Queenstown rents soar as tenants stay put

The median weekly rent in Queenstown Lakes has jumped 12.9 per cent since January and is now the most expensive district to rent in New Zealand at an eye-watering $790 per week, according to the latest Trade Me Rental Price Index.

Head of Trade Me Property Nigel Jeffries said the rental market in the Queenstown Lakes had seen staggering growth in the last five years as supply struggles to keep up with increasing demand. “With the median weekly rent in Queenstown Lakes at $790, that’s a whopping $240 more per week than the median rent in the Auckland region.”

Mr Jeffries said the number of rental listings in Queenstown Lakes was down 18 per cent on last year as tenants opt to stay in rentals longer. “Housing affordability is the big driver behind this rental situation. With the average asking price for a property in Queenstown Lakes now more than a million dollars, most renters are put off by the sheer size of the mortgage they’d need to own a property and end up choosing lifestyle over mortgage repayments. With more tenants staying put, this means less rentals coming onto the market,” he said.

Hawke’s Bay rentals still a hot favourite

Queenstown Lakes wasn’t the only area to experience a significant bump in median weekly rent in May. Mr Jeffries said rental properties in the Hawke’s Bay are still a hot favourite and the most popular rental property on Trade Me in May was a 5-bedroom house in the Hawke’s Bay which had an astounding 92 enquiries in the first two days onsite.

“The Hawke’s Bay rental market experienced a solid 18 per cent jump in the average number of views per listing since May last year and this demand has put the heat on rental prices, with the median rent rising 12.5 per cent on last year to a record $405 per week,” he said.

National rents freeze

Mr Jeffries said that while the national median weekly rent was up 5.6 per cent on last year, it stalled in May and remained at April’s record-breaking $475 per week.

“We’re seeing a similar trend in the main centres with rents in Auckland at a stand-still - unchanged from April and sitting tight on $550 in May.”

Mr Jeffries said that while rents remained high, tenants will be relieved to know that it’s getting better for Kiwis on the hunt for a rental property in Auckland. He said that the number of rentals in the Auckland region was up 11 per cent on last May and rentals in Auckland City were up a solid 28 per cent. “With supply picking up and better meeting demand we don’t expect to see any major changes in the Auckland rental price for the next few months,” he added.

Mr Jeffries said that in May, a two-bedroom unit in One Tree Hill was the most popular property in Auckland and received 90 enquiries within the first two days onsite.

Table 1: Auckland’s most popular rental listings in May 2018

Rental address


Enquiries in first 2 days


Rockfield Road

One Tree Hill



Mountain Road

Mount Wellington



Normanton Street



Wellington rents stall

Mr Jeffries said the median weekly rent in Wellington followed the national trend and stalled in May.  “While rent in the Wellington region was up 6.7 per cent on last year, it has remained at $480 per week for a second consecutive month.”  

In Wellington City, the median weekly rent fell $10 on April to $520, rents in Upper Hutt dipped $40 to $395, meanwhile Lower Hutt rents remained unchanged on April at $450 per week.

Mr Jeffries said demand for rentals in the capital also eased in May as tenants took a breath. “Wellington’s most popular property in May was a two-bedroom unit in Maungaraki which had 55 enquiries in the first two days onsite - a drop in the ocean compared to the most popular rental in January which had 127 enquiries in the first two days,” he said.

Table 2: Wellington’s most popular rental listings in May 2018

Rental address


Enquiries in first 2 days


Cypress Drive




Wainui Road




Morere street

Titahi Bay


Townhouses show solid growth

Mr Jeffries said townhouses experienced solid double-digit growth in May and are particularly popular in Wellington. “The median weekly rent for a townhouse in New Zealand is now just shy of the $500 mark as more Kiwis opt for what is often a newer and low maintenance option.”

Apartments for rent in Auckland hit a record high at $500 in May after climbing 2 per cent on last year. Units in the Super City also reached a new high at $445 per week after jumping up 4.7 per cent.

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

Medium houses (3-4 bedrooms) hit new high

“The median weekly rent for a medium house (3-4 bedrooms) reached a new high of $530 in May, up 6.0 per cent on the year prior.”

Mr Jeffries said most of this growth had been driven by record-breaking rents for medium houses in the regions with the Bay of Plenty (up 6.1 per cent on last year to $520 per week), Northland (up 8.4 per cent to $450), Southland (up 10.7 per cent to $310) and Waikato (up 7.1 per cent to $450).

Table 4: Median weekly rent by property size & region: May 2018 vs May 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.