Rents have dropped across New Zealand for the first time in eight months, according to one of the country's biggest property websites.
New Zealand's national median weekly rent dropped $15 a week month-on-month to $535, Trade Me said in its latest Rental Price Index report.
The drop comes after a record-breaking high of $550 a week set in July and August.
Trade Me Property Sales Director Gavin Lloyd said the national lockdown in August had played a big part in causing the latest drop.
New Zealand's first case of the Delta variant of COVID-19 saw the whole country put into level 4 lockdown on August 17. Much of the country quickly moved to level 2 but Auckland has remained in lockdown and is now at level 3.
“The lockdown brought the country to a halt in August which, unsurprisingly, sent shockwaves through the rental market and as a result we saw rents stall in our two main centres in September.
"This will come as welcome news for tenants who have become accustomed to record-breaking rent increases over the last 12 months.”
Lloyd said the national median rent had still increased 5 per cent on the year prior, but it was the smallest year-on-year percentage increase in six months.
He said it was too early to see what the full impact of August's lockdown would be, but activity didn't bounce back in September.
“Nationally, demand was down by 14 per cent year-on-year in September. However, if we look at different regions around the country, it was not the same story across the board.”
Lloyd said Marlborough (up 43 per cent), Canterbury (up 35 per cent), and Manawatu (up 27 per cent) all saw demand for rentals increase last month when compared with September last year.
“Unsurprisingly, the locked-down region of Auckland saw a drop in the number of enquiries on rental listings , with demand down by 39 per cent year-on-year. Hawke’s Bay (-24%) and Southland (-13%) also saw demand drop off.”
The report showed the number of properties on the rental market was also down by 20 per cent in September when compared with the same month last year.
“Every region saw an annual drop in the number of properties listed onsite last month,” Lloyd said.
Rents in New Zealand's biggest rental market and the city hit hardest by the latest COVID-19 outbreak stagnated at $595 for the third month in a row in September.
The report showed the median rent in Auckland City was $580, while the most expensive district in the region last month was North Shore City ($620), with Franklin, Manukau, and Rodney all sitting slightly lower at $600.”
Wellington continued to be the country's most expensive rental market with the weekly average rent holding at $600 for the second month in a row.
Last month, Wellington City was bumped off the top three most expensive districts in the region for the first time on record. Porirua ($680), Upper Hutt ($610) and Kapiti Coast ($605) were all more expensive than Wellington City in September.