Demand for rentals has skyrocketed

8:38 pm on 9 September 2010

Christchurch property agents say demand for rental homes and office space has skyrocketed since Saturday's earthquake.

Many inner-city commercial buildings are cordoned off, and some will have to be demolished due to damage.

Robert Williams of Commercial and Industrial Real Estate says there was a glut of office space before the quake, but it will be quickly soaked up as firms are forced out of their damaged premises.

Mr Williams says, however, that the supply of cheap, older retail space is limited.

The owner of Harcourts Accommodation Centre in Papanui Rd, Patricia Bowden, says staff have been run off their feet dealing with a growing stream of people seeking rentals after their homes were damaged.

She says, however, that supply is very tight, and that the situation worsened with Wednesday's big aftershock, which affected hillside suburbs that had survived Saturday's quake largely unscathed.

Ms Bowden says some landlords are seeking to exploit the situation by requesting rent rises but her company has refused, because it would be unfair to the tenants involved.

Holiday homes fill up

Holiday homes in Hanmer Springs normally empty at this time of year are being booked by Christchurch residents fleeing the aftershocks of Saturday's earthquake.

One company, Hanmer Holiday Homes, says half of the 185 houses it manages have been filled in the past few days.

Director Jason Fletcher has appealed to owners of other empty holiday homes in Hanmer Springs to make them available.

Mr Fletcher says there are about 300 such houses that he hopes will be offered for free or at a reduced rate for people wanting to get away from Christchurch.