News Next article

All you need to know about the Christchurch rental market

Is it still cheap to rent in Christchurch? Not so much but affordable.

By Gill South 2 July 2024

If you check out the rental market in Ōtautahi Christchurch from time to time, you’re not alone. We logged 546,000 searches for rental homes in the garden city in April and 409,000 in May. The secret is out. The country’s second largest city by urban population, is attracting strong numbers of both home buyers and renters with affordable homes, easy commutes and weekends away to beautiful places like Akaroa, Kaikōura and Hanmer Springs.

A warning, don’t expect this 15-minute city to be cheap any more but its rents are certainly more reasonable than the two other big cities with Auckland ($690 median weekly rent in May) and Wellington ($650 median weekly rent in May). Christchurch’s median weekly rent in May was $570 by comparison.

Local agents say that rents have gone up by 5-10% in the last year to April. Rents in Christchurch rose quite steadily from the start of the year but these are slowing down now, says Tom Greene from Opes Property Management.

It’s about understanding rents were very low for a long time, explains Lisa Iliffe, Director at Bayleys Property Management, Canterbury. Christchurch has now caught up with other regions. Rents are generally lower in June, July, and August, she notes, so tenants may get a property cheaper at the moment.

1 bedroom apartment, $450 pw, 2/231 Madras Street, City Centre

What does your money get you in Christchurch?

On average, per week:

  • 2 bedroom homes: $450 to 550
  • 2 bedroom townhouses: $530
  • 2 bed new homes: $500 to $580
  • 3 bed homes: $550 to $600
  • 3 bed new homes: $600 to mid $700s
  • 3 bed townhouses: $625 to $680
  • 4 bed homes: $680 to $800

Where to house hunt for a Christchurch rental this winter?

Everyone has their favourite parts of Christchurch – trendy, coastal Sumner, pretty and posh Merivale and Fendalton or the CBD with its plethora of new townhouses and easy access to the city centre’s delights. So when the time comes to look for a rental, it’s tempting to just put these searches into Trade Me Property and see what pops up. But there’s so much more of the city to explore as a tenant. Our advice is to try different spots and see where you might one day like to buy.

Since the earthquakes, Christchurch has seen a lot of older homes replaced by new townhouses so there's newer stock which is great for renters, says Fraser Flynn’s Jack Flynn. Townhouses in the CBD are popular places to rent for small households when they first arrive in Ōtautahi Christchurch.

For those of you who want to explore a wide variety of properties, strike up a relationship with a good property manager or two in Christchurch and ask for suggestions of a range of great suburbs to live, close to good amenities.

The popular suburbs if you’re still studying or working at Canterbury University are Avonhead, Riccarton and Ilam. To be in the Christchurch Boys and Christchurch Girls High school zone, Fendalton, Merivale and parts of Ilam are where you’ll want to be.

Merivale and Fendalton have some very nice new or near-new rental homes and if you’re coming from the bigger cities you might find them very affordable too. Currently on Trade Me, a brand new two-bedroom Merivale townhouse will cost $550 a week. Then a more established Fendalton home, three bedroom and furnished is $750 a week.

If you’ve always liked the pretty, densely built suburb of St Albans, maybe you should also consider nearby Edgeware, which has some good shopping.

And if schools aren’t so much a priority, consider Somerfield, Spreydon, Riccarton, Sydenham and Addington. Also take a look at other less talked about inner Christchurch suburbs like Philipstown, Linwood, St Martins, Opawa and Waltham.

If you have your heart set on a suburb by the beach in this coastal city, and Sumner is too expensive or a bit too far, try New Brighton, Waimari Beach, North Beach (also known as North New Brighton). And if it’s sea views you want, consider the elevated suburbs of Mount Pleasant and Red Cliffs.

Halswell, 9 km southwest of Christchurch, is known for its stylish contemporary homes and is a popular place to own and rent. As well as this suburb you might want to consider nearby Hillmorton or Wigram.

