22 Dec 2020

Trade Me figures reveal new record rental prices

5:17 pm on 22 December 2020

Rental prices continue to surge across the country as the national median weekly rent finishes off the year 21 percent higher than in 2015.

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Photo: 123RF

New data released by Trade Me has found that the country's average rent has again reached $520 a week - a high not seen since February.

The highest rents are on Auckland's North Shore, at an average $620 a week.

However, Wellington now out-prices Auckland with a median price of $580 per week. Porirua and Wellington City were equal-highest priced areas in the capital at an average $595 a week.

Bay of Plenty rents also set new records at $535 a week.

Trade Me's property spokesperson Logan Mudge said that despite an increase in properties available for rent last month, demand was outstripping supply.

"Any time that happens landlords will charge top dollar and they have plenty of people clamouring for their rental properties," Mudge said.

Mudge said rents showed no signs of falling anytime soon, with prices expected to keep growing through next year.

"Looking ahead to 2021 we don't see any change coming, in fact price is only going to get higher," he said.

"Over the next five years, unless there is a real change in the number of houses and rental properties that come online, it's not going to go backwards, that's for sure."

Tenants Protection Association manager Penny Arthur said the concern was the low level of incomes increases in comparison to rental prices.

"We will see more stressed renters, that people who are paying over the affordable amount of 30 percent of their income on rent... it's going to become increasingly impossible for people to afford rent," Arthur said.

There was no single solution to bringing down the country's rental prices, Arthur said, and things like rental caps could be extremely tricky to implement correctly and fairly.

"We do have in the Residential Tenancies Act that a landlord can charge what is considered to be a reasonable market rate. At the moment there is the onus on a tenant for them to prove they are being charged too much and that's quite difficult," she said.

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