Demand pushes Auckland rents up

High demand for Auckland housing means the city’s median weekly rent has gone up for the first time in almost a year, new data shows.

Tuesday, May 24th 2016, 12:00PM

by Miriam Bell

For the last 10 months Auckland’s median weekly rent has sat around the $500 mark, despite the rapid rise in the price of properties.

But, in April, there was a $20 increase in the city’s median weekly rent which has left it at $520, according to Trade Me Property’s latest data.

This is a 7.2% increase on this time last year – and a record high.

Head of Trade Me Property Nigel Jeffries said it is the first significant rental increase in some time.

It looks like Auckland landlords were passing on the costs of higher mortgages to tenants, he said.

“There’s been adequate supply in Auckland for a long time which has kept the city’s rental market pretty stable but we’re seeing a shift now.

“Demand is clearly increasing and landlords are taking the opportunity to increase the yield on their investments. I don’t expect this will be the last record we’ll see this year.”

Auckland’s apartment market also saw a jump in the median weekly rent in April, after a long period of no change.

Jeffries said the median weekly rent for Auckland’s apartments increased from $450 to a new record high of $490.

“Auckland is seeing a significant flow of new inner city apartments coming onto the market, as well as apartment developments popping up in areas outside of the traditional CBD areas which are all contributing.”

The rise in Auckland’s median weekly rent drove an increase in the median weekly rent nationwide.

Trade Me Property’s data shows that it went up by $10 to hit $440 in April. This was a year-on-year increase of 4.8%.

Jeffries said that it’s been very quiet in the rental market for a few months, but things have kicked back into gear.

“The Auckland juggernaut has come to life and several of the surrounding regions are seeing the impact of the ‘halo effect’ too.”

The regions which have seen the biggest increases in median weekly rents are Northland ($350, up 16.7% year-on-year), Bay of Plenty ($400, up 12.7% year-on-year) and Waikato ($360, up 9.6% year-on-year).

They were seeing “huge demand”, akin to the ‘for sale’ markets in the regions, Jeffries said.

Regions around the North Island – apart from Taranaki and Gisborne - experienced solid rent increases on last year, except Taranaki and Gisborne.

However, the South Island’s rental market remained very quiet.

In Canterbury, the median weekly rent has fallen to $400, which is an 8% year-on-year decline.

Jeffries said this is in line with the trend of the past eight months.

“Since the peak of the market in March 2015, when the median weekly rent hit $485, it has fallen by 18%.”

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