Finding accommodation in Auckland can be a challenge for expats. Auckland’s status as a global city and its position as New Zealand’s economic hub have resulted in high property prices, and the city’s growing population has further increased the demand for accommodation in Auckland.
Most expats working in Auckland prefer to rent accommodation. Even many expats with long-term plans to stay in Auckland continue renting, as buying property can be prohibitively expensive.
Types of accommodation in Auckland
As the city has developed into an urban sprawl, with a variety of suburbs and areas, there are many different types of accommodation in Auckland. While expats will mostly find apartments within the city centre, Auckland’s many suburbs offer a mix between modern and historic freestanding houses. The quality of housing in Auckland varies, but expats typically find that most accommodation in the city is poorly insulated.
Each neighbourhood in Auckland has its own character and vibe, and expats should determine which area best suits them before starting the house hunt. Another important consideration is proximity to both work and school. Many Auckland residents either drive their own cars or rely on buses and, as a result, traffic throughout the city can be severe.
As most people work in central Auckland, expats wanting to live near their work should consider finding accommodation either in the city centre or in the nearby suburbs of Ponsonby or Grey Lynn. Those wanting to be close to the sea should explore Davenport and Takapuna, or the quieter suburb of Howick. Otherwise, Mangere Bridge offers more affordable accommodation while being only half-an-hour drive from the city centre.
Finding accommodation in Auckland
Expats can find accommodation through online property portals, social-networking sites and in the classified sections of local newspapers.
As the property market is extensive in Auckland, expats should also consider approaching a real-estate agency, which would usually have intimate knowledge of the local market and of housing that might not be listed online yet. These agencies can be found throughout the city and expats shouldn’t have any difficulty locating one.
Renting accommodation in Auckland
Renting accommodation in Auckland shouldn’t be a strenuous process, and real-estate agents are available to assist any expats searching for the perfect property.
Making an application
Expats can apply for accommodation by responding to an advertisement, either online or elsewhere, or they can directly contact an estate agent or landlord. References from previous landlords are typically required when making an application. The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) deals with the housing legislation and official processes, making applying for accommodation a smooth and easy process.
Costs and fees
Rent in Auckland is usually paid weekly, and the prices available will therefore represent this weekly sum. Due to the recent passing of the Residential Tenancies Act, agents are prohibited from charging tenants a fee for their services, as in the past, and are paid by the landlords instead.
Expats looking to rent in Auckland will find that furnished accommodation is rare. Most expats, especially those looking for larger houses, end up renting unfurnished accommodation, and will therefore need to budget for either shipping their belongings or buying new furniture.
Renting shared accommodation is also popular because of the high cost of rent. ‘Flatting’ (sharing a house with other people) or ‘boarding’ (renting a room in someone’s home) are common options for young couples or single people living in Auckland.
Landlords will typically require that tenants pay a deposit equivalent to one month's rent. This is something that expats need to keep in mind when looking for accommodation, as the initial sum required is typically quite large.
A tenancy agreement is a legal requirement for renting accommodation. Real-estate agents tend to only deal with fixed-term agreements of 12-months. That said, expats may be able to negotiate either a longer-term or shorter-term lease if dealing directly with a landlord.
While the landlord will cover the rates and home insurance, any expats wanting contents insurance will have to pay for it. Utilities are also typically not included in the rent. Even water usage is sometimes measured with a meter and will be an extra cost.
►For an overview of the city, read Moving to Auckland
"Auckland has some really great funky suburbs that we have discovered whilst living here. Ponsonby and Kingsland are our favourites. But they are one of the most expensive areas to live in Auckland. We are fortunate enough to live in walking distance of these areas and for young twenty-something expats it is a great place to meet new people and explore some trendy bars and cafes." Read more about Dawn and Isaac, British expats, and their experience of life in Auckland.
Are you an expat living in Auckland?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Auckland. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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