Government policies to blame for rising rent - expert

A financial expert has blamed Government policies for rising rental prices.

On Monday, Statistics New Zealand announced rental property prices had increased 3.4 percent between April 2018 and April 2019.

Financial expert David Boyle said recent Government policies such as the abolition of letting fees and enforcing the insulation of rental properties by July 1 had pushed up prices for landlords - who had simply passed costs on to tenants.

"The real contributions to the cost are many, in the sense of those letting fees that were originally being charged by property managers can't be charged to the tenants, so that has probably been passed on through rental increases," he told The AM Show.

"Of course, anyone that has got a rental property this year, by the first of July has to insulate the property... and also have fixed heating."

Before the ban on letting fees in December, Newshub obtained a letter from a rental agency urging landlords to raise rent by $10 a week to cover the cost.

"We've written to all our landlords and told them that we intend to recover the letting fee from the first year's rent," Tim Mordaunt from Property Brokers told Newshub.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern also said last year that she hoped rents would stay the same.

"I would hope that we wouldn't see that increase, given that it's a service directly for the landlord."

Boyle said the rising prices may mean young adults and students will choose to live at home with their parents for longer rather than going out flatting.

"The first thing that we probably have got to get used to is that the term of empty-nesters may not be a term that we will use in the future because our children will have to live longer in our home because they won't be able to afford, let alone get be able to get access to, rental properties.

"I definitely see that occurring, where older children are staying at home."

He called Wellington a classic example of where demand was exceeding supply.

A recent announcement by insurance provider IAG that premiums would take greater account of natural disasters would also increase costs.