would largely account for the 8.2% rise in house prices for the Otago region generally.
Fear not however! The regional median price of NZ$475K (£251,512) (May 2019) still falls a long way short of the asking prices in Queenstown! Unfortunately though, if you do have your heart set on moving to Queenstown you have very few options unless, as we’ve already mentioned, you have a spare million or two in NZ dollars! One of those options can be found in the CBD.
New Build Apartment in Central Queenstown NZ$435K (£234,865)
These 1 bedroom/1 bathroom luxury residential apartments are priced from NZ$435K (£230,332), which does put them in your price range if we’re talking the equivalent of current UK median prices. However, with only 1 bedroom apiece they’re not suitable for a family. The trade off is that they do offer the very latest in convenience, comfort, and luxury living.
Option 2 for Queenstown is buying a section (block) of land and building on it, although even this option could end up expensive. There are a few available for under NZ$400K if you hunt around but, like house prices, they’ve soared too.
The good news though is that experts agree the market will level out, especially as the new foreign ownership laws start to bite. The other good news is that there are other nearby areas in Otago where property prices are much more affordable, like Alexandra.
Four bedroom family house in Alexandra, Otago NZ$449k (£242,000)
Just an hours drive from Queenstown in the picturesque town of Alexandra. Located on the banks of the Clutha River and surrounded by mountains is overs the rural ideal at a much affordable price. At just over £240k you can have a 4 bedroom family home with plenty of living space with views across the town and towards the mountains.
House Prices in Dunedin, Otago
Whilst house prices are on the rise in Dunedin, they haven’t quite reached the median price of NZ$475K (£251,512) for the region yet. That being the case, you’ll find you can afford a very reasonable property for your £228K in and around Dunedin. There’s plenty of choice too.
Dunedin Beach House NZ$439k (£237,000)
If your idea of the New Zealand dream is living next to the beach then in Dunedin it’s achievable for only £237,000. This character property in St Clair on the south side of Dunedin has 3 bedrooms plus office / utilities room. Not only that it’s fully insulated, has double glazing throughout with a heat-pump for central heating. When it’s time to move you could turn it into the perfect investment property – it currently makes a great return for the current owners as a rental and Airbnb property – and this is no surprise with St Clair’s beach at the bottom of the garden..
Detached House Calton Hill, Dunedin NZ$435K (£230,332)
A 4 bedroom, 2-bathroom weatherboard house complete with studio on a 644 square metre block, this house wouldn’t look out of place back home in the UK! Priced at a very affordable NZ$435K (£230,332), it’s located in Calton Hill, a 5-minute drive south of the Dunedin CBD. It features large open interior spaces, full-length windows and a spacious deck where you can sit and enjoy the expansive view. It’s also typical of the size of house and land your NZ$440K budget will get you down here. Plenty of brick, or weatherboard, for your money in other words!
House Prices in Nelson
Nelson is the major urban centre for the region of the same name. As you can guess by the name, it has a long association with England, having been established back in 1841 by English settlers. House prices here currently average NZ$547K (£289,636) and have risen 7% over the past 12 months.
House With a View, Nelson NZ$455,000 (£241,000)
With amazing views over port Nelson this detached property could be a great opportunity if you’re willing to do some renovation. It has 4 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, an open plan kitchen/diner and a lounge where you can relax gazing out across the harbour and sea. Asking for offers over NZ$455,000 (£241,000) you’ll get a quick return on your investment once you have finished updating it.
4 Bedrooms Inner Glyn, Nelson NK$589k (£318,000)
This is a great example of the type of houses you can buy on South Island. A beautiful spacious 4 bedroom property in a lovely neighbourhood and an outlook onto hills. It even has an area that can be used as a granny flat for your overseas visitors and a beautiful garden with fish pond.
Got plenty of money?
Fancy living in a house most movie stars would only dream of owning? Then perhaps this humble abode in Kohimarama would suit. It has 7 bedrooms, each with its own bathroom, a chandelier-lit entry and 3 levels of living space from which to enjoy the views out over Auckland Harbour. There’s also ample space to park your 10 cars and separate accommodation for the au pair. We’re not sure just how much it’ll cost you but at least 8 figures is probably close to the mark.
Where in New Zealand will you move to?
Even if your budget is below the median price of housing in many regions of New Zealand, it pays to remember that the more expensive city properties have inflated those medians. Overall, according to REINZ’s May 2019 figures, 39.7% of houses sold in May sold for under NZ$500K. Whilst this is down on May 2018, when 42.3% of houses sold for under that, it still represents over a third of available properties.
So you’ve got plenty of options. Notably, if you have the flexibility to consider smaller towns, outlying suburbs, or the rural areas outside the major cities, you’re sure to find something that suits both your pocket and your lifestyle. Alternatively, during your first 12 months here keep your eyes on the market for the bargains when they come up. You could also consider buying an affordable renovation property and have the satisfaction of creating something unique to start your new life Down Under.
Just remember that the property you choose to live in can make a massive difference to how you adjust to life in a new country so make sure that you find one that suits you and your family perfectly.
Moving and shipping to New Zealand
When you’re ready to move to New Zealand give the team at PSS International Removals a call and they will be happy to help.
We can take care of the whole removals process for you including packing, shipping, customs clearance and delivery to your new home, no matter where it might be in New Zealand.
If you have not yet purchased a home we can also store your furniture and other belongings for you until you are ready to move in.