Trade Me data: Rents spike to $575 median as high inflation, skyrocketing cost of living take hold

Kiwis are in for yet another blow as new data shows along with the skyrocketing cost of groceries and petrol, rents are also increasing. 

Data from Trade Me shows the national median weekly rent jumped 7 percent year-on-year to reach $575 in March. 

The increase comes amid record-high inflation with the latest Consumer Price Index (CPI) figures showing annual inflation hit 6.9 percent in the March quarter - the largest year-on-year increase in nearly 32 years. 

Trade Me property sales director Gavin Lloyd said the increase will come as a bitter pill to swallow for many already struggling renters. 

"It's not an easy time to be a renter as Kiwis are having to fork out significantly more for everyday items across the board, including housing costs."

And things are worse for renters in the Bay of Plenty with the median weekly rent jumping 9 percent year-on-year to reach $600 for the first time on record. 

Rents in Manawatū/Whanganui are also up with the median weekly rent jumping to $500 for the first time  - a whopping 14 percent year-on-year increase. 

Additionally rents in the Waikato jumped to $520  - up 7 percent year-on-year.

But it was Taranaki that saw the largest increase with medium rent jumping by a whopping 18 percent year-on-year to reach $530 in March.

But there's a small silver lining. Lloyd said looking at month-on-month data, when compared with February, the national median weekly rent saw no change in March. 

"Tenants will be somewhat relieved to hear that more recently rents have remained stagnant. However, time will tell whether this continues as we head into the cooler months."

Both supply and demand slow down 

It comes as nationwide supply dropped by 6 percent last month when compared with March 2021. 

"The majority of regions saw less rental listings last month than in March last year, with the biggest drops seen in Nelson/Tasman (down 39 percent), Canterbury (down 33 percent), and Otago (down 23 percent)," Lloyd said. 

But New Zealand's two main cities flouted this trend with both Wellington (up 7 percent) and Auckland (up 2 percent) seeing a year-on-year increase in supply. 

The Manawatū/Whanganui region was the only other spot where supply increased in March, up 8 percent year-on-year.

But listings are up month-on month with the number of rentals available on site increasing by 5 percent compared to last month. 

There were also fewer prospective tenants last month when compared with March 2021, with nationwide demand for rentals falling by 7 percent year-on-year. 

"If we look at the month prior, we saw a 3 percent drop in rental demand in March when compared with February," Lloyd said 

Auckland rents remain at all-time high 

The Auckland region's median weekly rent increased by 3 percent year-on-year to $610 in March, matching the previous record-high first recorded in January.  

"Looking closer at Auckland City, the median weekly rent in the district was $590, showing a 5 percent year-on-year increase," he said. 

The most expensive Auckland districts in March were North Shore City, Rodney, and Papakura, which all had a median weekly rent of $650.

But demand in the Auckland region was down by 13 percent year-on-year in March, while supply increased by 2 percent.

"In March, the most popular rental listing in the Auckland region was a four-bedroom house on Youngs Grove, in Franklin. The property had a weekly rent of $680 and received 90 enquiries in its first two days onsite," he said. 

Porirua continues to be the most expensive district in the country

In the Wellington region, the median weekly rent rose 7  percent year-on-year to reach $630 in March. But when compared with the month prior, the region saw a 5 percent drop. 

The highest median weekly rent in the region was seen in Porirua ($670), followed by Wellington City, ($635) and Lower Hutt ($630).

Lloyd said supply in the region increased by 7 percent in March, while demand dropped by 14 percent.

"Last month's most popular listing in the Wellington region was a two-bedroom unit on Hobbs Grove, Epuni. The $495-a-week property received 85 enquiries in its first two days onsite."

Small property rents reaches $500 for the first time 

The median weekly rent for properties of all sizes increased last month when compared with March 2021. Nationwide, the median weekly rent for 1-2 bedroom homes reached a new high of $500 in March. 

The largest percentage increase in median weekly rent was for medium properties (3-4 bedrooms), which saw an annual increase of 8 percent nationwide.