Auckland - Stay in the City or Move to the Regions?

Auckland - Stay in the City or Move to the Regions?
Article contributed by Lisa Gray
Written on 08 March 2016

The most recent and popular lifestyle choice affecting city based workers, overseas returnees and migrants in the New Zealand market today. 

Since the start of the year, The Andersen Partnership, have recognised a trend from candidates across all of our sectors (construction and property, financial and insurance services and accountancy and finance) seeking advice on this decision. Having a great network of clients and candidates in both locations we have come up with a list of both professional and lifestyle pros and cons for our candidates to consider and wanted to share our findings with our website visitors.

Region Vs City

Housing

Prices in the city have been rapidly increasing with the average 3 bedroom house price increase in value to $750k compared to $500k in the Regions in addition to houses having way more land per dwelling allowing further/simpler expansion than in the City. Although availability for quality housing seems to be more prevalent in the City the newer properties literally on the horizon every month.

Commute to work

The City is suffering from both increase in cars on the road, roadworks, banning of cars in certain parts of the city and increased car parking fees have all made the commute to work more stressful. Commuters have also complained of overcrowded, unreliable bus and train services as well as steady annual price increases for travel cards. Although public transport services are way more reliable in the City and Auckland Transport are expanding the rail network which should make a huge difference to public transport commuter times.

In the Regions there are extremely poor or unusable bus timetables so a car is necessary although commutes are way less stressful with less cars on the road and often peak times are less congested due to the Regions’ companies being more flexible around work hours.

Hours

Although some City firms are flexible with start and finish times there are rarely opportunities to work part time or from home. In the Regions, due to some commutes there is more opportunity to flex and have a home office although in most roles the expectation is still a minimum 40 hour week.

Social Scene

The City offers a great range of restaurants, bars, coffee houses, leisure groups and opportunities for their staff to get together. Region firms (except beers in the office) do sometimes struggle to have a great variety of activities/venues to work with and often staff tend to want to work their hours and then balance with their family life.

Although the City does offer a culturally diverse mix of individuals, the Regions work hard from a social inclusion perspective and tend to rely on community and creating social groups to build it’s social scene.

Salary

Contrary to belief there isn’t that much difference between what you can earn if you’re a qualified, experienced professional between the City and The Burbs

Career Opportunities

Due to the number of employers based in the Regions, this can be limited for candidates wanting to earn in excess $150k with fewer jobs available and the Top Jobs still being based in either the City or Head Office in Australia.

Competition for Jobs

For those candidates in job-driven markets there is less competition currently in the Regions than the city, city still seems to be the more desirable location although interest in the Regions have increased considerably.

In Summary

The Regions have caught up with the City from a salary perspective over a wide range of roles but still struggle to attract those individuals really looking for high speed career acceleration or those in senior level professional roles.

The City has lost some of its appeal due to commuter times and house prices rising at a highly noticeable rate and also new parents are noticing teaching staff are struggling to maintain a decent standard of living being based in the City due to their salary levels not increasing in line with the rate of living costs.

Is there a happy medium?

With commercial rental rates being attractive and new offices and restaurants, shops and more affordable housing being available on the Western and South City fringes - maybe this is the happy medium for professionals looking for an affordable NZ lifestyle but with the advantage of great schools, beaches and mountains all in easy reach.

Whichever your driver it is certainly a forever changing social landscape here NZ, the common theme being it is still an amazing place to live and work.

It will be interesting to see how this changes in the next 10 years.

Walker Andersen - It's all about time