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Aotearoa Rents Hit $600 For The First Time

Aotearoa’s national median weekly rent reached a record high of $600 in February, according to the latest Trade Me Property data.

Trade Me Property Sales Director Gavin Lloyd said the latest figures mark a 4 per cent jump, or $25, when compared with the same month in 2022. “Typically we see rent growth accelerate over the summer months and this year is no exception.

“This is a result of heightened seasonal demand paired with a large number of tenancies coming to an end during this period. These properties are then put back on the market, often with an adjusted rent.

“With the rising cost of living on everyone’s minds, this will be tough news for tenants who will be having to dig deeper into their wallets to pay rent.”

Mr Lloyd said the national median rent lingered in the $500 bracket for nearly four years before reaching $600 last month. “We saw the national median rent hit $500 for the first time in April 2019 where it remained for the rest of the year. It then started 2020 at $515, before increasing $5 to $520 by December.

National median rent at the beginning vs end of the year 2019-2022

 National median weekly rent - JanuaryNational median weekly rent - DecemberJanuary vs December % change
2019$495$500+1%
2020$515$520+1%
2021$540$560+4%
2022$570$580+2%
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“In 2021, the national median weekly rent saw the largest increase of the past four years, climbing $20 between January and December. Last year, the national median weekly rent began the year at $570 and finished the year at $580.”

Wellington City the most expensive district to rent

Looking around the country, Mr Lloyd said Wellington City was the most expensive district for renters in February, with the median weekly rent breaking records at $695. In Auckland City, rents reached a new high of $620, while in Christchurch the median weekly rent was stagnant, remaining at the same level as January, at $510.

Nelson/Tasman saw the largest annual price increase in February, growing by 10 per cent year-on-year to $550. “Hawke’s Bay was a close second, with the region seeing its median weekly rent grow by 9 per cent to reach a record high of $600.

“Taranaki was the other region that saw an all-time high median weekly rent last month, hitting $585.”

Southland and Northland were the only regions to not see rents rise last month. “Southland didn’t see a change in median weekly rent when compared with February 2022, while Northland (-3%) was the only region to see rents actually fall year-on-year.”

Mr Lloyd said the impacts of recent flooding and Cyclone Gabrielle were not yet clear in February data. “What we do know is that prices in the Auckland and Hawke’s Bay regions have been on the incline for some time and this continued last month. Unfortunately, more rent increases are likely as supply in these regions is stretched even further due to flooding damage.”

Supply sees first decline in almost a year

Mr Lloyd said the number of rental listings nationwide dipped by 9 per cent in February when compared with the same month last year, the first year-on-year drop since March 2022. “The biggest supply drops were seen in Marlborough (-30%), Auckland (-23%), and Southland (-11%).”

However, this was not the case in every region, with rental supply spiking by a whopping 46 per cent year-on-year in Manawatū/Whanganui. “Wellington (+23%), Northland (+21%), and Nelson/Tasman (+13%) also saw supply jump by at least 10 per cent in 12 months.”

Mr Lloyd said while supply dropped in February, rental market demand increased by 22 per cent nationwide year-on-year. “The biggest jumps were seen in Otago (+51%), Auckland (+46%), and Marlborough (+29%).”

Large and medium property rents hit a new high

Large (5+ bedrooms) and medium (3-4 bedrooms) properties both saw record-high median weekly rents in February. “Wellington was the outlier, seeing no rent increases for small and medium-sized properties. The median weekly rent for a large property in the region fell by 7 per cent year-on-year.”

Rents for urban properties reach new highs

The national median weekly rent for an urban property in Aotearoa jumped to a new high of $535 last month, climbing 7 per cent year-on-year. “Apartment rents grew the most, jumping 6 per cent year-on-year and reaching a new high of $530.”

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