Trade Me data: Kiwi renters paying $2600 more a year than last year

Tenants are paying on average $50 a week more than this time last year, according to new Trade Me data. 

It comes as Kiwis battle a cost-of-living crisis, which has seen food prices rise and inflation at 6 percent as New Zealand falls into recession.  

Trade Me released its Rental Price Index for June on Wednesday, which showed New Zealand's median weekly rent rose 9 percent on last year to claim another record. 

Renters are paying $50 more a week after the country's median weekly rent reached a new record of $620 in June - that's $2600 more a year tenants are having to fork out, according to Trade Me's director of property sales Gavin Lloyd.

"In this economy, costs are increasing across the board and this is hitting renters hard. Landlords are still feeling confident to put up prices, but this might be reaching a peak as the confirmed recession, cost of living and lack of disposable income hits tenants," Lloyd said.

"Despite the annual increase, rental prices do seem to be slowing in some regions. Over the coming months, we expect many tenants will choose to stay where they are rather than look for a new rental, which should cause prices to drop or at least steady." 

Trade Me data: Kiwi renters paying $2600 more a year than last year
Photo credit: Supplied/Trade Me

Rents rise in the regions

Renters all over the country couldn't escape the pain of rising rents, with Trade Me's data showing every region saw an increase in June. 

The largest rent jumps were in Marlborough, where rents rose 15 percent to a new record of $580 per week, while Auckland saw its median weekly rent rise 12 percent to a new high of $670. 

Canterbury saw an 11 percent annual increase to remain steady at May's record of $550 while Northland and Hawke's Bay saw the smallest increases out of the regions, with the median weekly rent at $600 and $570.

"If we look at the monthly trend across the motu, however, it appears rent growth in some regions is slowing," Lloyd said.

Wellington, Canterbury, Hawke's Bay, Manawatū/Whanganui, and Bay of Plenty all saw no changes in rents when compared with May, Lloyd said.

In some good news for renters, Northland, Waikato, Taranaki and Nelson/Tasman all saw rents decrease when compared with May. 

"It's good news for tenants that we're seeing signs of the market cooling, however, time will tell if this trend continues beyond the typical winter slump," he said. 

City living continues to drive demand

The demand for apartments, townhouses and units continues in all urban centres, with Trade Me believing tenants are opting for these as they're warmer, drier and often closer to the city, so they can save money on transport costs. 

Apartments across the board were popular in June. Auckland and Christchurch reached new record highs of $575 and $500.

Townhouses were also in demand, with prices in Auckland up 4 percent to an average of $710 per week.

"We are seeing a lot of demand in the major cities, with people choosing apartments and townhouses that are smaller, warmer and drier, but also close to the city, which may be helping people save transport and other costs," said Lloyd.

The number of properties available for rent was down significantly in June, falling 19 percent on the same time last year, while demand was up at 35 percent. 

Trade Me data: Kiwi renters paying $2600 more a year than last year
Photo credit: Supplied / Trade Me

"We expect given the high rent prices and the winter months, people are deciding to stay put rather than face the tough market," Lloyd said.

Taranaki was the exception, with an 8 percent increase in listings and a 6 percent rise in demand to match when compared with May.

"Winter is often a time of year when people rug up rather than move house," Lloyd said. 

When we reach spring it will be interesting to see whether interest increases, or if the high rent prices will put pressure on landlords to lower prices in order to entice potential tenants."

Is the Government failing renters? 

Associate Housing Minister Barbara Edmonds doesn't think so. Minister Edmonds said the Government remains "committed to renters" and ensuring every Kiwi has a "warm, dry place to live".

Minister Edmonds said the Government has been "working hard" to fix Aotearoa's housing crisis, which she said it inherited. 

She said the Government is enabling more houses to be built and is investing in public housing. 

"Since we came into Government, over 200,000 new homes have been consented," Minister Edmonds said. 

"Through the Housing Acceleration Fund, we're enabling new housing through massive investment in infrastructure such as pipes and roads."

Minister Edmonds said the Government is investing in affordable rental homes through the Affordable Rental Pathway. 

"The first round of funding is supporting the building of rental homes in six regions across New Zealand."