New Zealand Cities With The Highest Cost Of Living

Date Jun 30, 2021
Blog category Broadband
Blog category Mobile
Blog category Mortgage
Blog category Power
By Sieg C
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Let's be honest: New Zealand isn’t an affordable country by any measure. On average, a family of four spends at least $6,000 per month, with some spending up to $8,000 monthly! Depending on your location, this can double and even triple, especially in big cities like Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch. 

There are different reasons why New Zealand has become expensive. One of the major reasons is its isolation from the rest of the world. Being an island, all goods are imported from outside the country. This means high import taxes, which skyrocket the prices of products. Lack of competition in most sectors also drives up the prices in the country.

What are the most expensive cities in New Zealand and why are they so pricey? How much is the minimum cost of living in these cities? On the other hand, what are the most affordable cities in the country and how much is their minimum cost of living?

Note:

  • All listed prices are in NZD, based on Expatistan
  • Prices are only estimates as of 28 June 2021
  • Prices aren’t absolute and may contain inconsistencies

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What are the most expensive cities in New Zealand?

It’s no shocker that the most expensive cities in New Zealand are also its biggest. Topping this list is Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, and Queenstown. Despite the high prices, these cities also boast the highest opportunities for jobs and leisure. This makes them appealing to both the local New Zealanders and expats. 

Auckland

The biggest city in New Zealand is also its most expensive. Auckland has some of the highest prices for goods, services, food, entertainment, and rent. While the city boasts some of the highest job opportunities, it’s not proportional to its size of almost 1,630,000 residents

If you live alone in Auckland, you need at least $4,379 per month, including rent. For a family of four, this sums up to about $7,984 per month.

Rental One-bedroom flat Up to $2,414 per month
Three-bedroom flat Up to $3,600 per month
Utility Electricity, heating, gas, etc. Up to $456 per month
Broadband (100Mbps) Starts at $90 per month
Mobile plan Up to $100 per month
Shopping Grocery/ Food Up to $115 one-off
Personal care Up to $160 one-off
Clothes Up to $600 one-off
Transportation Public transport Starts at $208 per month
Taxi Starts at $30 per 8 kilometres
Petrol Starts at $2.01 per litre
Leisure Pubs, theatres, gym, etc. Up to $615 one-off

If you can settle in the suburbs, you can save anywhere between $400 and $950 on rental alone! Auckland North Shore also tends to be slightly cheaper than Auckland Central, despite being a bridge away.

Wellington

New Zealand’s capital city has the second-highest cost of living. Wellington is developing fast especially in the administration and finance sectors, causing the housing prices to skyrocket. The great news is, the city has a complex system of interconnected public transport! This means that you can live in the suburbs and work in the city centre without worries.

A single person living in Wellington must earn at least $3,843 per month to avail of the minimum cost of living. A family of four needs to collectively earn at least $6,890 per month as a household.

Rental One-bedroom flat Up to $2,215 per month
Three-bedroom flat Up to $3,290 per month
Utility Electricity, heating, gas, etc. Up to $196 per month
Broadband (100Mbps) Starts at $90 per month
Mobile plan Up to $100 per month
Shopping Grocery/ Food Up to $100 one-off
Personal care Up to $135 one-off
Clothes Up to $540 one-off
Transportation Public transport Starts at $150 per month
Taxi Starts at $29 per 8 kilometres
Petrol Starts at $2.10 per litre
Leisure Pubs, theatres, gym, etc. Up to $466 one-off

Wellington is 17% cheaper than Auckland, and it gets even more affordable in the suburbs. However, housing may become more expensive than in Auckland in a few years. TradeMe’s Rental Price Index recorded a 3% year-on-year increase in rental prices in Wellington, particularly in Porirua, Wellington City, and Lower Hutt.

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Christchurch

Christchurch is the busiest business hub in the South Island. Unlike the previous cities which have a corporate vibe, this city has a laidback lifestyle, perfect for locals and expats who like outdoor activities. Although it’s still expensive compared to other towns and cities, it’s the most affordable metropolitan area in New Zealand for housing prices.

Living alone can set you back $2,696 per month to purchase all your necessities, while a family of four needs at least a minimum of $5,820 per month.

