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Summer Brings Heat To New Zealand’s Rental Market

Despite a tumultuous year, the national rental market finished 2020 as strong as it started, according to the latest Trade Me Rental Price Index.

Trade Me Property spokesperson Logan Mudge said the national median weekly rent increased by 4 per cent when compared with December 2019 to $520. “Summer is typically when we see the rental market peak, and last month was no exception.

“December marks the third month we saw rents increase by 4 per cent in a row, with October and November national averages up by the same amount when compared with 2019.

“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.”

When compared with December 2019, Mr Mudge said supply was up by 11 per cent last month. “This was the highest year on year supply increase we have seen in recent years, an encouraging sign for renters looking for a new home.

“However, national demand was also up by 13 per cent year-on-year in December meaning we didn’t see prices cool off as a result of increased market supply.”

Mr Mudge warned that 2021 could be difficult for tenants. “All the signs we’re 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.”

Auckland City rents show sustained stability

The Auckland region’s median weekly rent increased by 4 per cent year-on-year in December, 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.

“Drilling down on Auckland City, the median weekly rent was $550 for the seventh month in a row. We have really seen central city rents stabilise in recent months, with the median weekly rent not showing any year-on-year growth since May.”

Auckland’s most expensive districts in December

DistrictMedian weekly rent
North Shore City$630
Manukau $590

Mr Mudge said the most popular rental in the region was a three-bedroom house in Mount Roskill, located on Boyce Avenue for $620 a week. It received 68 enquiries in its first 48 hours onsite.

Record-breaking end to the year in Wellington

In the Wellington region, the median weekly rent in December was a record-high $595, up 3 per cent year-on-year. “The Wellington City average median weekly rent was slightly higher at $620. This put it in second place behind Wellington’s most expensive district, Porirua.”

“Porirua’s rental market has grown throughout the year and reached another record high in December with the median weekly rent hitting $635. Porirua has become more and more popular with renters this year and it’s 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.”

Wellington’s most expensive districts in December

DistrictMedian weekly rent
Wellington City$620
Lower Hutt$565

“The most popular rental in the region was a two-bedroom apartment on Curtis Street in Karori. The $465 per-week rental received 91 enquiries in its first 48 hours onsite.”

Rents up in every region

Mr Mudge said rents in every single region saw a year-on-year increase in December, with records set in regions in the middle and lower North Island. “Marlborough ($470), Gisborne ($480), and Wellington ($595) all saw the median weekly rents reach an all-time high last month.”

“The biggest supply increases were seen in university cities Otago (up 34%), Southland (up 31%) and Manawatu/Whanganui (up 21%) as student leases finished up for the year.”

Mr Mudge said some coastal regions saw demand spike in December. “Sunny weather saw remarkable demand increases in Nelson/Tasman (up 43%), Northland (up 39%), Taranaki (up 31%), and Bay of Plenty (31%).”

Townhouse rents reach new high

Mr Mudge said townhouses and units rents both saw a year-on-year increase in December. “The median weekly rent for townhouses reached a new high, at $565.

“On the other hand, the national median weekly rent for apartments fell by 2 per cent year-on-year, to $480.”

Houses up almost everywhere

Mr Mudge said rental prices were up across the board when compared with December 2019, with the exception of small (1-2 bedrooms) in Christchurch, which saw no change. “New records were set for medium houses (3-4 bedrooms) in Wellington, with the median weekly rent reaching $590.”

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