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Christchurch Tenants Benefit From Declining Rents

Tenants in Christchurch have something to smile about, with rents in the Garden City falling again in May, according to the latest Trade Me Property Rental Index.

Head of Trade Me Property Nigel Jeffries said the median weekly rent in Christchurch fell $5 in May to $390. “Rents in Christchurch are down 2.5 per cent on this time last year, adding up to a $500 saving per annum for tenants.

“The median weekly rent is now the same as it was in March 2013, so tenants in the city will be a lot happier than they were during the height of the rebuild. For two years, rents rocketed up hitting the city’s record of $495 per week in March 2015.

“Since then rents have declined relentlessly. They’ve fallen year-on-year for the last two years. This means that in Christchurch rents have risen just over 8 per cent in the last five years, while nationwide the rise was 25 per cent.”

Mr Jeffries said Christchurch was a perfect example of supply and demand in the rental market. “Before the earthquake, Christchurch typically had 1450 rental property listings listed each month. After the earthquake, this fell to around 1000, and that depletion drove rents up hard.

“Since 2013, the number of rental properties has increased steadily and we’re back to the pre-earthquake number of listings, with rents starting to level out. The $390 per week mark we’ve hit appears to be Christchurch’s happy place and we think rents will stay within cooee of this for the foreseeable future.”

Nationwide rents remain flat

The median weekly rent for a typical Kiwi property was flat for the sixth month in a row at $450, an annual rate of increase of 2.3 per cent.

Mr Jeffries said that while national figures have remained flat, the regions continued to outpace our three largest cities. “The median weekly rent for properties outside Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch is up 7 per cent on this time last year to $380.

Around the regions

Across New Zealand’s 15 regions only Canterbury saw rents drop year-on-year, while Gisborne and the West Coast were unchanged.

Mr Jeffries said the North Island was particularly strong this month, with Northland and the Bay of Plenty jumping in double digits. “The median weekly rent in Northland has dropped slightly since April, down $5 to $380. That said, the region is still up 18.8 per cent on this time last year. The Bay of Plenty maintained its record high of $450 a week in May, still second equal with Wellington in the most expensive region stakes.”

In the South Island, Nelson/Tasman reached a record high in May as it hit $399 a week, a 7.1 per cent increase over the past year.

Wellington market continues to edge upward Wellington continued its upward trend in May. “Rents in the capital are again up on this time last year and property for sale in the region has seen asking prices increase markedly too.

“The most significant jump was for medium-sized properties, with 3 or 4 bedrooms, which are the biggest market in Wellington.

“At $525 per week, medium-sized houses have jumped 14.1 per cent in the last year, adding a massive $3,380 to the annual cost to rent one of these properties.

The rental option of urban living defies market trend While the rental market across the country is slowly edging up, Mr Jeffries said urban property options are bucking the trend. “Overall there was no change to the rents for townhouses, while units have seen modest growth in asking rents. Apartments are the only category experiencing much of a jump, up 4.7 per cent year-on-year to $450 per week.”


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