Residential property may still be attractive to investors seeking a rental income stream, but they may need to search the provinces for the best returns

Residential property may still be attractive to investors seeking a rental income stream, but they may need to search the provinces for the best returns

The rental yields on residential investment properties are likely to remain attractive to investors in spite of the sharp rise in prices that occurred in the second half of last year, according to's Rental Yield Indicator.

The Indicator tracks the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand's lower quartile selling price, and the median rent for three bedroom houses in 56 locations around New Zealand where there is a high level of rental activity.

It uses that data to produce an indicative gross rental yield for each location, allowing an apples-with-apples comparison to be made of the potential gross returns in each location.

The latest update, based on lower quartile prices and median rents over the six months from July to December last year, provided indicative yields ranging from a low of 3.3% in Queenstown, to 7.0% at Owhata in Rotorua. Rental yield is the rental income a property could provide in a year, expressed as a percentage of its purchase price.

In Auckland, the country's busiest rental market, the indicative yields were all below 5%, ranging from 3.6% at Highland Park in the city's eastern suburbs to 4.7% at Pukekohe on the city's southern flank.

Yields above 5% are also becoming less common around the rest of the country, especially in the Waikato and Bay of Plenty. However Rotorua stands out as an exception, with yields in the suburbs monitored there ranging from 5.1% to 7.0%.

Rotorua has long been a happy hunting ground for residential property investors chasing rental income and it's easy to see why.

The REINZ's lower quartile selling prices for three bedroom houses in the Rotorua suburbs of Owhata and Ngongotaha were around $364,000 over the six months from July to December last year, while the median rents for three bedroom houses in the same suburbs were $485 to $489, which would provide gross rental yields of 6.9% to 7.0%

At those prices, many investors would have enough equity in their own homes to be able to purchase a property in Rotorua without needing to raise a mortgage, although with interest rates being so low they probably would have at least some debt. 

Many investors might find that is a better proposition than investing in somewhere like the Auckland suburb of Beach Haven, where there is a high percentage of rental properties but where the lower quartile price over July-December was just under $800,000 and the indicative yield was just 3.9%.

Other districts where the Indicator suggests prices are affordable and the yields similarly attractive are Flaxmere in Hastings, Waitara in Taranaki, Whanganui, Ashburton, St Kilda in Dunedin and Invercargill.

With mortgage interest rates likely to remain near record lows for the short term at least, and returns from other types of investment such as bank deposits and shares also at modest levels, in seems likely that investor interest in residential property will remain elevated for some time.

However if investors are chasing a reasonable rental income stream, they may be forced to look for opportunities in the provinces rather than the main centres.

The table below shows the indicative yields in all 56 locations monitored by, going back to December 2018. However if comparing the latest figures with those from previous periods, please read the note at the bottom of the table about the series break in the underlying data. The full table, going back to September 2014, can be viewed here.

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Indicative gross rental yields for three bedroom houses in 56 selected areas with high rental activity during the previous six months. Based on REINZ lower quartile selling prices and median rents recorded by Tenancy Services' Bonds Centre in each area over the previous six months.
  Indicative gross residential rental yields for the six months ending:



