Rents finish 2022 at all-time high of $580 with tenants in almost every region seeing increases

Tenants aren't immune to increasing housing costs according to the latest Trade Me data, which shows rents finished off 2022 at an all-time high. 

The data, which was released on Thursday, showed tenants in almost every region are being forced to dig deeper into their wallets to pay their bills. 

Trade Me property sales director Gavin Lloyd said, with the exception of Wellington, rents increased in every region last year. 

"The biggest increase was seen in Northland, where the median weekly rent skyrocketed by a whopping $60 between January and December.

Lloyd said rents in the Taranaki region saw the second biggest jump, climbing by $45, while Canterbury and Marlborough both saw a $40 increase.

But he said tenants in Wellington and Auckland got some relief with price increases cooling off after a period of "relentless growth in the two years prior". 

The national median weekly rent was $580 in December for the third consecutive month, matching the record-high first recorded in April. December also marked the third month in a row where the national median weekly rent jumped by 4 percent year-on-year.

While 2022 was a tough year for renters, Lloyd said price growth slowed down significantly compared to the previous year. 

 "The $20 price jump we saw in the national median weekly rent between December 2021 and December 2022 was only half the size of what we saw the year prior, when it jumped from $520 in December 2020, to $560 in December 2021," he said. 

But he said new record-high rents were seen in several spots around the country as 2022 came to a close. 

In the Auckland region the median weekly rent grew by 3 percent year-on-year to reach a new high of $615 in December. This comes after rents remained stagnant for over 12 months, fluctuating between $600 and $610 since October 2021. 

Meanwhile the median weekly rent in Hawke's Bay also hit a new high of $595, while Northland reached $560. In Marlborough rents climbed to $535.

Median weekly rents by region January 2022 - December 2022.
Median weekly rents by region January 2022 - December 2022. Photo credit: Trade Me

In Wellington, the median weekly rent was $650 in December, matching the region's all-time high first recorded in February last year and making it the most expensive place to rent in Aotearoa last month.

The price rises come despite the number of rental listings nationwide jumping by 2 percent year-on-year in December, while nationwide demand fell by the same amount. 

December was the ninth month in a row where supply has increased compared to the previous year. 

The biggest jump in supply was in the lower North Island, with rental listings up 35 percent year-on-year in Manawatū/Whanganui and 33 percent in Wellington. 

Northland, meanwhile, was not far behind with a 22 percent increase in listings last month compared to December 2021.

As for the fall in demand Marlborough was the most affected down 39 percent followed by Manawatū/Whanganui down 27 percent and Northland where demand fell by 25 percent. 

On the flipside demand grew in Otago, up 13 percent, and Auckland which was up 8 percent. 

Small and large rentals see biggest price increases 

Small and large properties saw the biggest weekly rental increase in December with five-plus bedroom homes increasing 3 percent compared with the same month in 2021 to $980 a week. Meanwhile one to two-bedroom rentals also saw prices jump by 3 percent to $495. Meanwhile three to four-bedroom rental prices stayed steady at  $650 - showing no change year-on-year.

Lloyd said large properties in the Wellington region had a standout month,  with their median weekly rent up a whopping 13 percent to $1350.

 "This is particularly interesting given the median weekly rent for both small and medium properties in the region did not increase in December.

"Christchurch also saw rents grow considerably in December, with the median weekly rent for a medium property in the city reaching a new high of $600, and rents for small properties climbed 13 percent year-on-year to $450."