New Zealand Property Investors' Federation

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Heat on in Christchurch rental market: Trade Me

Christchurch’s rental market is soaring ahead of the rest of the country, according to Trade Me Property’s analysis for the April to June quarter.

In the quake-hit city, inquiries from potential tenants increased 47% compared to the same time in 2011. That’s up on the 42% increase seen last quarter.

Trade Me Property head Brendon Skipper said pressure on the market there was turning into big rent rises.

"The news for prospective Christchurch tenants is still grim, with rent sky-rocketing an average of 26 per cent, in stark contrast to the national rise of just 4 per cent."

Skipper said there were three "pressure cooker" suburbs: 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. For example, in Linwood the level of demand is up 101% on last year."

For the rest of the country, asking rents and the number of properties available were both up 4% on a year ago.

Skipper said there had been a listing surge in Auckland (+20%) and Dunedin (+17%). "Autumn has wound down and the winter hibernation period sees tenants hunker down, so we often see listing numbers swell and demand taper off."

One surprise emerged in central Auckland, where the increase in listings and reduced demand from tenants had not translated into downward movement in asking rents. "We'd expected to see some good news for tenants on the rent front, but it is has held steady. This is an indication that Auckland renters are more settled than they were this time last year," Skipper said.

He said more people were becoming homeowners. "Over the quarter we've seen a 16% increase in enquiries 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. Of course, that means it's a good time to list your property if you're thinking of selling."

More than half of the rentals listed on Trade Me were advertised for 20 days or fewer.

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