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Rental Price Index | January 2024

Rental prices continue to climb in 2024

22 February 2024

New Zealand rental prices have increased for the second month in a row according to Trade Me’s latest Rental Price Index, including rents for apartments and townhouses which have climbed to record highs.

The latest data reveals that the national median weekly rent in Aotearoa has jumped to $630 for the month of January up 0.8 percent compared to December 2023.

Trade Me’s Property Sales Director Gavin Lloyd said the first month of the year could be a telling sign of the year ahead.

“Renters were for the most part sheltered from any major price increases for rental properties at the end of 2023 but this may change if the Reserve Bank decides to raise the official cash rate next week in their first meeting of the year.”

“As borrowing costs rise, landlords may face increased expenses, and some could pass on these costs to tenants through higher rents. This change might make it a bit tougher for renters with the rising cost of living and lack of properties available giving them fewer options when searching for a property,” said Lloyd.

Auckland reclaims highest place to rent

After the Bay of Plenty overtook Auckland with the highest rental price last month, Tāmaki Makaurau returned to the top spot in January.

Average median rent in Auckland went up by 3 per cent compared to last month, reaching a high of $680 per week whilst the Bay of Plenty market dropped by 3 per cent to $650 per week.

The increase in Tāmaki Makaurau was driven by the North Shore City which recorded an uptick of 4.2 per cent to $720 a week and Waitakere City which is up 2.3 per cent to $665 a week.

“As people in New Zealand got back to their normal routines in January, the cost of renting a place followed similar patterns to the previous year. This is largely driven by the supply of properties not keeping up with demand.In January we saw demand increase by 61 per cent in Auckland compared to December - which will be contributing to higher rental prices." said Lloyd.

Southland retains its status as the most affordable place to rent in New Zealand, with a median price of $450 per week, marking a slight $10 increase from December.

Record highs for apartments and townhouses

Across the country, the median rental prices for both apartments and townhouses reached record highs in January.

The median weekly rent for an apartment in New Zealand peaked at $560 per week in January and townhouses reached $665 per week.

In Tāmaki Makaurau specifically townhouses also reached an all time high of $730 up five per cent compared to the same time last year. Units in Christchurch also saw a large jump, up 12.5 per cent making the median rent $450.

"As net migration is almost at an all time high more people are coming into the country looking for entry level rentals like apartments and townhouses - especially as they are more prevalent in our city centres. This increase in demand is likely putting pressure on the supply and impacting prices,” says Lloyd.

Demand returns after holiday period

As the peak holiday period came to an end, more rental properties came onto the market, with supply up 15 per cent compared to December.

Wellington had the biggest increase with a boost of 38 per cent in the number of rentals available, followed by Taranaki which experienced a 20 per cent increase.

When looking at demand, it skyrocketed by 61 per cent compared to December; however, when compared to the same time last year, it is down by 11 percent.

"Coming into 2024, a lot of Kiwi are searching for a new rental property - this is especially evident in Wellington, which saw an increase in demand by 94 percent. Southland and Auckland also saw a surge in demand; this could be due to people wanting a change of scenery in the new year," said Lloyd.