Auckland hits a new record while rental prices ease in the capital

Wellington tenants can breathe a sigh of relief this month after the median rent in the capital cooled in February following a record summer, falling $10 from January’s record high to $490 per week, according to the latest Trade Me Property Rental Index.

Head of Trade Me Property Nigel Jeffries said the Wellington rental market was over the student surge. “Typically we see rental prices in the capital peak in December and January when students come into the city looking for a flat, before easing back in February and March. Tenants will be pleased to know that brakes have been applied at long last.

“However, it’s only a $10 drop and rents are still up 6.5 per cent on last year. Demand is still very high without the supply to meet it. For example, a house in Lower Hutt got over 100 queries in the first two days it was listed, and two others in the Wellington CBD had well over 90.

“With numbers like this still appearing regularly, we’re expecting to see plenty more bumps along the rental road this year for tenants.”  

After a hot few months, the median rent finally dipped in Wellington City too, falling $20 on January’s high to $530 per week in February. “Tenants in Wellington have plenty of reason to smile this month after rental prices fell, and the number of rental listings increased 2 per cent on last year.”

Mr Jeffries said this trend continued across the rest of the Wellington region. “The median weekly rent in Lower Hutt fell $12 to $438 on last month, while rental prices in Upper Hutt dropped $50 to $350 per week.

“Upper Hutt was the most popular area for tenants in February, with rental listings receiving an average of 18 enquiries in their first two days onsite. Rental properties in Lower Hutt were also highly sought after, fetching an average of 16 enquiries in two days. Demand for rentals in central Wellington slowed from January’s peak of 11 to 8 enquiries in the first two days onsite.”

Table 1: Wellington’s most popular rental listings in February 2018

Rental’s address

Suburb

Enquiries in first 2 days

1

Oxford Terrace

Lower Hutt

107

2

Rongotai Road

Kilbirnie

97

3

Moxham Avenue

Hataitai

90

National rental price stalls

At a national level, the median weekly rent stalled in February, remaining at its all-time high of $470 per week, Mr Jeffries said.

“The number of rental listings across the country was still down 4 per cent on last February which is keeping prices high.”

Mr Jeffries said tenants will be pleased the rate of growth has finally eased after a turbulent summer for the rental market.  

Auckland bucks the trend

Mr Jeffries said that Auckland was bucking the trend after the median weekly rent crept up $10 a week on January to another record at $550 per week in February.

“Rental prices in the North Shore and Manukau continued to gain momentum in February, rising $10 on January to a record of $595 and $530 respectively. In Auckland City, the median weekly rent remained unchanged for a second consecutive month at $550 per week.”

Table 2: Auckland’s most popular rental listings in February 2018

Rental’s address

Suburb

Enquiries in first 2 days

1

Ngake Street

One Tree Hill

98

2

Kingsdale Road

Henderson

92

3

New North Road

Mount Albert

88

Mr Jeffries said the Auckland rental market did not usually follow the same seasonal pattern as Wellington, and was often “less predictable”.

Christchurch stays stagnant

Mr Jeffries said the median weekly rent in the Garden City remained unchanged from January at $400 per week, up just $5 on last February.

“The Christchurch rental market has been relatively flat for almost two years now, with weekly rents hovering around the $400 mark since April 2016,” he said.

Regions a mixed bag

Mr Jeffries said the regions were a mixed bag in February with record rents in some areas and large dips in others.

“Landlords in Hawke’s Bay have plenty of reason to smile after the median weekly rent reached an all-time high of $385 per week in February, up a solid 8.5 per cent on the previous year.”

Rents also hit a new high in the Marlborough region to reach $430 per week in February, he said.

“Gisborne took the prize for growth in February, shooting up 22.2 per cent on last year to $330 per week.”

Taranaki was unchanged on this time last year, and the West Coast fell 5.5 per cent.

Small houses (1-2 bedrooms) reach new record

The national median rent for small houses (1-2 bedrooms) increased a solid 8.3 per cent on last February to a record $390 per week.

“Small houses in the capital experienced the most growth, climbing 9.6 per cent as rising rent prices have forced tenants to downsize,” Mr Jeffries said.

Table 3: Median weekly rent by property size & region: February 2018 vs February 2017

Urban properties show strong growth

Mr Jeffries said apartments, townhouses and units across the country “boomed” in February.

“Townhouses have been growing in popularity, particularly in Auckland and Wellington as they are typically warmer, drier, easier to maintain and in a better inner-city location.”  

Table 4: Median weekly rent by property size & region: February 2018 vs February 2017

About the Trade Me Property Rental Price Index:

This report provides a comprehensive monthly insight into the rental market covering price trends by type and size of property across New Zealand. The index is produced from Trade Me Property data of properties that have been rented in the month by property managers and private landlords. On average over 11,000 properties are rented each month and the report provides a comprehensive insight into this part of the property market for tenants, landlords and investors. The index is calculated using the median rent in the month, this being an accurate statistical assessment of the current rent being charged by landlords and property managers.

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