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 sky-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.
Areas and suburbs in Auckland
Auckland is a sprawling city with many areas and suburbs to choose from for expats. The city centre is a popular choice for those looking for a vibrant urban lifestyle. Here, expats can find trendy apartment buildings and modern high-rises that offer stunning views of the city skyline. The central location also puts them within easy reach of the city's top restaurants, bars and cultural attractions.
For families, several suburbs in Auckland offer a relaxed, family-friendly atmosphere. Suburbs like Mount Eden, Epsom and Remuera are popular with families thanks to their excellent schools, beautiful parks and charming local shops and cafés.
For those who love the sea, there are a few neighbourhoods in Auckland that offer easy access to the city's picturesque coastline. Areas like Devonport, Takapuna, and Mission Bay are all located on or near the beach and offer a relaxed, laid-back lifestyle. Expats living in these areas can enjoy everything from swimming and surfing to beachside dining and shopping.
Multiple affordable areas in Auckland offer great value for money. Suburbs like Papatoetoe, Otahuhu, and Mangere are all located in South Auckland and offer a diverse range of affordable housing options, from single-family homes to apartments. These areas are also generally well-connected to the city centre via public transport, making them a convenient choice for those on a budget.
Types of accommodation in Auckland
As the city has developed into an urban sprawl, with various areas and suburbs, there are many types of accommodation in Auckland. While the city centre mostly offers apartments, Auckland's many suburbs offer expats a mix of 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 a distinct character and vibe, and expats should determine which area best suits them before starting the house hunt. Another critical consideration is proximity to both work and school. Many Aucklanders either own cars or rely on buses, so traffic throughout the city can be severe.
Furnished and unfurnished
Fully furnished properties are hard to come by in Auckland. Most expats, especially those seeking larger houses, end up renting unfurnished accommodation and will therefore need to budget for either shipping their belongings or buying new furniture.
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 in Auckland is extensive, fast-paced and competitive, expats should also consider approaching a real-estate agency. These agencies usually have intimate knowledge of the local market, as well as access to housing deals that might not be listed online. Agencies can be found throughout the city, and expats shouldn't have 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 expats in searching for the perfect property.
Making an application
Expats can apply for accommodation by responding to an advertisement online or elsewhere, or directly contacting an estate agent or landlord. Although, references from previous landlords are typically required when making an application, some may choose to forego the references in return for a larger deposit. The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) deals with housing legislation and official processes, making applying for accommodation smooth and easy.
A rental tenancy agreement (RTA) is legally required for renting accommodation. Real-estate agents tend to only deal with fixed-term contracts 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.
Costs and fees
Rent in Auckland is usually paid weekly, and the prices advertised represent this weekly sum. Due to the recently passed Residential Tenancies Act, agents may no longer charge tenants a fee for their services and are paid by the landlords instead.
Renting shared accommodation is also popular because of the high cost of rent. 'Flatting' (sharing a house with others) or 'boarding' (renting a room in someone's home) are standard 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. The deposit, also called a bond, is something expats must remember when looking for accommodation, as the initial sum required is typically quite considerable, especially if they cannot provide references.
While the landlord will cover the rates and home insurance, any expats wanting contents insurance must pay for it. Utilities are also typically not included in the rent.
In Auckland, water is provided by Watercare, a council-controlled organisation responsible for supplying water to the Auckland region. Water bills are sent out every three months, and payment can be made online or via automatic payment.
There are several electricity and gas providers in Auckland, including Genesis Energy, Mercury, and Contact Energy. Expats can compare rates and plans on websites such as Glimp or Powerswitch. Piped gas is not available in some parts of Auckland, so it's important to check availability in the specific area.
Auckland Council provides rubbish and recycling services to households across the region. There are different collection days for different areas, and residents can check their collection days online on the Auckland Council website. Rubbish is collected weekly, and recycling is collected fortnightly.
Expats should familiarise themselves with the rules around what can and cannot be recycled in Auckland, as there are some differences compared to other parts of New Zealand. Items such as glass bottles and jars, plastic bottles, paper and cardboard are eligible for recycling in Auckland while plastic bags and food, garden as well as medical waste have separate recycling systems.
►For more detail, check out Accommodation in New Zealand
►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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