Buying guide

These are the cheapest places to live in New Zealand

New Zealand is expensive - but these cities and towns aren’t

Last updated: 2 April 2024

New Zealand is a phenomenal place to live, packed with natural beauty and friendly people. But life in this little country at the bottom of the world isn’t cheap, mainly because housing is so expensive, whether you’re renting or buying. 

Luckily there are affordable areas in New Zealand if you know where to look - these are the cheapest places to live in New Zealand. 

West Coast - the cheapest place to live in New Zealand

The West Coast is the cheapest place to live in New Zealand, whether you’re renting or buying a house. 

  • The average rent is far lower than any other region, with three bedroom standalone houses renting for as little as $400 a week on Trade Me Property and one bedroom self-contained units starting at $250 to $300. 

  • If you’re looking to buy, the West Coast is home to some of the cheapest houses in New Zealand - you’ll find properties for under $200,000 if you look hard enough. 

  • In fact, the cheapest property sold in 2023 was in a West Coast town called Runanga - it went for just $57,000. 

The West Coast isn’t just the cheapest, it’s one of the most beautiful places in New Zealand with wild, windswept beaches, untouched glaciers and fabulous hiking. 


Southland is another of the cheapest places to live in New Zealand. The average rental property here costs $430 a week and the average home costs just over $500,000. Look a little closer and there are even cheaper regions in Southland, such as Taupere, which has a median house price of just $280,050, according to Opes Partners. 

Similar to the West Coast, Southland is also known for its natural beauty. There’s great surfing at the Catlins, the wild and wonderful Fiordland and of course, delicious Bluff oysters. 

Invercargill is the biggest city in Southland and one of the cheapest cities in NZ.

Christchurch: Cheapest major city in New Zealand

Christchurch has the lowest cost of living of any major city in New Zealand by a large margin -  compared to Wellington and Auckland, this southern centre is a bargain. The average rent here is $550 a week, and if you’re looking to buy, the average one to two bedroom home goes for $528,550.

The cheapest places to live in Auckland

Auckland has some of the world’s least affordable property, with an average asking price on Trade Me Property of $1,225,950. Rent here is expensive too, averaging $660 per week - more than any region except the Bay of Plenty. 

But if you look a little closer you’ll find affordable suburbs in Auckland

For example, in Auckland central there are thousands of small apartments starting at around $300 per week for a one bedroom. Further away from the city centre the average three bedroom home goes for a bit more than $500 per week in areas like Tuakau, Waiuku, Pukekohe, Ōtara  and Rānui

There are even some cheap rentals going on the beachy, breezy North Shore - a three bedroom home averages around $600 a week in Beach Haven. 

Auckland is expensive, unless you know where to look.

Find the cheapest places to live in New Zealand yourself

Whether you fancy a nosy or you’re looking for somewhere to call home, you can use Trade Me Property to find the cheapest places to live in New Zealand (or an affordable home in the city of your choice). 

It’s easy - just visit choose for sale or for rent, pick a location and a price range and hit search.

Or to find the cheapest houses for sale in New Zealand

  • Visit Trade Me Property

  • Select sale and All New Zealand

  • Then filter prices high to low and see what you find. 

Right now there’s almost 20,000 sq m of land in Southland for less than an Auckland car park, and a bach near Christchurch for under $100,000!


Ben Tutty
Ben Tutty

Ben Tutty is a regular contributor for Trade Me and he's also contributed to Stuff and the Informed Investor. He's got 10+ years experience as both a journalist and website copywriter, specialising in real estate, finance and tourism. Ben lives in Wānaka with his partner and his best mate (Finnegan the whippet).