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I’m moving from overseas. How do New Zealand’s main cities differ?

New Zealand is a relatively small country, with just over 4 million residents, but it has some of the world's most liveable cities.  Each city is modern, and has its own uniqueness. There's a city in New Zealand just right for you.
  • Auckland is the largest city in New Zealand, and is home to over 1 million people. As the main commercial centre for New Zealand, it also offers the most diverse employment prospects. Auckland has a rich performance and arts culture, and is home to people from a wide range of ethnic groups.  The high popularity of Auckland living is reflected in the Auckland real estate market.  Prices of houses are generally much higher in Auckland than in other New Zealand cities, especially in the more desirable inner city suburbs.
  • Hamilton is New Zealand’s largest inland city, and is located within 1 ½ hrs drive from Auckland.  It has a population of 150,000 people, making it the fourth largest city in New Zealand.  Hamilton is the main regional hub for the Waikato farming region, and much of the economy is devoted to rural services. The area is known for outstanding farming research, and the University of Waikato and the Waikato Institute of Technology are both based here.  The manufacturing and retail sectors are popular here too, and are growing.  Hamilton does not have all of Auckland's amenities, but it provides a comfortable and less rushed lifestyle which many people are drawn to.
  • Wellington is the capital city of New Zealand, and is home to the New Zealand Government (housed primarily in the Beehive building).  Most New Zealand senior public sector jobs can be found in this city.  The city itself is compact, with a large number of inner city apartments available for sale or rent. This makes inner city living more affordable than in main centres like Auckland.  Wellington is known as the "windy city" due to high winds which pass overhead from the Cook Strait.  Summer days can however be delightful here.
  • Christchurch is New Zealand's second largest city. In recent years, the city has had two main earthquakes, causing a lot of household (and business) damage, but the city is now rebuilding.  If you're a tradesperson looking for work, the job opportunities here are plentiful due to the construction boom.  The Canterbury region as a whole has an unemployment rate lower that 3%. 

    Christchurch also has strong agriculture, engineering, and tourism economies.  Students are well catered for at the University of Canterbury, and at Lincoln University.  House prices in Christchurch have been pushed higher lately due to the constrained supply of housing whilst houses are re-built (or brand new housing is built). This situation is expected to be temporary.
  • Dunedin is the second largest city in the South Island, and is one of New Zealand's premier "student cities".  Students make up almost 20% of the population, on which both the retail and tertiary education sector heavily depend.  Dunedin is in close travelling proximity to popular ski fields and tourism areas like Queenstown, making it a popular tourist stop.

    The winter season in Dunedin can be cold, and snowfall is common.  Due partially to these low temperatures, and the city's location near the bottom of the South Island, real estate prices are inexpensive when compared to most other New Zealand cities.  The relatively low population growth in this area may dampen possibilities for longer term capital gains on property, but this also helps to keep rental and sale prices competitive and relatively stable.
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