PHOTO: MAARTEN HOLL/STUFF – data for March showed Wellington’s average asking price was up 1.6 per cent on the previous month, reaching a record high of $612,697.

Don’t despair – buying a family home for half a million dollars is still possible in Wellington. You can even get a spa pool.

But there’s a catch … you’ll probably have to look beyond the central city.

This week Stuff set Wellington real estate agents the task of finding their best property for a family of two adults and two primary school-aged children for $500,000 or less.

Major renovation projects were not allowed, and prospective residents needed to be able to reach Wellington Railway Station within an hour using public transport.

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Three agencies accepted the challenge, but none of the properties they put forward were in the CBD.