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A house in Dunedin, New Zealand | © Mr Thinktank/Flickr
A house in Dunedin, New Zealand | © Mr Thinktank/Flickr

The Most Affordable Cities in New Zealand to Move to

Picture of Thalita Alves
Updated: 11 January 2018

Truth be told, New Zealand housing isn’t cheap. Flatting tends to be the most affordable option in the main centres like Auckland and Wellington but, as it stands, pricing and demand might not be to everyone’s favour. If you want to reduce your living costs, consider basing yourself in these smaller cities.

Christchurch

The largest city on the South Island was the only place to experience a drop in rent prices at the end of 2017. Rent is paid weekly in New Zealand, and on average you can expect to pay around NZ$390 per week for a two-bedroom rental in Christchurch. Flourishing professional sectors in the city include manufacturing, IT and, thanks to the earthquake rebuild, construction. The tourism and farming industries also play a strong part in the local economy.

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Tram going across New Regent Street, Christchurch | © Bernard Spragg/Flickr

Dunedin

The second-largest city in the South Island, Dunedin, is another place with reasonable rent prices. You can expect to pay an average of NZ$265-NZ$340 per week for an unfurnished two-bedroom house, depending on which suburb you’ve selected. Dunedin is traditionally a student town, so it’s best to avoid North Dunedin if you’re moving with your family. The local economy thrives on sectors like education, health, communications and tourism.

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A house in Dunedin, New Zealand | © Mr Thinktank/Flickr

Whanganui

The North Island city of Whanganui is continuously touted as the most affordable place to live in New Zealand. Besides having a median rent price of NZ$235 per week, the provincial city is attractive because of its rich heritage, a burgeoning economy, the relaxed lifestyle and the trove natural wonders that are within reach, including one of New Zealand’s best multi-day hikes.

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Whanganui, New Zealand | © Henry Burrows/Flickr

Rotorua

Rotorua has always been a place for cheaper rents and houses, and now more people are seeking to reap the benefits. The city did experience a rapid surge in house prices in 2017, but things simmered down at the end of the year.  Expect to pay an average weekly rent of NZ$265-NZ$305 for an unfurnished two-bedroom home. Industries like tourism, forestry, agribusiness and geothermal development are at the forefront of Rotorua’s economy.

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Rotorua, New Zealand | © Rajeev Rajagopalan/Flickr

Hamilton

New Zealand’s largest inland city enjoys a convenient location within easy reach of Auckland, Rotorua and tourist hot-spots like Waitomo and Hobbiton. Average rental prices for a two-bedroom house fall between the NZ$320-NZ$350 mark. Besides being handy to lots of places, Hamilton’s growing business sector is showing great promise: some people believe this will be New Zealand’s second largest city within the next couple of decades.

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University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand | © Mark Pegrum/Flickr

Whangarei

Many Aucklanders have been relocating to Northland in the pursuit of cheaper housing. While this has led to a house price spike, the city of Whangarei, just a couple of hours’ north of Auckland, is still quite affordable to move to. Similar to Hamilton, Whangarei rental prices for two-bedroom houses are around NZ$255-$320 per week. The city is also  just a short drive from some of the wonderful sights and attractions of the Bay of Islands.

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Whangarei, New Zealand | © ItravelNZ/Flickr