The cost of living in New Zealand: Your ultimate guide (2018 Update)

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Cost Of Living In New Zealand

One of the main research point for our clients is the cost of living in New Zealand. Time and again clients tell us they want to know that they’ll be able to live comfortably.

This has lead us to put together the ultimate guide to the cost of living in New Zealand – and today we’re sharing it with you.

You’ll get a better understanding of how much money you could expect to earn and what your average living costs would be:

  • Housing
  • Utilities
  • Groceries
  • Transport

We’ll even tell you where to go do a realistic cost-of-living calculation. But first let’s look at how much you could expect to earn…

Salary

As in all countries, salaries range by profession, experience and skill level. To get an idea of what you could earn in your job, have a look at the salary guide on TradeMe.

To see where you can expect the most of your money to go, have a look at the information on figure.nz.

Housing

You can choose to rent or buy a home in New Zealand. You might have to rent a home when you first arrive so let’s start there:

Renting:

Trade Me Property reports that the national median rent rose 4.4 per cent to an all-time high of $470 per week in January. Renters in Wellington paid an average of NZ$550 per week, while those in Auckland and Christchurch paid NZ$540 and NZ$400 respectively.

New Zealand rent

The costs involved

The initial costs will include a portion of the rent in advance, a letting fee if you use an agent and a bond.

A landlord can ask for a maximum of two weeks rent in advance while you can expect that the bond (or deposit) will be equal to four weeks’ rent. This means you’ll have to pay up up to six weeks of rent upfront.

You’ll get the bond back at the end of the leasing term, provided you leave the place in a good condition.

To do a search for rental prices in the area you plan on staying, go to TenancyServices, a website hosted by the New Zealand Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.

Buying:

New Zealand’s property market ended 2017 ‘with record asking prices’.

While small (1-2 bedrooms) and medium houses (3-4 bedrooms) continue to be the most popular house type across the country, large (5+ bedrooms) and medium houses reached a record high in December of last year, climbing to $1,156,400 and $641,850 respectively.

The regions with the biggest percentage increases in property prices were:

  • Southland (13.5%);
  • Otago (13.3%);
  • Hawke’s Bay (12.8%); and
  • Wanganui (12.2%).

You can check the median values of homes in any region, city or even street on QV.co.nz for an accurate estimate for how much you could expect to pay for your New Zealand home.

New Zealand house purchase finalised

Keep this in mind: Property ads in New Zealand usually show either an RV (Rateable Value), GV (Government Valuation) or CV (Council Valuation) figure. These figures refer to the valuation used by the local council to calculate rates for the property. These aren’t registered valuations and often don’t reflect the property’s true market value.

Utilities

The main utilities for any home would be water and electricity. Of course an internet connection is also considered essential in this day and age.

Water:

Most regional councils charge for the water they supply and the rates vary from region to region. If you own your home, the cost is added to your rates as water rates.

Electricity:

When it comes to electricity, you’ll find that there are a number of electricity and gas retailers in New Zealand. You can search for the best deal on the PowerSwitch website run by ConsumerNZ and MBIE Consumer Affairs.

Internet:

There are a range of internet service providers to choose from in New Zealand. Glimp lets you compare providers by price, speed, data and plan specifics. You can also use Broadband Compare for service provider comparisons.

Transport

While public transport is available in New Zealand, most New Zealanders choose to own a car and drive to where they need to be.

Choosing to also go this route means you’ll need to buy a car once you get to New Zealand. You can use New Zealand’s AA website to see how much your favourite car will cost you new, but here are a couple of prices to start you off:

  • Ford Fiesta: From NZ$25, 490
  • Citroën C4: From NZ$36,990
  • Hyundai Sonata: From NZ$45,990
  • Maza CX-9: From NZ$58,490
  • Toyota FJ Cruiser: NZ$66,930

What about insurance and petrol?

Insurance is not compulsory in New Zealand but third party insurance will insure you against having to personally pay the cost of damage to someone else’s vehicle. Petrol prices are on the AA’s site where regularly updates are published.

Groceries

The general rule is that local produce will be cheaper than imported items.

Keep in mind that imported items travel very far due to New Zealand’s ‘end of the earth’ location. This means you might pay considerably more for certain items than you’re used to.

Numbeo is a great site if you’d like to see how much food items are in New Zealand. The site lists most of the items the average person will have on their shopping list, from milk and rice to chicken breasts, bananas and lettuce.

And, as promised – how to do a realistic cost-of-living calculation

We said we’ll tell you where to go for a realistic calculation of your cost of living and here it is:

You can use New Zealand Now’s cost calculator. You can tailor your income and expenses (be sure to click on the + signs on the expenses!) and adjust to a monthly or weekly outlook.

Of course here at Intergate we like to go the extra mile, so here is a bonus tip to end off our guide to the cost of living in New Zealand:

New Zealand price comparison site

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