Cheapest Rent in New Zealand: Least Expensive Places To Live in 2024

New Zealand is breathtakingly beautiful, and everything about living here is amazing – except the cost of living and property prices. It is not a lucrative market for first-time homebuyers as weekly rent and house prices are way above most people’s affordability.

However, no need to fret – we will give you a list of ideal places with the most affordable rent or house prices. We also accompany this information with other living conditions so you can check the whole package and decide if any of these is going to be your next home.

Here are New Zealand’s cheapest regions to rent and buy a house:

  1. West Coast
  2. Christchurch
  3. Rotorua
  4. Palmerston (Otago)
  5. Invercargill
  6. Gisborne
  7. Whanganui (Manawatū-Whanganui)

Related: House prices in New Zealand in 2024.

Watch the full video about the cheapest place to live in New Zealand.

Most affordable places for rent in New Zealand in 2024

1. West Coast

The West Coast lies at the western boundary of the South Island of New Zealand and comprises three districts – Buller, Westland, and Grey Districts.

What’s even better is that despite all the low house prices, you will be living with very few nosy neighbors. The total population of the whole region is nearly 32,000 residents (2019 data).

If you can’t believe your luck, the median house prices fall near NZ$350-600k, for a 2 to 3-bedroom house. You can rent a 2-3 bedroom house on West Coast for about NZ$300-400 per week. 

In addition, you are totally spoiled for options because there are three major districts where you can buy cheap houses. In 2023, Buller District house prices fall around NZ$380,000, Grey District is around NZ$375,000, and Westland house prices are nearly NZ$410,000, according to REINZ’s latest report.

The overall cost of living is quite low as well. Based on data from 2022, the mean household income of people living in this region is NZ$85,419 per year.

Having a minimal population also comes with the issue that job opportunities are pretty limited in the region. On the plus side, you won’t face any traffic jams or noisy city centers.

There is one more thing that you should know before you purchase a home there – being on West Coast means it is frequently exposed to extreme weather. So, better to buy/rent a house that is least susceptible to damage from flooding, etc.

2. Christchurch

Christchurch is the largest city on the South Island, New Zealand. According to the 2022 census, there were around 389,000 people, including the suburban and remote rural areas.

If you want to buy a house there, you can easily get one with 2 to 3 bedrooms for NZ$500,000 to $750,000. In 2023, the median house price in Christchurch was NZ$678,000. If you are looking to rent a similar-sized place, you will be looking at a weekly rent of about NZ$500-600.

Read more about Christchurch.

The cost of living in CHCH is a little higher compared to smaller, neighboring towns, but you also get the luxury of living in a major city. There are many job opportunities in almost all major industries, and the average salary will be near NZ$69k.

Christchurch has all the amenities of a large-scale city, and there are heaps of job opportunities in all the major industries. The massive earthquakes in 2010 and 2011 destroyed a major part of the city, thus rebuilding the city essentially from scratch, resulting in a much improved and stable city.

Which city is the best in terms of job opportunities?

3. Rotorua

With a population of about 65,000 residents, Rotorua is the second major city after Tauranga in the Bay of Plenty region of New Zealand.

Fordlands is a suburb in western Rotorua which has particularly cheap housing options. With a population of about 2,500 people in 2022, no wonder the house prices are so low to invite other people to this suburb. The population of Rotorua District is 71,877.

Given that Bay of Plenty is famous for so many reasons, you will be surprised to see that the median price for buying a house is nearly NZ$840,000 (-6,7%) in 2023. Get ready to be shocked because you can buy a 2-3 bedroom house for NZ$400,000 in Fordlands. 

If you want to rent a place with 2-3 bedrooms anywhere in Rotorua, then the weekly expense will be around NZ$450-600.

The cost of living isn’t ideal but isn’t abysmal either – you will get nearly NZ$2,500 monthly after tax. However, do remember that rent, utilities, and most expenses in New Zealand are paid on a weekly basis.

The median annual household income for residents of Rotorua is about NZ$110,441. Job opportunities are ample, but most industries rely on catering to the tourists that come to this region.

