February sees record high for rent prices across Aotearoa - Trade Me

Rent prices in New Zealand reached a record national average high of $600 per week in February, according to Trade Me's latest property data.

On Thursday, Trade Me Property's sales director Gavin Lloyd revealed weekly rent in Aotearoa has jumped by four percent or $25 compared with February 2022.

Lloyd said rent growth usually increases over the summer months and 2023 was no exception.

"This is a result of heightened seasonal demand paired with a large number of tenancies coming to an end during this period. These properties are then put back on the market, often with an adjusted rent," Lloyd said.

"With the rising cost of living on everyone's minds, this will be tough news for tenants who will be having to dig deeper into their wallets to pay rent."

He said NZ's median rent was lingering in the $500 bracket for nearly four years before it reached $600 last month.

"We saw the national median rent hit $500 for the first time in April 2019 where it remained for the rest of the year. It then started 2020 at $515, before increasing $5 to $520 by December," Lloyd said.

He said rent was largely increased in 2021 with an increase of $20 between January and December - the highest in four years.

The weekly rent has increased by 4 percent.
The weekly rent has increased by 4 percent. Photo credit: Trade ME Property/ Supplied

In 2022, the median weekly rent increased by $10 from $570 to $580.

According to Trade Me Property data, Wellington City was the most expensive area to rent - with the median weekly rent at $695.

Living in the Auckland CBD was slightly cheaper with weekly rent at a high of $620.

Christchurch's weekly rent remained "stagnant" with it remaining the same as it was in January at $510.

The Nelson/ Tasman region's annual rent price increase was the largest, growing by 10 per cent year-on-year to $550.

Lloyd said Hawke's Bay was a close second with the weekly rent growing by nine percent - reaching a record high of $600.

"Taranaki was the other region that saw an all-time high median weekly rent last month, hitting $585," Lloyd said.

He said Southland and Northland were the only regions to not see rents rise in February.

"Southland didn't see a change in median weekly rent when compared with February 2022, while Northland was the only region to see rents actually fall year-on-year [decreasing by three percent] Lloyd said.

He said the impacts of the recent floods and Cyclone Gabrielle were not clear in Trade Me Property's February data.

"We do know that prices in the Auckland and Hawke's Bay regions have been on the incline for some time and this continued last month. Unfortunately, more rent increases are likely as supply in these regions is stretched even further due to flooding damage," Lloyd said.

The data also revealed rental listings across Aotearoa dropped by nine percent in February, making it the first year-on-year drop since March 2022.

Lloyd said rental listings dropped in Marlborough by 30 percent, in Auckland 23 percent and in Southland 11 percent.

Rental listings didn't drop everywhere in New Zealand though with the rental supply in Manawatū/ Whanganui shooting up by a whopping 46 percent year on year.

Wellington increased by 23 percent, Northland by 21 percent and the Nelson/Tasman region increased by 13 percent.

Lloyd said despite supply dropping in February, the demand for rentals increased by 22 percent compared to February 2022.

He said Otago jumped by 51 percent, Auckland by 46 percent and Marlborough by 29 percent.

Houses with five bedrooms or more and ones with three to four bedrooms also saw an increase in median weekly rent - in February.

"Wellington was the outlier, seeing no rent increases for small and medium-sized properties. The median weekly rent for a large property in the region fell by seven percent year-on-year," Lloyd said.

The Trade Me Property data revealed weekly rent for an urban property leapt to a new high of $535 in February, which climbed by seven percent year on year.

"Apartment rents grew the most, jumping six per cent year-on-year and reaching a new high of $530," Lloyd said.