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The Best Neighborhoods in Auckland For Young Professionals

Picture of Joe Coates
Updated: 6 April 2018
Auckland is a very much on the cutting edge of what is cool ad relevant when it comes to life and culture in New Zealand. The largest city in the country by a good million people, it leads the way in many aspects of Kiwi life. So, where should you live in this metropolis if you’re an up and coming young professional? Dive into our guide to find out.

Auckland City

This is the obvious choice for those young professionals moving from other big cities who want to be in the thick of it. If you want to be able to work and play in the same area then the C.B.D is the logical choice to have a look at first. Chances are you’re going to be renting in this part of town if you’re just starting out in the career game. Saying that though, you can still pick up studio apartments in the heart of the city for around $220,000 NZD. They aren’t big, but if you want the convenience of being able to walk to work, head out for a few beers afterwards and then stroll home or catch the bus then it could be the way to go. In a dream scenario you really want to be living in the Viaduct area. This place basically exploded with the Americas Cup and hasn’t settled down since. The city centre is also pretty well-endowed with parks, so if you do start to feel like a rat in a concrete cage then outdoor spaces aren’t too far way. At the end of the day, if you want convenience while you make your way up the career ladder, then inner city is living is pretty hard to beat.

Auckland City
Auckland City from Mt. Eden | © russellstreet / Flickr

Ponsonby

This suburb is the natural habitat of the “Dorklander”. If you’re not from New Zealand then you might not know what this means, but you’d probably be able to guess. Ponsonby residents tend to have the reputation – whether it’s justified or not is not for us too speculate on – of being people with lots of disposable income who want the finer things in life. They might drop the kids off to school in the Porsche family wagon and then hit their local cafe for an organic or raw something or other. They’re the sort of people who call the colour brown mocha. Whether this is true or not, it must be said that this area of town is very much on the cutting edge of all things trendy and fashionable. And if you’re looking to be one of the in-crowd then you’ll have to be prepared to pay for it. There are some of the best independent restaurants in the city here, as well as many fabulous bars and shops. It’s not too far from the city, which means the chances of picking up a rental that isn’t like the shoe-box studios you get when in the city is better. All in all, it’s a wonderful place to call home, so long as you know your afternoon teas from your fikas.

Ponsonby
Ponsonby Christmas Decoration | © russellstreet / Flickr

Grey Lynn

Grey Lynn is getting more and more popular with the young professional crowd thanks to its reputation as an artistic and creative hub. It is also seen as a slightly cheaper alternative to neighbouring Ponsonby, and traditional home to free-thinkers and anti-establishment types – and this is all to the good as it attracts an eclectic group of people, and some truly incredible restaurants, bars and cafes. It’s a great commuter suburb, being only 10 or so minutes’ drive (on a good day) from the C.B.D. What is great about it is that it isn’t totally gentrified yet. Yes, you may run into a local celebrity at the supermarket, but you might also run into the local crazy cat lady. It still feels local and you’ll be bumping into people all the time, yet at the same time it gives the impression of having more space than neighbouring Ponsonby. We would lean towards Grey Lynn over Ponsonby with regards to buying or renting, as you’ll get more for your money and the potential for looking like a financial property genius in the not-so-distant future is high.

Shihad
Shihad at Grey Lynn Park | © Sara / Flickr

Parnell

The days of Parnell being the home of scruffy artistic types is now, sadly, a thing of the past, and it has now become the most desirable location to call home in all of Auckland. This is reflected by the average house price, which currently stands at an eye-watering $2,000,000 NZD for a three-bedroom place. The buildings are beautiful though, and you can see why so many want to move here. If you fancy a place in the Hollywood Hills of Auckland, we can’t blame you. It’s a good spot for schools, too, so once you’ve climbed that corporate ladder and got the two kids and the Labrador, you’ll be set!

Parnell
Living the dream in Parnell | © russellstreet / Flickr

Meadowbank

Many families with school-age children buy here. The local primary schools are excellent and the homes are comparatively affordable compared to Remuera and the Eastern Bays. That isn’t to say that young professionals – whether they be single or couples – aren’t starting to see the possibilities in living slightly more removed from the city. Yes, it’ll mean more of a commute and a bit more of a mission if you need to run into the city during the weekend, but you can get your shopping sorted if you head east, and you’re right by the water. Ellerslie is a much older suburb with affordable villas and bungalows, but that’s changing and it’s become increasingly popular with professional couples. If you want a life in the suburbs whilst working in the city then this could be a great option.

Onehunga

Onehunga’s population is very diverse. Singles love the affordability and the shops, families love the big sections, and immigrants love the easy access to some of Auckland’s largest industrial – and therefore employment – areas. That mix gives it a relaxed and unpretentious air, something that is sometimes a little hard to come by when looking for a place to live in Auckland. A few years ago, there were bargains aplenty to be had in Onehunga. It was the perfect spot for young professionals to get their toe on the property ladder. Unfortunately and predictably those days are now over, but if you want a larger section and a bigger house and don’t mind a drive into work, Onehunga is somewhere you should have a look at.

Onehunga
Onehunga tracks to nowhere | © lastextremeanonymous / Flickr

Mt. Albert

In the last few years Mt. Albert has become a popular suburb for those living in Ponsonby and Grey Lynn who wanted more room for the kids to grow up. There are some stunning views to be had around this part of the city, and some beautiful old houses. There is a downside though, and it’s that Mt. Albert has yet to be gentrified like the suburbs closer to the C.B.D. Whilst this could turn off the young professional, there are still heaps of potential for this to be the next Grey Lynn. For those looking for a bit of room, maybe a yard for the dog to run about, then Mt. Albert is a smart choice. Most houses were built during the 1920s to 1940s and many of these gracious bungalows remain spruced up and beautifully renovated, and for many that beats a tiny apartment in the city – even if it does mean a longer commute.

Mt. Albert
Something for the young professional to aim for in Mt. Albert | © GPS 56 / Flickr