Single-family homes are widely available in almost every area of Greater Auckland, with the exception of the CBD and parts of other city-close suburbs in the Central City. Architectural styles vary greatly, from simple workers’ cottages and state houses to elaborate, Victorian-style villas to modern architectural homes. Obviously, privacy and pride of ownership are advantages, along with yard space and the freedom to add a swimming pool or tennis court to your home. Disadvantages would be expense, as well as the expense of maintaining a yard.
Townhouses are basically single-family houses on smaller plots of land, often with no, or very little, yard. They are available in most areas of Auckland, especially where newer construction is available but land is expensive, such as city-close suburbs like Parnell and Newmarket. They are often just as large inside as traditional houses. Some, called “terrace houses” are attached to other townhouses; some are part of large “complexes,” while others are freestanding and independently owned. Townhouses are ideal for residents who want a “lock up and leave” lifestyle with no yard to maintain, but the traditional layout and amenities of a house. Disadvantages include the possibility of paying dues to a “Body Corporate” for maintenance if the townhouse is on jointly-owned land, and difficulty in modifying or altering your house or property. Also, many terrace houses constructed in the 1980s and 1990s suffer from water-tightness issues, called leaky-building syndrome, so if you are planning to purchase, make sure you have the property thoroughly inspected.
A unit is traditionally a smaller home in a small multiple-residence building. These buildings usually have between two and four units, and are found in most areas of Auckland. Units are usually simple in design and most often contain two bedrooms, a kitchen and a living area, and a single bathroom. Many also have a small yard. Remodeled units can be very stylish and comfortable. The primary advantage is price – units are usually inexpensive to purchase and often make ideal first homes, and the bonus of a private yard is nice. The small size is a disadvantage, as is the fact that an owner cannot remodel the outside of a unit.
Auckland City is full of apartments in all sizes and price ranges. They can be found in large, high-rise buildings, as well as smaller complexes with outside access. Unlike in many cities, Auckland apartments are usually freehold and privately owned. Advantages include convenience and access to amenities – apartments are usually located close to restaurants, shops and other businesses. Body Corporate fees, parking fees and the lack of private outdoor space are the most common disadvantages.
These are large properties in rural areas where owners can also grow crops, raise animals or simply spread out. They can be found to the north, west, south and east of Auckland, outside the central city. Houses are usually large and have usually either been lavishly remodeled or newly constructed. Typical extras include swimming pools and spas, and sometimes tennis courts. Lifestyle is a huge advantage – living in a lifestyle block is like owning your own resort. Disadvantages include distance to the city and even basic amenities like shops and restaurants.