Summer rent rise starts early

Warnings of rent rises prompted by housing policy changes are rife but the latest Trade Me Property data shows rents are already hitting record highs.

The national median weekly rent remained at a record high of $480 for the third month in a row in August, according to the Trade Me Property Rental Price Index.

This was an increase of 6.7% on the same time last year and, further, every region in the country saw an annual increase in rents in August.

The rising rent trend was most pronounced outside of the three main cities. Once they were excluded, the median weekly rent was up by 10.5% on last year to an all-time high of $420 in August.

Trade Me Property’s head of rentals Aaron Clancy says that outside Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch, the rental market was running hot during one of the coldest months of the year.

“In August we typically see rents slow right down as we hit the seasonal winter slump.

“But this year the provincial rental market has bucked that trend, indicating that we’re headed for record rents this summer.”

Clancy says a dip in the number of rental listings onsite and tenants trying to get ahead of the summer rental rush were driving this increase.

“We’ve seen a 3% drop year-on-year in the number of rental properties across the country and, after last summer’s madness, some tenants are making a move now to avoid risking a costlier rental in summer.”

Three regions saw big year-on-year increases which saw them hit record weekly rents in August.

They were Hawke’s Bay which up by 13.9% to $410, Waikato which was up 7.8% to $415, and Otago which was up 9.8% to $450.

But Clancy adds that tenants across the country are pouncing on rental properties quickly, with rents remaining high in Auckland and Wellington too.

In Auckland, the median weekly rent came in at a record $550 for the fifth month in a row. This is an increase of 3.8% on last year.

“Over winter demand has kept prices high and we’re watching with interest to see what they’ll do in summer,” he says. “We suspect they’re going to jump to new heights in the New Year.”

In Wellington, the median weekly rents was up by 8.9% on last year to $490 per week in August.

Clancy says the city’s rental market has begun to heat up well ahead of the summer rush.

“Historically, we’ve seen rent in Wellington start to increase as we get closer to summer, but this year it has started earlier.

“Wellington’s average weekly rent is just $10 shy of the record $500 it hit in January this year, so we expect it will well and truly break through that ceiling before the end of the year if demand continues like it has.”

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