Give up trying to rent in 'swanky' Auckland

OPINION: There's a housing crisis in Auckland because more people want to live there than it can accommodate.

It really is that simple.

High demand equals big rises in cost, and many Aucklanders, especially students, renters and the working class, are paying the price.

You can't rock up to New Zealand's biggest city from overseas, or elsewhere in the country, and expect to find a good value rental in a so-called "nice" suburb these days.

Those days are long going - in fact they ended about a decade ago. 

So did the notion that Auckland is some sort of Pacific backwater that will be forever overshadowed by the likes of Sydney, Melbourne or even Brisbane.

Our quaint little City of Sails has morphed into a bona fide metropolis.

Auckland's population now stands at almost 1.5 million people, and there are 40,000 new inhabitants squeezing in each year.

To put Auckland's outrageous growth into perspective, if it was a city in the United States it would currently be the seventh most populous city, sandwiched in between Phoenix and San Antonio.

If Auckland was a city in the UK, it would be the fourth largest, behind only London, Birmingham and Manchester.

Auckland is bursting at the seams; there are simply not enough houses, and not enough lanes on the motorways for the tides of humanity.

The city's planners have been playing catch-up for decades, slowly realising Auckland was becoming one of the world's most desirable places to live, but not building infrastructure quickly enough to keep up with the population boom.

The recent horror stories emerging of renters struggling to find a roof over their heads are nothing new - and my advice to renters would be to reset your expectations of where it is that roof over your head could be.

Swanky Ponsonby and Grey Lynn will likely be far out of your reach, while sub-swanky Westmere, Point Chevalier and even Mt Albert have become ridiculously unaffordable for most renters.

What's left? Plenty of suburbs - but don't expect you'll be living anywhere close to the CBD unless you want an overpriced shoe-box apartment.

Try Hillsborough, Henderson, Highland Park, heck, even Huapai or Helensville might work out, but you'll need a car because Auckland's public transport system is still stuck in the quaint 'little city' days.

Either that or move south to value-packed Invercargill - and thanks to climate change there's even decent weather down there now too.

Tony Wright is a Newshub senior producer and feature writer.