Trade Me rent data: Tenants continue to feel the pinch as rent surges past inflation

Tenants are continuing to be hit hard in the back pocket as rent outpaces inflation, according to the latest Trade Me data. 

The Trade Me rental price index for September showed the national median weekly rent increased by 7.5 percent year-on-year last month. 

This was north of the 7.3 percent annual inflation rate reported by the Reserve Bank for the end of the September quarter. 

Trade Me Property sales director Gavin Lloyd said the national median rent was $575 in September. 

"If we look back to the same month last year, this marks a jump of $40, which no doubt renters will feel in their back pockets alongside other cost-of-living increases," Lloyd said.

Lloyd said the national median weekly rent has shown slight fluctuations but remained comfortably in the $570-$580 bracket since January this year. 

"When we compare last month's figure with August, it actually fell by one percent, or $5," Lloyd said.

"While this marks a slight drop, $5 a week won't go very far and there's no denying it's tough out there. Living expenses are going up across the board and rents are no exception."

Trade Me rent data: Tenants continue to feel the pinch as rent surges past inflation
Photo credit: Supplied

The biggest year-on-year median weekly rent increases last month, were seen in Southland (+14 percent) and Otago (+10 percent) regions. 

The data also showed Wellington and Hawke's Bay were the only regions to see no change in median weekly rent last month when compared with the same month last year. 

"This will be a relief for tenants in these regions, where rents have exploded in recent years," Lloyd said. 

Rents in both places have skyrocketed over the last five years, with Hawke's Bay increasing by 51 percent while Wellington grew by 33 percent. 

"This puts both regions ahead of national price growth, with the country's median weekly rent climbing 28 percent in five years."

Highest September supply on record 

Listings have surged in New Zealand with Lloyd saying there was more last month on the website than any September on record. 

"Supply in the main centres had a standout month, with the number of rentals listed in Auckland up 51 percent year-on-year, the biggest increase out of all the regions," Lloyd said. 

Following just behind Auckland was the Capital, with supply spiking 49 percent in the Wellington region. 

But it wasn't all positive, especially in the South Island with Canterbury (-2 percent), Southland (-4 percent), Nelson/Tasman (-9 percent) and Otago (-9 percent) all seeing a drop in rental supply in September. 

On the demand side, enquiries on rental properties dropped five percent nationwide in September with only three regions bucking the negative trend.  

"Auckland (+26 percent), Southland (+11 percent), and Hawke's Bay (+7 percent) were the only regions to see a year-on-year increase in demand," Lloyd said. 

Auckland and Wellington's rents are unchanged

The Auckland region's median weekly rent remained at a standstill at $600 for the sixth month in a row in September, marking an increase of one percent year-on-year. 

Lloyd said the most expensive Auckland district in September was North Shore City ($650), followed by Papakura ($640), and Rodney ($635) with the median weekly rent being $580 last month. 

Wellington region's median weekly rent was $600 for the second month in a row in September with Porirua ($675) being the most expensive area to live in followed by Upper Hutt and Wellington City ($600).