Property institute predicts rent to become top housing issue

Forget complaining about house prices, renting is fast becoming the number one housing issue.

The Property Institute has issued its 2018 predictions and says rising rental costs and landlords selling up mean it's going to be a tough year.

Annalise Bowden has given up on renting in Wellington - she was paying $500 for a two bedroom flat and is now moving back to her mum and dad's.

"It was too expensive, I am working full time and my flat mate was a student and we just couldn't afford to live there, it was a little outrageous really," she said.

But prices haven't dampened demand - crowded flat viewings are common.

Newshub was told different stories with a similar theme - it's tough.

According to the Property Institute it will get tougher because some landlords are selling up.

"A few of those people will panic that is traditional, that happens at this stage of the cycle with all investors and some of those people will choose to desert the market rather than stay in for three to four years," said CEO Ashley Church.

House prices are flat, that means no capital gain, add in rising compliance costs like insulation and some properties won't pay their way.

A review of tenancy laws is also making some nervous and won't fix the problem.

"The only answer to stopping the kind of rent increase we have been seeing in Wellington for the last couple of years is increasing the number of rental properties," said Housing Minster Phil Twyford.

So more houses are needed - but they won't get built overnight so until they are, the Property Institute expects rents to be the number one issue.

They also predict there will no crash in house prices, mortgage rates will creep up long term, the rate of new building will increase slowly and the Reserve Bank will drop LVR speed bumps for first home buyers.

That's because the heat has gone from house prices.

"The market is very predictable in New Zealand, it goes up and then it flattens off, we are right now in that flattening off period, we are going to stay here for three or four years perhaps slightly longer and then prices will start going up again," said Mr Church.

Which means the focus will stay on the rental market. Last year Wellington lead the way and Trade Me says there is massive demand for a decreasing number of rentals.

Around the country there's a similar story except in Christchurch - where over 12 months the median rent went up by just $1.