Trade Me property figures have revealed that while Auckland landlords are spoilt for tenant choice, the picture is less rosy across the rest of the country.
The figures show supply outstripped demand everywhere but Auckland over the last quarter, where the Trade Me head of property Brendon Skipper said the lack of new building was helping drive up rents.
"Anyone who has been reading media coverage in recent months knows Auckland is tough if you're looking for a place to rent at the moment. Average weekly rent across the city is up 7% on a year ago, and it's inevitable that will continue to rise if demand stays crazy and supply stays low."
In Wellington rents were down 2% and there were 17% more rental properties on the market than a year ago - and fewer people wanting them.
"Over the past three months in cities like Tauranga, Dunedin, Hamilton and Wellington we've seen the number of properties up for rent outstripping demand from prospective tenants," Skipper said.
He said supply had turned a corner in the last quarter of 2010 after a period of decline, and that rental property listings rose 11% nationwide in the last quarter from a year ago.
Demand nationally fell 1% from a year ago.
Skipper said that with the New Year surge in demand over for Wellington and Dunedin, landlords were struggling with oversupply.
"Students at Victoria and Otago, and public sector workers from the capital, have found their flats and settled in for the year, so in these cities landlords have a harder job filling their properties than three months ago."
The earthquake in Christchurch meant undamaged properties were being snapped up quickly, with a 7% year-on-year increase in enquiries from prospective tenants.
However, there was little evidence of profiteering by landlords.
"Any vultures must be few and far between because although the average weekly rent has gone up 5% compared with a year ago, Christchurch is only slightly ahead of the national average of 3%. To put this in perspective, that lags the entire Auckland region, Palmerston north and Rotorua."