Rents rise ahead of expected migration influx

Home rents have risen in New Zealand ahead of what is expected to be a big influx of people migrating to the country.

The rental price index for all rentals, or "stock" rental properties, was up 3.8 percent compared to a year earlier, according to Statistics NZ data. 

Prices also increased by 0.4 percent month on month.

The latest consumer price index figures released last month showed prices for rentals were a major driver behind New Zealand's 6.7 percent annual inflation. 

"We expect headwinds from the cooler housing market to contain rises in dwelling rents going forward, although the swift and sizeable turnaround in net immigration presents some upside risk," ASB senior economist Mark Smith said in a note. Economists predict fresh data, due to be released on Friday, will show a continued rise in the number of people migrating to New Zealand and could crack record figures. 

A separate Trade Me rental price index in February showed the median weekly rent in New Zealand had hit $600 for the first time - up 15 percent since the same month in 2020. 

Compared to February last year, renters were coughing up 4 percent more per week, Trade Me said.