Auckland nurse beats property market by building houseboat

An Auckland nurse has traded a white picket fence for a mooring, and a backyard for the city's harbour. 

After struggling to get onto the property ladder, Olivia Hammond built a houseboat, and finally set up her new home on the North Shore. 

Back at Christmas 2017, Hammond's houseboat was nothing more than a wooden box and she hoped it would be floating by February.

"It turns out I'm very naive when it comes to boat building. It takes a lot longer," she says.

It took two years, in fact, to go from build to berth.

"Every little bit has to be thought through, every little joint had to be glued and just the level of the technical side to it that I had no idea about," Hammond says.

That included making the interior salt and waterproof, installing special sewage systems and ensuring the vessel is movable to meet council regulations - something put to the test when it sailed into Bayswater Marina.

"The tug master picked it up and towed it from Westpark Marina all the way down there, past Sugar Factory, under the Harbour Bridge and to Bayswater."

The epic journey took about three hours, but it was far from smooth sailing, with heavy rain and high winds.

"It was a very anxious wait for us watching her come in from the Harbour Bridge and into the marina."

The vessel began its journey as the aptly named Smashed Avocado but finished it as Blue Turtle - a two-story home-sweet-home boat.

It has everything you'd want in a first home, including two bedrooms, a bathroom, and a huge living space. And the bonus? It's got million-dollar views for the fraction of the price - even though Hammon blew her original $200,000 budget. 

"At least double," she says. But "better than your average home."

The mooring costs $250 a week, which Hammond says is the same price she paid renting one room in a six-bedroom flat.

With just a few finishing touches to go, all that's left is to sail off into the sunset, without drowning in debt.