The new Kiwi dream: A quarter-acre section or an apartment?

Roof structure of new house

The Kiwi dream has always been to own your own home on a quarter-acre section, but new data shows we're shunning that dream for newer homes on smaller sections.

If you're lucky enough to own your own property, it means you could be sitting on a goldmine.

After almost four decades in the family, Laurie McClintock is subdividing her Pakuranga property.

"We'd be looking at around $450,000 for everything, so that's the build itself and the subdivision, and for a basic four-bedroom, basic brick and tile," Ms McClintock says.

"There's this perception around the value of a quarter-acre dream in New Zealand, and so we expected a large backyard would have a premium on them," says Jeremy O'Hanlon from Homes.co.nz.

But Homes.co.nz has found that's not necessarily the case. Buyers will pay more for new homes on smaller, low-maintenance sections.

Mr O'Hanlon says this is because there is a new focus "on the quality of homes".

"You've got double glazing as standard, great insulation. There's also just busier people living in the main centres, so the idea of mowing a lawn isn't as appealing as it once was."

Sarah Mattson has already subdivided her Orewa section and is now reaping the rewards.

"It was $400,000, basically land only, and there was no guarantee you could subdivide, so we were taking a gamble from then," she says.

Her gamble paid off. Despite having to spend $130,000 just to subdivide it, she is still walking away with almost half a million dollars.

"It's all about the bigger Kiwi dream, and at some stage you've got to take a risk. I would jump at it again," said Ms Mattson.

While reluctant, Ms McClintock has come to terms with carving up the family plot.

"We still get to keep the lovely big oak tree and the swing and everything. It's for long-term gains. It's not for short term. We're looking towards our retirement."

It's proving the Kiwi dream isn't dead; it's just changing.

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