Renters struggle with rising prices, slowing supply

Those looking for a house or room to rent in Auckland and Wellington have been hit with a double-whammy - rents are rising year after year and rental properties are harder to come by as demand soars.

Hiba Hussain is moving out of her central Wellington apartment because the rent is going up for the second time in three years.

Her lease ends on Wednesday and she had expected to be moving into a house with friends, but with so many others on the hunt for a rental property, they haven't been able to secure a house after a month of looking.

"I'll be crashing at a friend's, I guess you could say, whilst our flat group tries to find a place, which has been quite a nightmare," Ms Hussain says.

Meanwhile 32-year-old restaurant manager Chika Saito is having so much trouble finding a flat that she's been staying at a backpackers.

"More than five viewings I've had but I couldn't win the competition," she says.

Trade Me figures show people are paying more rent across the country, with Kiwis paying an extra $5000 in annual rent than they did five years ago.

Rental prices in Auckland are up 4 percent than where they were a year ago and almost 24 percent higher than in 2001.

In Wellington things are even worse - up 10 percent, or $2000, in just one year.

John Willcox from Century 21 in Wellington says the rental market is heated in favour of the landlord with demand outstripping supply.

With home ownership rates at their lowest levels since 1951, there are far more people in the market for a rental.

"A much higher percentage of people are now renting so there's a shortage of rentals," Mr Willcox says.

Andrew Bruce from the Auckland Property Investors Association believes January is particularly bad, with many leases ending with the New Year.

"You've got a lot of people coming back they're looking at trying to set themselves up for the New Year. There are just a lot of people looking for a limited supply."

Ms Hussain says landlords and investors shouldn't' be so greedy and should think more about the impact increasing rents has on people's lives.