24 Mar 2021

We tried to find an Auckland home for less than $625,000

From Checkpoint, 5:10 pm on 24 March 2021

In an attempt to help people buy their first home, the government has eased restrictions on First Home Grants and Loans.

Both financial supports are subject to property value caps. In Auckland, that cap will increase from $600,000 to $625,000 for an existing home.

But with prices already well out of reach for many first home buyers, Checkpoint visited real estate agent Rawdon Christie to find out what someone could actually get in Auckland for $625,000.

After adding price brackets and necessary filters in Barfoot and Thompson's search engine, Christie got 72 results for an appropriate property.

"A lot of units… as you can see – city centre, a two bedroom on Broadway that seems cheap in Newmarket, or you're going to go a bit further south, maybe Ōnehunga for a two bedder, Ōtāhūhū two bedder, one bedroom in Ellerslie, one bedroom in Mt Wellington."

Christie took Checkpoint's Nick Truebridge for a drive to Remuera – one of Auckland's more expensive city fringe suburbs – for an idea of the difference in property prices.

"An example of a classic Remuera home – a beautiful houses, leafy street, it's 900 square metres, you can see there's a pool at the back, character bungalow – that's going to be a lot of money."

Christie estimated such a property could go for nearly $3 million.

In neighbouring Meadowbank, about 2km away, he said prices could be as much as half that. 

"Within two kilometres we've moved from the leafy heart of Remuera where we're looking at something around the $3 million mark ... to something which is probably a more substantial home on a smaller piece of land, that probably is going to cost maybe half the amount," Christie said.

Units are potentially the right properties for first home buyers looking to spend within $625,000, he said.

In a suburb like Remuera a place like that may sell for seven figures, Christie said.

"Move that down into some suburbs and you may well be in the market for something for about $600,000."

Christie and Truebridge did find a central Auckland property within the government's price cap though.

"Newmarket [train] station is here. This is double Grammar zone, so some of the best schools in Auckland, you have got some of the best shopping in Auckland here as well right on your doorstep and you're five, 10 minutes from the city centre.

"Everything lines up to be the most incredible location. The apartment block here… in January of this year a two-bedroom with two car parks sold for $680,000.

"There is at the moment a one-bedroom with one car park for sale in this building for $579,000.

"It's not going to be big, but it'd be yours."

That apartment is approximately 38 square metres. Unfortunately for first-home buyers, banks will not usually lend on apartments smaller than 40m square.