NZ’s best-value house suburbs

With the recession said to be ending, the experts have offered a few suggestions for where first-time home buyers should look. Photo / Paul Estcourt

With the recession said to be ending, the experts have offered a few suggestions for where first-time home buyers should look. Photo / Paul Estcourt

By  Alice Neville and Rachel Grunwell – NZ Herald

 If you had $450,000 to spend on a house, where would you buy? The answer will vary wildly depending on where you work, where you grew up, where your friends are and your lifestyle.

So while there is no definitive answer to the question of what suburb is the best value for money for the home buyer in Auckland – and in other parts of New Zealand – it’s clear that price is not the only factor. So we’ve taken the most recent median sale price for Auckland – $450,000 – and asked experts where to buy now.

St George Bank economists recently researched suburbs across Australia to determine which ones were likely to provide the strongest value. The study was based on criteria such as renovation potential and proximity to central business districts, transport and retail outlets, as well as strong pricing.

Using similar criteria, we’ve chosen a group of Auckland and New Zealand suburbs that should give you good bang for your bucks. Professor Bob Hargreaves, chair in property studies at Massey University, says if you’re buying an investment property, getting the best return often means choosing a suburb where houses are cheaper

“Often the ones that give you the best return from a rental perspective might be a bit rough around the edges,” he says.

But buying your own home is not so simple. Hargreaves suggests a suburb that is not yet gentrified or is just seeing the beginnings of gentrification is the way to go. That means neighbourhoods where young, well-heeled types are just starting to move into – in Auckland, Onehunga and Ellerslie are good examples.

Well-established areas are a safer bet than newer suburbs, says Hargreaves. “Age is not a disadvantage. Until suburbs become established and people become confident in them, you just don’t know how it’s going to turn out.”

New Zealand Property Investors’ Federation vice president Andrew King says many areas provide good value for investors and home buyers. Waterview, Avondale, Te Atatu South are safe bets, as are places such as Mangere and Papatoetoe in the south and parts of Glenfield in the North Shore.

“Those areas are quite close to work places and industry, they aren’t too expensive and they provide a reasonable rental yield compared to more expensive areas,” says King.

Meanwhile, the Herald on Sunday went to other real estate experts outside of Auckland to ask them to pinpoint the best-value suburbs to buy in for around the national median house price of $346,750.

Hamilton-based Ray White Real Estate agent Bobbie Jarvis, who has 27 years’ experience in real estate in the city, says her pick for the best-value suburbs for prices around that mark would be Flagstaff and Pukete, both north of the city.