Housing: Rental prices blast off to record high after flat few months

New Zealand rents have jumped to a record high after a stagnant few months.

According to the latest data from Trade Me's Rental Price Index, the national median weekly rent in June hit $545, up from $540 in March to May. Rent is also up 6.9 percent on June last year, or an increase of 8.7 percent when you take Auckland out of the mix.

All-time high prices were recorded in Taranaki ($470), Manawatu/Whanganui ($475) and Gisborne ($565), while only Marlborough and Otago didn't see year-on-year increases, with both regions remaining flat. 

The largest annual percentage increase was in Hawke's Bay (up 16.3 percent), followed by Manawatu/Whanganui (15.9 percent), and Northland (11.1 percent). 

"June data showed rents are back on the rise, with record highs seen in a number of regions around the country," said Trade Me Property sales director Gavin Lloyd. "This comes down to the lack of national market supply, with the number of rental properties listed onsite down by 7 percent in June when compared with the same month last year."

Demand was also down by a slight 1 percent when compared with June last year. 

"However, if we take a closer look at the regions, we saw demand jump up in a number of spots around the country," Lloyd said. "The biggest increases were seen in Taranaki (20 percent), Nelson/Tasman (17 percent) and Otago (16 percent)."

"Right now we are in the depths of winter which tends to be the quietest period for the rental market. Time will tell whether rents will continue to climb as we enter a busier time in the market later in the year as a result of landlords passing their increased costs onto tenants."

Housing: Rental prices blast off to record high after flat few months
Photo credit: Trade Me.

Digging deeper into the regions, Auckland's median weekly rent sat at $590 in June, the same price it has been at since January. However, it is still up 4 percent on June last year. In Auckland City, the median weekly rent was $560, while North Shore City was the most expensive district ($620). 

Demand was down in Auckland by 7 percent while supply remained flat year on year. 

The most popular rental listing in the country in June was found in Auckland's Onehunga on Selwyn St. It was a two-bedroom unit with a weekly rent of $460 and received 80 enquiries in its first two days on the website.

In Wellington, rent increased 6 percent to $580 year-on-year. It rose 3 percent in Wellington City to $595, while the most expensive district in the region was Porirua at $600. Demand in Wellington was down 10 percent compared to June 2020, while supply fell 6 percent.

"The most popular rental in the region last month was a one-bedroom unit on Palliser Rd in

Roseneath, for $330 per week," Lloyd said. "The property received 74 enquiries in its first two days onsite."

Trade Me's data found the median weekly rent for all house sizes saw an annual increase in every region in June, with only the exception of small (1-2 bedroom) houses in Christchurch. The national median weekly rent for townhouses rose 7 percent to a new high.

"Rents for all other urban properties saw a year-on-year increase, with the median weekly rent for units in Auckland reaching an all-time high of $495 per week."