Trade Me rent data: Massive annual jump in rents in February as survey finds most landlords plan more big hikes this year

Rent costs are experiencing the largest annual increase since July last year as landlords warn more big jumps are on the way.

Trade Me's latest rental price index for February shows the national median rent has climbed 8.5 percent or $45 to a record-breaking $575 per week.

Trade Me said a number of regions hit new highs with Bay of Plenty, Northland, and Taranaki reaching a new record

It comes after a March survey of property investors by independent economist Tony Alexander showed 78 percent of nearly 400 respondents are planning rent rises in the next six months. 

The average planned rent rise has risen to 6.3 percent from 6 percent, the survey shows.

The rising cost of rent is just the latest increase to hit Kiwis' back pocket with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern saying the country is currently in a cost of living crisis. 

The cost of living In New Zealand is skyrocketing with Kiwis spending on average an extra $4000 and $5000 in the past 12 months on basics such as food, rent and fuel. The majority of the increase is fuel with an extra $678 a year at the pump on average.  

Trade Me property sales director Gavin Lloyd said the rising costs in all facets will be taking a toll on tenants. 

"In the past twelve months we've seen rents rise consistently and every month it gets more expensive to rent a property in New Zealand," Lloyd said.

"Add to that the rising cost of food and fuel, and tenants are having to dig deep into their wallets to pay for everyday necessities." 

Lloyd said Taranaki reached a new record for the cost of rent, which was up 22 percent to $550 while Bay of Plenty is up 6.4 percent year-on-year to $585 and Northland is up 9 percent to $545.

He said nationwide, the number of rentals dropped 6 percent when compared with the same month in 2021.

The biggest drops in rental supply were seen in Nelson/Tasman - down 39 percent year-on-year - Canterbury down 32 percent - and Taranaki down 29 percent. 

"Auckland was the only region to buck the supply trend with a 4 percent increase in the number of rental properties on the market." 

Lloyd said it wasn't all doom and gloom and there is a silver lining for tenants. 

"Nationwide, demand for rentals was down 4 percent on the year prior with many of our regions seeing a dip in enquiries," he said. 

"Wellington saw a 10 percent drop in demand, while Auckland was down 12 percent. 

"While record-breaking prices and less rentals to choose from will be a hard pill to swallow for tenants, it will come as some light relief that demand has cooled off."

The Wellington region was another area which saw costs climb with the median weekly rent rising 12 percent year-on-year to $650, while the number of rentals on the market remained unchanged. 

"Taking a closer look at the region, records were set in Lower Hutt and South Wairarapa with the median weekly rent reaching $625 and $600 respectively," Lloyd said. 

"The most expensive place to rent in the region is still Porirua at $700 per week, followed by Wellington City at $650." 

Lloyd said three and four-bedroom houses are currently the most popular type of rental property on the market.

"Across the board, all house sizes saw an increase in median weekly rent when compared to the year prior," Lloyd said. 

"Outside of Auckland, properties with three or more bedrooms have seen the most price growth. We reckon this comes down to more Kiwis working from home and wanting an extra room to set up as a home office."