National rents steady in March from 2008; Auckland rents fall, Wellington rents rise

National rents steady in March from 2008; Auckland rents fall, Wellington rents rise
Weekly rents in Auckland City fell in March from the same month last year for two bedroom flats and three bedroom houses as Wellington City rents rose and Christchurch City rents remained flat, data from the Department of Building and Housing shows. The falling rents in Auckland will disappoint rental property investors who forecast at the beginning of last year that higher interest rates and a desire by landlords to focus on cash returns would force rents higher. It will also surprise those arguing that Auckland, in particular, is suffering from a housing shortage. While the national median weekly rent for a three bedroom house remained flat at NZ$310 between March 2008 and 2009, in Auckland it fell from NZ$450 to NZ$435. Wellington saw a rise from NZ$440 to NZ$470, while Christchurch had a slight fall from NZ$325 to NZ$320. For two bedroom flats, the median weekly rent in Auckland fell from NZ$310 in March 2008 to NZ$300 in 2009. In Wellington it rose from NZ$300 to NZ$330 and it remained at NZ$240 in Christchurch. The national median fell slightly to NZ$245. For all rental properties, the national median rent rose slightly in March 2009 from 2008 to NZ$300. It remained stable from February as the amount of bonds registered over the month made a seasonal jump to 17,784 from 12,503. The jump in number of bonds registered in March was consistent with previous years, which show a fall back down to levels slightly above February in April/May. From February, Wellington City saw a rise in the median weekly rent for both a two bedroom flat and a three bedroom house. Median weekly rent for a two bedroom flat rose from NZ$320 in February to NZ$330 in March, while for a three bedroom house it rose from NZ$450 to NZ$470. In the previous three years, there were no changes between February and March for a three bedroom house in Wellington City. In Auckland City, the median weekly rent for both a two bedroom flat and a three bedroom house fell slightly from February. In Christchurch, rents for the two remained steady. In Auckland, the changes between February and March for a three bedroom house have been nil or a slight rise in the previous three years, and slight changes either way for a two bedroom flat. In Christchurch, weekly rents for both in previous years generally remained steady between February and March.

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