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Summer reissue: John Key suggested we Google TradeMe for homes under $500,000. So we did, and here they are

Early in June the then prime minister told reporters there were plenty of (relatively) affordable Auckland homes on TradeMe. Madeleine Chapman searched the site to see if he was right.

Originally published June 2, 2016

Asked yesterday about Auckland’s average house price nearing the $1 million mark, John Key was as upbeat as ever: “If you go on Trade Me this afternoon and Google property $500,000 or less in Auckland, you will find there are quite a few.”

Leaving to one side the curious instruction to Google something on TradeMe, this isn’t the first time the PM has directed us to this online real estate nirvana.

Almost exactly two years ago he talked down concerns about the housing crisis with an even stronger endorsement of TradeMe’s budget catalogue.

“If you go on Trade Me to look for Auckland housing under $400,000 there are over 2,000 properties listed.”

The journey from 2,000 under-$400k to “quite a few” under-$5ook is troubling enough. But what are these “quite a few”? I Googled up my TradeMe to find out.

John Key and Nick Smith google a solution to the housing crisis (Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images)

John Key and Nick Smith google a solution to the housing crisis (Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images)

“Quite a few” is being generous. “Few” is better.

Of the 6548 properties listed in Auckland, 65 had an asking price below $500,000, 20 of which were over $495k.

But it’s still 65, which was perhaps Mr Key’s point. There is still such a thing as an Auckland property in the $400k range. Yippee. Of course, in the current climate, an Asking Price is less a suggestion and more a Don’t Even Bother Offering This Asking Price. However, it doesn’t pay to be cynical because cynicism doesn’t buy a home in Auckland. $500,000 does, apparently. But what and where might these properties be found? Let’s break it down.

(Note: In my search, I limited the property type to “House”, including 1-bedroom homes, excluding apartments, due to an alarming number of grass patches, granny flats, and houses-that-haven’t-been-built-yet clogging up the results.)

So what was left? After a lot of sifting through misleading titles, I managed to find the following options for those looking to purchase a home in Auckland with $500,000.

Franklin (12 listings), Papakura (10), Manukau City (19)

500,000

Such varied choices

Such varied choices

If you currently rent in Central Auckland and commute to Franklin for work, I’ve got some great news for you. Franklin is the place to buy, young people. A mere hour drive from the CBD (if you leave in the middle of the night), it’s all you need to get yourself settled and onto the Auckland property ladder.

Rodney (9)

Always wanted to live in Auckland (but not really) and hate the Southern motorway traffic every day? Head north over the bridge instead. All the way north. No, keep going more north until you get to Rodney, where your new home awaits. Congratulations.

Hauraki Gulf (8), Waiheke Island (2)

Pretty soon people will care but for now, if it takes a boat ride to get to Auckland Airport, it doesn’t count.

Central Auckland (5)

I shit you not. I couldn’t believe it either. Surely this is too good to be true, I thought.

500,002 500,003 500,004

And it was.

The Ocean (1)

If you can’t afford to live in Auckland, why not float in it? Buy a houseboat and live all around the outside of this great city. Housing crisis solved.

500,006

That’s all of them. Certainly not worth specifically mentioning on the record in an attempt to prove Auckland housing is still affordable.

Is John Key technically right by saying that there are Auckland properties on TradeMe for under $500k? Yes.

Is he also very, very, wrong? Yes.