Five not-so-obvious ways to get into the property market

Looking at buying your first home in the near future? You may be wondering how exactly you’re going to do it.

With house prices rising all around New Zealand, you may feel that the goal of home ownership is moving further out of reach. But before you throw in the towel, know this: there may be more ways than you think to get on to the property ladder, particularly if you’re willing to apply a bit of lateral thinking. Here are some examples.

Buying with friends (or others)

Have you considered pooling your resources with others? 

Some people buy as groups of friends and live in a property together, or rent it out. There are also services that match buyers with investors who have money to contribute and want a slice of the eventual capital gain. 

The most important thing is to make sure you have a good agreement drawn up by lawyers to understand everyone’s rights and obligations.

Buy elsewhere

If you live in a big city, you don’t necessarily need to buy your first property there. 

Some smaller centres offer significantly more affordable properties. You could buy somewhere that you might like to move eventually, or simply use the property to build up some equity that you can leverage into your first owner-occupier home. 

Depending on whether the property will be owner-occupied or not, you may be able to use your KiwiSaver funds to help with the deposit.

Buy smaller

In bigger centres, high-density living is on the rise. There are affordable apartments and townhouses in many new developments, which could be a way of starting your home ownership journey sooner rather than later.

Of course, you don’t have to live there forever. Although it might not be the big house of your dreams, paying down the mortgage on a smaller home for a while will give you a powerful platform to take your next step up the property ladder.

Get stuck into some DIY

If you don’t mind getting your hands dirty, and have some building experience (or know someone who does), you may find that one of the best ways to achieve property market success is to buy a place in need of some TLC.

Snapping up the “worst house on the best street” and then renovating it can be a good way to build equity. If you can live in it while you do it up, not only will you be saving on rent and paying off your mortgage, but your hard work should quickly improve the value of the property.

If you can, look for places that are structurally sound but cosmetically in need of attention, as they tend to produce the best returns on your ‘sweat’ equity.


This option relies on having willing family members, but it’s worth considering. If you have parents with a large section who don’t like the idea of having to look after it as they get older, you may be able to solve their problem (and yours) by subdividing.

If the rest of the family agrees, you could carve off a bit of land as an early inheritance to build a house.

In a similar vein, some people opt to buy “shares” in their parents’ homes to provide the retirees with a bit of cash to spend and the younger generation with some exposure to the property market. 

Whatever you do, get a solid legal agreement in place before you start.

Need advice?

If you’re ready to make your move, or even just wondering what’s possible, get in touch. We can help you navigate the process, whatever strategy you’re taking.

Disclaimer: Please note that the content provided in this article is intended as an overview and as general information only. While care is taken to ensure accuracy and reliability, the information provided is subject to continuous change and may not reflect current development or address your situation. Before making any decisions based on the information provided in this article, please use your discretion and seek independent guidance.

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