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Good News For Tenants As Rents Across NZ Grind To A Halt

The New Zealand rental market is at a standstill with rents slowing across the country, according to Trade Me’s latest Rental Price Index.

Trade Me Property Sales Director Gavin Lloyd said the national median rent remained unchanged for the third consecutive month in May at $540 per week. “Since the government’s new housing policy was announced in March we’ve seen rents slow in many parts of the country.”

Mr Lloyd said in Auckland, Bay of Plenty, Canterbury, Manawatū/Whanganui, Southland and Wellington, the median weekly rent in May remained unchanged when compared to April.

“Predictions that rental prices would rise in light of the government's new housing initiatives are proving to be untrue at this point. This is particularly evident when we look at our main centres where rent price growth has either slowed right down or rents have come to a grinding halt.

“This will no doubt be welcome news to tenants who have become accustomed to price hike after price hike.”

However, Mr Lloyd said while rents have slowed since March, if we compare to May last year, tenants are still having to fork out more to pay rent. “The national median weekly rent last month matched the all-time high that was first recorded in January this year. If we look at May last year, the national median rent has increased by six per cent or $30 per week - the same percentage increase we saw in March. Prior to that we hadn’t seen an annual percentage increase that large since October 2018.”

Mr Lloyd said May saw a 1 per cent increase in the number of rental properties listed when compared with the month prior. However, Mr Lloyd said this increase was not enough to keep up with demand for rentals, which saw a 5 per cent increase nationwide in May when compared with the month prior.

Auckland’s median rent at $590 since January

In the Auckland region, the median weekly rent was $590 for the fifth month in a row in May. “We haven’t seen rents in the Auckland region budge since January. The only other region where rents have not increased since last year is the Bay of Plenty, where the median weekly rent has stayed at $550.”

Looking at Auckland City alone, the median weekly rent was slightly lower at $570. “This puts it behind the four most expensive districts in the region, Papakura ($610), North Shore City ($610), Rodney ($600) and Manukau ($600).”

Auckland’s most expensive districts in May 2021

DistrictMedian weekly rent
North Shore City$610

Mr Lloyd said demand in the Auckland region was up by 4 per cent month-on-month, while supply was up by 1 per cent.

“May’s most popular rental listing in the country was a three-bedroom, three-bathroom house on Albizia Avenue in Henderson, with a weekly rent of $515. It received 117 enquiries in its first two days onsite.”

Wellington rents increase by 8%

“Rent in the Wellington region also followed the national trend, remaining unchanged on April at $595 per week in May.

“Looking at Wellington City, the median weekly rent increased by 5 per cent year-on-year to $610, but also saw no change when compared with April.”

Wellington’s most expensive districts in May 2021

DistrictMedian weekly rent
Wellington City$610
Lower Hutt$590

Demand for rentals in the Wellington region was up by 5 per cent last month when compared with April, while supply saw no month-on-month change.

“The most popular rental in the region last month was a three-bedroom, two-bathroom unit on Brougham Road in Mount Victoria, for $450 per week. The property received 59 enquiries in its first two days onsite.”

Rents reach an all-time high in Taranaki

Mr Lloyd said a new record median weekly rent was only seen in one region in May. “In Taranaki, the median weekly rent reached an all-time high of $465, marking an 8 per cent year-on-year increase.”

The only region that saw a decrease in its median weekly rent was Otago, which dropped by 1 per cent year-on-year. “The largest year-on-year rental price increases were seen in Marlborough (23%) and Manawatū/Whanganui (15%).”

Houses of all sizes see rents increase

Mr Lloyd said the median weekly rent for all house sizes saw an annual increase in every region, with the exception of 5+ bedroom houses in Auckland (-2%) and Wellington (-4%).

Apartment rents drop by 1% nationally

When compared with May last year, the national median weekly rent for apartments dropped by 1 per cent last month. “Rents for all other urban properties saw a year-on-year increase, with the median weekly rent for units in Auckland reaching an all-time high of $495 per week.”

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