The geothermal craters, hot springs, geysers, and mud pools in this region give it its distinctive edge over the rest of the country and also its sharp smell. If you can live with that smell hovering over you all the time, get your first house now.

4. Palmerston

Palmerston is a town in South Island, 50km away from Dunedin, and lies in the Waitaki District in Otago region. It’s a major town in the District with a population of almost 1,000 residents in 2022.

Don’t mistake Palmerston for Palmerston North on a North Island. It’s a significantly larger and more expensive city.

Rent prices for two-bedroom houses are around NZ$400. The median house price in Palmerston, Waitaki, in August 2023 was NZ$375,000.

When it comes to the cost of living, Palmerston is quite affordable compared with other places in New Zealand. Yearly, residents of Palmerston earn around NZ$61,000. You wouldn’t get the job opportunities like in other big cities, but there are good chances of landing a fairly decent job.

It’s known for its coastal walks, mountain views, and abundant wildlife. If you want to enjoy a relaxed lifestyle at affordable rates, Palmerston should be your choice.

5. Invercargill

Source: Photo credit Phillip Capper

This southernmost city of the country, Invercargill lies in the Southland plains, this city is a hotspot for anyone fleeing the hefty house prices in North Island to settle in a medium-sized, decent town in South Island. Based on the census of 2018, there were about 54,000 people living in Invercargill.

If you are wondering about buying a 2-3 bedroom house in Invercargill, then you can easily find homes in the market for NZ$400,000 to NZ$500,000, while the median price was NZ$440,000 in 2023. Renting is cheap as well for a similar-sized house at weekly NZ$300-450.

The cost of living is at the lower end of the spectrum, and you can even get NZ$3,000+ after-tax when living in Invercargill. The yearly average salary is around NZ$59,500, while most households have an annual income ranging from NZ$50,001-NZ$60,000 to NZ$70,001-NZ$100,000.

Job opportunities are primarily in retail, tourism, and agriculture, but you can maintain a decent lifestyle living here.

It’s known for its museums, parks, and wildlife reserves. The cost of living in Invercargill is relatively low, making it an affordable place for those who want to avoid the hustle of bigger cities.

Invercargill is also on our list of the best places to buy a property in New Zealand.

6. Gisborne

Source: Photo credit – itravelNZ® – New Zealand in your pocket

Gisborne is a coastal city located on the east coast of the North Island of New Zealand. It has roughly 49,000 people living there (in 2020).

Rent for a place with two to three bedrooms would be roughly NZ$500-600, and buying such a house would be roughly NZ$600,000. The median home price in Gisborne was $575,000 (-7.3%) in 2023.

The cost of living in Gisborne is relatively low, making it an affordable place to live for those who want to enjoy the coastal lifestyle.

The average salary on a yearly basis would be around NZ$70,000, which is fairly good given the rates for residential properties. The job opportunities aren’t skyrocketing in terms of salaries, but it’s still a decent market.

It’s known for its beautiful beaches, vineyards, and surfing spots. So, if that’s the lifestyle you want, then affordable housing is waiting for you in Gisborne.

7. Whanganui

For those looking to save money while living in the Manawatū-Whanganui region of North Island, it’s good news that Whanganui is one of the cheapest places to live in New Zealand. A population of 48,000 residents (in 2022) makes it a medium-sized town for this region.

Rental prices for a two to three bedroom property are around NZ$400-500, and if you want to buy such a house, then the cost will be around NZ$350,000 to $500,000. In June 2023, the median home value was NZ$430,000 across all of Whanganui District.

Since it’s a small town, the living cost will save you about NZ$2,208 after taxes per month. The average yearly salary for people in this town is NZ$65,000. Unfortunately, job opportunities in Whanganui are pretty limited, with its economy focusing on farming and manufacturing.

While the city is rich in culture and history, there isn’t much to attract new people towards it, hence, you won’t see many expats settling there.

Other affordable cities to live in New Zealand

  • Hamilton
  • Dunedin
  • Palmerston North
  • Napier
  • Timaru
  • Taupo
  • Greymouth
  • Oamaru
  • Wairarapa District

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