Big bucks gets big things on the Wellington property ladder - all-day sun, spectacular views, four living areas, an "entertainers' courtyard", and the title of buying the most expensive house in town.
But there is still hope for those without millions - move to one of Masterton's more affordable areas and you can pick up a brick house with off-street parking for under $100,000.
The buyers of the Nevay Rd, Miramar, home splashed out $2.64 million on their 414-square-metre ridge-top house late last year.
It was the most expensive house sold in Wellington last year.
It went for $1.09m more than its valuation, and was 27 times more expensive than than the cheapest house - a 90sqm house in Cameron Cres, Masterton, for $97,000.
But both are drops in the bucket compared with a North Shore, Auckland, home which was last year's dearest at $9.1m.
Quotable Value figures provided to The Dominion Post show the top 10 most expensive houses sold in Wellington last year were in traditionally ritzy suburbs such as Oriental Bay, Mt Victoria, Thorndon, and Khandallah.
But the top sale was in Nevay Rd, in the traditionally low to middle income suburb of Miramar, though in a spectacular spot.
When the house was for sale in October, Jewetts agent Craig Oliver boasted it was one of "the" homes in Wellington.
The 1940s weatherboard house has five double bedrooms, four bathrooms with underfloor heating, four living areas, a self-contained apartment, two gas fireplaces, central heating, a 1364sqm section, all-day sun, and more.
Mr Oliver said the "Wellington professional couple" with children who bought the house did not want to be named.
However, he confirmed they were not associated with the nearby film industry.
When tenders closed on the house in late November, there were multiple competitive tenders, he said.
"We were surprised how many people came out of the woodwork that had the money."
It is a small price to pay compared with the Roseneath Tce house that sold for $5.65m in 2010, which was 87 times dearer than a Carterton house that sold for $65,000.
In the year to November 2011, the historic Powles House, in Kelburn's Wesley Rd, went for $3.25m - a world away from the $102,500 paid for a house in Masterton's Villa St in the region's cheapest sale.
Mr Oliver said there had been a surge in interest in $1m-plus houses in the past six months compared with the past couple of years.
There was also a lot of interest from first-home buyers at the bottom end of the market, he said.
"Money is cheap and available. They are getting snapped up really fast."
Massey University's latest survey of home affordability - based on income, house prices, and interest rates - showed it improved nationally by 8.8 per cent in the past year. In Wellington, home affordability improved 14.2 per cent.
Professor Bob Hargreaves, of the university's real estate analysis unit, said this was because of low interest rates, plus a state service "exodus" that had created a lag on house prices.
According to QV figures, the average value of a house in the Wellington region is $437,456, and in Wellington city $516,574. The national average value is $423,708.
Most expensive in Wellington:
16 Nevay Rd, Miramar $2.64 million
2/260 Oriental Pde, Oriental Bay $2.601m
21 McFarlane St, Mt Victoria $2.5m
35 North Tce, Kelburn $2.2m
2/150 Oriental Pde, Oriental Bay $2.2m
55C Bolton St, Kelburn $2.1m
46 Tinakori Rd, Thorndon $2.075m
4 Glentui Gr, Khandallah $2.06m
28B Oriental Tce, Oriental Bay $2.05m
28 Upper Watt St, Wadestown $2m
Most expensive in New Zealand: 39 Saltburn Rd, Milford, Auckland $9.1m
- © Fairfax NZ News
How diligent are you when it comes to sorting roadside recycling?Related story: City recycling a juggling act for council