Tenants kick off the New Year with record-breaking rents

Tenants around the country are facing record-breaking rents after the national median rent rose 4.4 per cent to an all-time high of $470 per week, according to the latest Trade Me Property Rental Index.

Head of Trade Me Property Nigel Jeffries said Wellington was leading the trend. “Renters in the capital will be feeling the pinch and the median asking rent was $550 per week in January. For the first time a property in Wellington City will cost you the same to rent as one in Auckland City.

“Tenants are having to get in quick to secure a rental after the number of rental listings fell 5 per cent nationwide on last January - but were down 11 per cent in the capital.”

Mr Jeffries said an example of the demand in January was a three-bedroom property in central Wellington which had 127 enquiries in just 48 hours.

Wellington tenants expand their search

“With rental listings in Wellington at a low ebb, many renters in the capital are beginning to look further afield and some traditionally quieter areas have taken off,” Mr Jeffries said.

“Lower Hutt was the most popular area for Wellington tenants in January, with rental listings receiving an average of 16 enquiries in their first two days onsite. Upper Hutt was a close second with an average of 15 enquiries, whereas demand for rentals in central Wellington was lower with rentals receiving an average of 11 enquiries in the first two days of listing.”  

Student hotspots like Aro Valley and Te Aro received 16 and 12 enquiries on average respectively in the first two days, while rental listings in Petone and Naenae had an average of 22 enquiries, he added.

The median rent in the wider Wellington region reached a record $500 in January, up 4.2 per cent year-on-year. Lower Hutt crept up 13 per cent in January to an all-time high of $450 per week, and the median rent in Upper Hutt increased 2 per cent to $400 per week.

Mr Jeffries said that despite these record rent highs, Wellington tenants had one glimmer of good news. “A lot of leases came up for renewal in January and as a result we saw 45 per cent more listings than in December which will have prospective tenants in the capital breathing a small sigh of relief.”

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

Rental’s address


Enquiries in first 2 days


Bidwill Street

Mount Cook



Majoribanks Street

Mount Victoria



Mulgrave Street

Wellington central



Willis Street

Te Aro



Newlands Road



Auckland rents break record

“The Auckland region’s rental market began the year strongly with the median weekly rent hitting another record in January, up 3.8 per cent year-on-year to $540,” Mr Jeffries said.

Rental properties on the North Shore reached an all-time high of $585 per week,  along with rentals in Franklin which climbed to $500 per week in January. The central city was unchanged on December, remaining at $550 a week.

Mr Jeffries said it’s not all bad news for Auckland renters however, after the number of rental listings increased 5 per cent on last January. “Like Wellington, January is a busy time for the Auckland rental market and this year was no different. We saw 17 per cent more rental listings onsite than December,” he added.

Mr Jeffries said inner-city rentals remained popular in the Super City. “In January, we saw a two-bedroom property in Mount Eden spark almost 100 enquiries in the first two days onsite.”

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

Rental’s address


Enquiries in first 2 days


Mt Eden Road

Mount Eden



Orchard Road




Kealy Road

Mount Wellington



Grand View Drive




Rossgrove Terrace

Mount Albert


Christchurch bucks the trend

“Christchurch was the only main centre to buck the trend after the median weekly rent increased a microscopic 0.3 per cent to $400 per week,” Mr Jeffries said.  

The average number of enquiries in Christchurch was a drop in the ocean compared to Wellington, with an average of just four enquiries in the first two days onsite.

Mr Jeffries said that the number of rental listings in the Garden City fell 19 per cent year-on-year.

“Apartments, townhouses and units however are becoming increasingly popular in Christchurch, and the median rent for these properties was up a solid 5.7 per cent since last January, to $370 per week.”

Rent rises in the regions

Landlords in Nelson and Southland have plenty of reason to smile this month after respective median weekly rents rose 10.8 per cent (to $410) and 8 per cent (to $270) year-on-year.

“Northland and the Bay of Plenty also experienced strong growth over the past 12 months to reach $385 and $380 per week,” Mr Jeffries said.

Properties reach new high

Mr Jeffries said the national median weekly rent for all property types except townhouses reached a new record in January.

“Apartments and units continue to be popular across the country, particularly in Wellington. It’s not surprising more tenants are considering moving into the relatively cheaper option of an apartment or a unit.”  

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

Large houses prove popular

The national median rent for large houses (5+ bedrooms) increased 6.8 per cent on last January to a record $790 per week.

“Large houses in the capital are now the most expensive type of rental property in the country with a hefty median weekly rent of $1,050,” Mr Jeffries said.

Table 4: Median weekly rent by property size & region: January 2018 vs January 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. In previous Property Rental Price Indexes we have calculated the number of available rentals, however the feedback we received indicated that this metric was confusing and often misinterpreted. We have decided that moving forward we will instead look at the number of rental listings on-site.