New Zealand rent prices: Wellington rentals surpass $600 median for first time as tenants struggle to find homes

Wellington's median weekly rent price has surpassed $600 for the first time as tenants struggle to find properties amid skyrocketing demand.

New data from Trade Me has revealed the capital is the first region to have its median weekly rental prices reach $615.

In the outer suburbs, it's even more expensive - Porirua, about a 20-minute drive from the CBD, has defended its title as the priciest place to rent in New Zealand, with weekly rents reaching an eye-watering $680.

Trade Me's property sales director Gavin Lloyd says it's bad news.

"Supply has long been a problem for the capital. The number of properties in the region can't cope with the demand," he said on Thursday.

He says as house prices in the region hit a new record, first home buyers are staying in rentals longer which puts strain on supply. 

Rental supply was down 3 percent in January when compared with the year before, while rental prices have increased 37 percent since 2016.

"Not only are tenants having to dig deep into their pockets to rent in the Capital, but they're also struggling to find a property as the Wellington rental market continues to struggle with supply."

The January and February months usually see the highest demand for property as university students look for homes for the year. Lots of tenancies come to an end, which causes demand to spike. 

One property in Kelburn saw 132 enquiries in the first two days of it being listed. 

It's not just Wellington seeing its prices fly upwards - every region in the country experienced an increase in its rental property prices. 

Seven out of 15 regions saw all-time highs, with the largest increase of 17 percent in Manawatu/Wanganui.

Auckland has also reached an all-time high of $590 - a 3.5 percent increase year-on-year.

Oddly, Auckland City was the cheapest district to rent in the region at just $575 per week. North Shore City topped the chart at $630 a week.