Rental One-bedroom flat Up to $1,322 per month
Three-bedroom flat Up to $1,906 per month
Utility Electricity, heating, gas, etc. Up to $318 per month
Broadband (100Mbps) Starts at $90 per month
Mobile plan Up to $100 per month
Shopping Grocery/ Food Up to $105 one-off
Personal care Up to $125 one-off
Clothes Up to $480 one-off
Transportation Public transport Starts at $109 per month
Taxi Starts at $28 per 8 kilometres
Petrol Starts at $2.04 per litre
Leisure Pubs, theatres, gym, etc. Up to $450 one-off

Queenstown

Queenstown was once a small town, known to locals for its pristine nature and adventures. These past few years, housing prices have skyrocketed as a lot of people flock to the city. In the Queenstown proper, the city is experiencing a housing shortage. This has influenced an astronomical increase in entertainment and food prices too.

A single person needs to earn at least $3,467 per month to suffice the minimum cost of living. A family of four needs to earn at least $6,863 per month. These numbers are almost up to par with what you see in Wellington, despite it being smaller with only around 16,880 residents.

Rental One-bedroom flat Up to $2,601 per month
Three-bedroom flat Up to $1,887 per month
Utility Electricity, heating, gas, etc. Up to $221 per month
Broadband (100Mbps) Starts at $90 per month
Mobile plan Up to $100 per month
Shopping Grocery/ Food Up to $96 one-off
Personal care Up to $130 one-off
Clothes Up to $515 one-off
Transportation Public transport Starts at $174 per month
Taxi Starts at $97 per 8 kilometres
Petrol Starts at $2.09 per litre
Leisure Pubs, theatres, gym, etc. Up to $400 one-off

The pandemic has slowed down the rise of housing prices in Queenstown. It saw a huge dip in the third quarter of 2020, but it has been steadily rising again. Despite this, the city still has the biggest housing shortfall of over 14%.

What are the most affordable cities in New Zealand?

New Zealand is ranked 12th out of 79 countries when it comes to the cost of living, with a  price index of 184. However, not all cities in the country are ultra-expensive. While they’re still not cheap compared to the global standards, they’re not nearly as expensive as Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, or Queenstown. These cities are:

Single person Family of four
1. Rotorua At least $2,351 per month At least $4,926 per month
2. Palmerston North At least $2,577 per month At least $5,370 per month
3. Napier At least $2,620 per month At least $5,370 per month
4. Whangarei At least $2,618 per month At least $5,604 per month
5. Hamilton At least $2,925 per month At least $5,972 per month

Source: Expatistan

Remember that these are only estimates. You may live in an affordable city like Napier but spend more than those living in Auckland because of your lifestyle. It’s a matter of managing your money wisely and prioritising your necessities instead of wants.

What are quick and easy tips to manage your expenses?

New Zealand is very expensive but it can be manageable. These tips can help you better save money and live within your means. These can also help you spend lower than the minimum cost of living in these cities.

Skip the night out with friends

An occasional night out is harmless, but it can cost you a lot when you do it regularly. A pint of beer can easily become several pints without you knowing. After getting the tab, you can get a bill shock over a ‘casual’ night out. Especially if you live in Auckland, you may want to slow down your chugging as they serve one of the priciest beers in the world!

Be a coupon lover

Coupons are your best friend when shopping around town! The great news is, different brands aren’t skimping when it comes to giving out these coupons. Before shopping for anything, watch out for coupons — be it in store or online. Make sure to keep your eyes on the sale and markdowns, too!

Don’t be an impulsive buyer

Do you really need a new phone or a new dress? Think it through! Most of the time, it’s simply an urge to buy something rather than needing or wanting the item. When buying something, think of the 24-hour rule. If you need the product even after a day has passed, that’s your signal to buy it!

Get the right deal for your utilities

Your utilities like electricity, gas, broadband, and mobile are something that you pay off every month. If you feel like you’re not getting your money’s worth, don’t hesitate to switch to a better plan. Different providers offer a lot of excellent deals that may better suit your needs.

Make sure to visit our comparison site here at glimp! We list exclusive deals that you won’t see anywhere else — even on the provider’s website. Compare, switch, and save today, right here at glimp.

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