Kiwi renters told to brace for 'difficult', 'record-breaking' 2021

TradeMe is warning that 2021 could be a difficult year for Kiwis living in rental properties.

Data released on Thursday from the company's Rental Price Index shows rents increased in every region year-on-year in December 2020 with new records set in several regions. 

The national median weekly rent also increased by 4 percent to $520 when compared with December 2019.

"Summer is typically when we see the rental market peak, and last month was no exception," spokesperson Logan Mudge said.

"Despite the turbulence and uncertainty COVID-19 presented every part of New Zealand last year, the rental market has continued to remain very strong and we're seeing a lot of growth nationwide since August."

Mudge is warning that 2021 is also expected to be difficult for Kiwi tenants.

"All the signs are showing that 2021 is going to be a record-breaking year. Supply continues to lag behind demand in most of the country and that's only going to lead to higher prices - particularly as so many leases change early in the New Year and there's always massive demand from students in the first few months as they move around the country."

The Index showed that Marlborough ($470), Gisborne ($480) and Wellington ($595) had a record-breaking month with their median weekly rents reaching all-time highs in December 2020.

In Auckland, the median weekly rent increased by 4 percent year-on-year, reaching $580. 

"This matches the all-time high in the region we first saw in March and we expect we'll see this price beaten early in the New Year if things continue as they have recently," Mudge said.

The city's most expensive districts in December were North Shore City ($630), and south Auckland suburbs Manukau ($590) and Papakura ($585).

Mount Roskill, however, had the most popular rental - a three-bedroom house for $620 per week. It received 68 enquiries in its first 48 hours on the TradeMe website. 

However, it was nowhere near Wellington's most popular rental property, a two-bedroom apartment on Curtis Street in Karori.

The for $465 per week rental received 91 enquiries in its first 48 hours onsite.

In Wellington, the median weekly rent was a record-high $595, up 3 percent year-on-year. 

The suburb of Porirua has continued to be popular with renters with the median rent hitting $635. 

Mudge said the popularity is showing no signs of slowing down.

"Porirua offers, typically, larger properties for renters, and the commute is less significant for many people now that working from home is more and more of an option for many people," he said,

Wellington's second and third most expensive districts in December were Wellington City ($620) and Lower Hutt ($565).