And if you’re open to living a bit further out in semi-rural bliss, you have a lot of choice, thanks to better arterial routes completed recently. There’s Kaiapoi, Rangiora, both in the Waimakariri District and Rolleston, in Selwyn, all 20-30 minutes from town. Other locations within a half-hour drive of the CBD include Ravenswood, New Zealand’s newest city in North Canterbury, and Pegasus in Waimakariri District

For many families, Rolleston, the largest town in Selwyn, presents a lot of positives. You get about as good a bang for your buck as in Christchurch City, and homes are brand new, with stand-alone sections.

Rolleston has a lot of owner-occupiers so the rentals get snapped up but it’s a very affordable location for big city types and the market is well supplied with rentals at the moment. You’re looking at around $600 to $650 a week for a three bedroom home and $670 upwards for a four bedroom property.

3 bedroom home, $795 pw, 3/270 Kilmore Street, Christchurch City

Who’s moving to Christchurch?

Naturally enough you want to know who else is thinking of moving to this beautiful South Island city. And according to our on-the-ground spies, (local property managers) people moving to Christchurch are coming from around the country and overseas. They’re moving from Nelson, Queenstown, Auckland and Wellington, to name a few.

They include immigrant families who, if they move out of Auckland, accumulate more points for residency so they’re incentivised to move, says Irelands Property Management managing director, Melissa Benge.

It’s quite appealing for people from overseas to come to low maintenance, newly built properties which abound in Christchurch and its environs.

Meanwhile the city has plenty of successful executives who are getting the call for jobs overseas from time to time and they’re happy to rent out their homes for a period. This ebb and flow all means the Garden City is becoming a more diverse, multicultural place.

3 bedroom home, $630 pw, 45 Torlesse Street, Avonside, Christchurch City

Tips for securing a rental property in Christchurch

  1. Provide plenty of information to property managers: When you’re sharing your information with property managers in this enticing city, you don’t have to tick every box but it’s good to provide them with as much information as possible.
  2. Get to know some property managers: Ōtautahi Christchurch is a friendly place. Make a connection with a property manager or two, ideally introducing yourself in person, and you’ll find plenty of property agents happy to take you under their wing.
  3. Visit Ōtautahi Christchurch and show your face: There’s only so much you can do online, spend some time in the city before you move. Even if you’re unsure about moving to Christchurch, once you spend time here, you’ll see how accessible the city, the sea and the beaches are.
  4. If you can’t go to see a home yourself, send someone to represent you: Send a well briefed family member, work colleague or friend along to a viewing if you can’t get there.
  5. If it’s a family home you’re after, act fast: The biggest demand in Christchurch is for family homes, three bedrooms plus. These don’t hang around for long so if you see one be decisive.
  6. Catch onto the latest trend: It’s becoming quite popular for two couples to rent a four bedroom or family home to live somewhere nice and spacious and save on bills.This could be a fun way of experiencing a new city together.

It’s easier to find home rentals in winter and the good news is, they’re cheaper at this time

It’s all about timing as so much in life is. Christchurch property managers tell us winter is a great time to be finding a rental in the city. The normal number of Trade Me Property rental listings for Ōtautahi is around 600 in the summertime but the number of rentals on Trade Me Property at the time of writing is 853.

From the heady times of the start of the year up until April, a home would be rented out after one viewing. Now it’s after the second or third viewing because there are fewer people looking so you’ve got more choice and less competition.

Due to supply and demand, rents are generally lower in June, July and August so you can probably get a home more cheaply at the moment.

Seize the opportunity to investigate if Ōtautahi Christchurch is the place for you. “I think it is such a great place to live and more is to happen. There’s lots of innovative thinkers rebuilding the city,” says Fraser Flynn’s Jack Fraser.

Experts consulted for this piece were Melissa Benge, Irelands, Jack Fraser, Fraser Flynn, Jen Nell, Harcourts Accommodation Centre, Tom Greene, Opes Property Management. Lisa Iliffe, Bayleys Property Management and Linda Forsyth of Forsyth Property Management.


Gill South
Gill South