Waiheke Island, has been referred to as the island suburb of Auckland, although not a term generally favoured by locals, the reality is that many choose to live here because the city is in close proximity. Waiheke’s far enough away to be reasonably isolated yet close enough to have everything the city offers within reach.
Many choose to live on Waiheke because of the lifestyle they can have access to. Here we are spoilt for choice with beautiful, safe, swimming beaches, we have access to a good number of walking tracks, parks, and reserves, we have all the essential services we need and none of the big-box retailers, and we enjoy being part of a small, lively, generous and caring community.
The island offers a quieter lifestyle too, one removed from the noise and pace of the city. There are no traffic problems here unless you count finding a parking space down at Matiatia, and the only ‘peak traffic’ times to consider are the ‘mad-dash’ down to the ferry just before it’s due to depart and the queue of returning traffic.
Living on Waiheke though adds additional expenses to your budget such as the cost of ferry travel to and from the island. Groceries, produce, fuel, hardware, whiteware, appliances and pretty much everything else that is brought over to the island will cost more to purchase because of the increased costs of getting it here in the first place.
The cost of real estate here is comparable with the Auckland market. The NZ Property Report for April 2013 states the average asking price in Auckland has reached a new record high of $612,167, compared with the national average of $447,275. With currently over 150 houses on the market on Waiheke, and not counting anything over the 1 million mark, the average asking price on Waiheke Island is currently just over $600,000.
Given that the average annual household income in New Zealand is $82,029, with the average annual individual salary/wage being $46,169 the reality is that houses in this price bracket and higher are out-of-reach of the average income earner.
Obviously the other concern with real estate on Waiheke Island is that the properties at the lower end of the market are seldom quality properties suitable for families. Many in the lower price bracket will be only 1 or 2 bedrooms, may be located on a steep or bush site with no outside garden area, lack good sunlight, be in poor condition, or be built without consents.
The rental market on Waiheke Island is a tricky one too with high demand for affordable 3-4 bedroom long-term rentals suitable for families. Unfortunately on Waiheke the demand is greater than the supply and securing a good rental property can be quite a challenging experience. We know as we have been in this position.
Yet, as challenging as the additional living costs can be, we find a way to absorb them and choose to live here for the same reason as many other families. It’s all about the lifestyle.