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Christchurch rents leap 26%, rise 4% nationwide

Listings of houses for rent in Christchurch are down 34%, even as demand, measured by the number of inquiries, has jumped 47%.

Fri, 06 Jul 2012

BUSINESSDESK: Rents in Christchurch skyrocketed 26% in the past year, while nationally rents are up just 4%, according to Trade Me Property's analysis for the three months ended June compared with the same quarter last year.

At the same time, listings of houses for rent in Christchurch are down 34%, even as demand, measured by the number of inquiries, has jumped 47%. Nationally, listings are up 4% and demand is steady.

“The news for prospective Christchurch tenants is still grim,” Trade Me Property head Brendon Skipper says.

The particular “pressure cooker” suburbs of Christchurch are the central city, Linwood and St Albans.

“We've seen the number of properties available for rent in these three suburbs plummet more than 40% on a year ago and, on the flipside, the properties that do get listed are attracting huge volumes of inquiry,” Mr Skipper said.

While shortages of houses to rent in the Auckland rental market have hit the headlines in the past, Trade Me found listings are up 20% and demand is down 18%. In Manukau, listings are up 21% while demand is down 4%.

North Shore listings are up 7% and demand down 2% but the Waitakere market is much tighter with listings down 10% and inquiries up 7%.

“Autumn has wound down and the winter hibernation period sees tenants hunker down so we often see listing numbers swell and demand taper off,” Mr Skipper said.

Still, one surprise is the increase in listings and reduced demand in central Auckland hasn't led to lower asking rents, he said. Average rents in the city are flat while in Manukau and Waitakere they are up 4% and North Shore's by 5%.

One reason demand has softened in Auckland is that tenants are looking to become home owners, he said.

“Over the quarter, we've seen a 16% increase in inquiries from potential buyers compared to this time in 2011 but they'll be finding the market challenging, too.

“Listings are flat and there's plenty of healthy competition in Auckland, in particular." 

Elsewhere in the country, listings in Palmerston North are up 30%, rents are up 3% but demand is down 14%. In Dunedin, listings are up 17%, rents are up 3% and demand is up 4%, and in Hamilton, listings are down 2%, rents are up 1% and demand is up 1%.

In Wellington, listings are up 1%, rents are down 2% – the only major centre to show a decline – and demand is down 4%. In Lower Hutt, where rents are unchanged, listings are up 15% but demand is down 4%.

Mr Skipper said landlords in areas in which listings have shot up “shouldn't panic” because more than half of all rental listings stay on Trade Me for 20 days or less.

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Christchurch rents leap 26%, rise 4% nationwide