   Yield % Dec 2020     Series  break* Yield % Sept 2020 Yield % June 2020  Yield % March 2020 Yield % Dec 2019 Yield % Sept 2019 Yield % June 2019 Yield % March 2019 Yield % Dec 2018
Kamo 5.6 --- 5.4 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.3 5.3 5.5
Rodney - Orewa 4.4 --- 4.1 4.1 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.2 4.2 4.1
North Shore:                    
Beach Haven 3.9 --- 3.8 3.8 3.9 4.1 4.2 4.1 3.8 3.8
Torbay 3.8 --- 3.7 3.8 3.9 3.9 4.0 4.0 3.8 3.9
Glen Eden 4.1 --- 4.1 4.1 4.0 4.2 4.3 4.3 4.0 4.1
Massey 4.1 --- 4.1 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.3 4.3 4.0 4.0
Henderson 3.9 --- 3.9 4.0 4.3 4.4 4.6 4.4 4.1 4.2
Central Auckland:                    
Avondale 3.8 --- 3.8 3.5 3.7 4.2 4.3 4.2 3.9 3.9
Highland Park 3.6 --- 3.6 3.6 3.4 3.4 3.5 3.8 3.4 3.3
Papakura 4.6 --- 4.5 4.6 4.6 4.7 4.7 4.8 5.1 5.0
Franklin - Pukekohe 4.7 --- 4.6 4.6 4.5 4.4 4.5 4.6 4.7 4.6
Deanwell 4.7 --- 4.9 4.6 4.7 4.9 5.0 5.0 4.9 4.9
Fairfield 5.1 --- 4.9 4.9 4.9 4.8 4.9 4.7 4.4 4.4
St Andrews 4.2 --- 4.2 4.3 4.2 4.3 4.6 4.5 4.6 4.7
Cambridge - Leamington 4.5 --- 4.4 4.3 4.4 4.3 4.5 4.4 4.4 4.5
Te Awamutu 4.8 --- 4.7 4.3 4.9 5.1 5.0 4.9 4.9 4.9
Greerton 4.7 --- 4.4 4.7 4.6 4.6 4.5 4.8 5.5 5.1
Bethlehem 4.4 --- 4.1 4.4 4.2 4.1 4.3 4.2 3.7 4.0
Mt Maunganui 4.1 --- 4.1 4.3 4.3 4.1 4.2 4.4 4.6 4.5
Pyes Pa 4.9 --- 4.6 4.5 4.5 4.7 4.5 4.7 4.8 4.7
Te Puke 4.7 --- 4.6 4.8 5.1 5.3 5.2 5.3 5.0 5.1
Whakatane 5.3 --- 5.2 5.3 5.2 5.5 5.7 5.4 5.7 5.9
Owhata 7.0 --- 6.7 6.7 6.8 6.3 6.1 6.5 6.1 6.3
Glenholm 5.1 --- 5.1 5.8 4.9 4.9 5.4 6.0 4.9 4.9
Ngongotaha 6.9 --- 6.6 6.2 6.0 5.9 5.5 6.0 6.1 6.5
Hastings - Flaxmere 6.1 --- 6.0 5.9 6.1 6.3 7.0 7.9 8.2 8.3
Napier - Taradale 4.6 --- 4.5 4.3 4.3 4.7 4.5 4.6 5.0 5.1
New Plymouth  4.9 --- 4.6 5.0 4.6 5.4 5.5 4.7 5.3 5.1
Waitara 5.7 --- 6.0 7.0 6.3 6.3 7.7 6.7 7.6 7.4
Whanganui 6.6 --- 6.2 6.8 7.0 7.4 7.6 7.8 8.1 8.2
Palmerston North:                    
Kelvin Grove 5.5 --- 5.3 5.3 5.4 5.2 5.3 5.7 5.6 5.7
Palmerston North Central 5.1 --- 4.7 4.4 4.9 4.7 4.8 5.3 5.3 5.2
Takaro 5.2 --- 5.1 5.1 5.1 5.2 5.5 5.6 5.6 5.7
Kapiti Coast:                    
Paraparaumu 4.3 --- 4.3 4.6 4.5 4.5 4.7 4.8 4.5 4.8
Waikanae 4.9 --- 4.3 4.2 4.3 4.5 4.4 4.7 4.5 4.4
Upper Hutt:                    
Silverstream 4.1 --- 4.3 4,7 4.7 5.2 5.1 5.1 4.9 5.0
Totara Park 4.8 --- 4.6 5.0 5.3 5.0 5.2 5.3 5.2 5.3
Lower Hutt:                    
Avalon 4.6 --- 4.6 4.7 4.4 4.7 4.9 4.8 5.2 5.1
Naenae 5.0 --- 4.9 4.9 4.9 5.3 5.3 5.0 5.4 5.5
Wainuiomata 5.1 --- 5.0 5.0 5.0 5.1 5.3 5.3 5.5 5.5
Johnsonville 4.4 --- 4.4 4.7 5.0 4.7 4.7 4.7 4.9 5.1
Newtown 5.7 --- 5.3 4.4 4.3 5.0 5.0 5.0 4.6 4.4
Motueka 4.6 --- 4.0 3.9 4.3 4.0 4.0 4.2 4.3 4.4
Richmond 4.3 --- 4.2 4.3 4.3 4.3 4.3 4.5 4.4 4.3
Nelson - Stoke 4.6 --- 4.5 4,6 4.5 4.7 4.7 4.7 4.6 4.5
Blenheim 5.8 --- 5.5 5.2 5.1 5.6 5.5 5.3 5.3 5.3
Hornby 5.6 --- 5.7 5.8 5.9 5.8 5.8 5.8 5.9 5.8
Riccarton 4.7 --- 4.9 5.2 4.4 4.3 4.4 5.9 5.2 5.1
Woolston 5.7 --- 5.8 6.1 6.3 6.6 6.4 6.4 6.5 7.1
Ashburton 6.3 --- 5.8 5.5 7.3 7.5 6.3 5.7 5.8 6.3
Timaru 5.4 --- 5.5 5.6 5.6 5.7 5.8 6.0 6.1 6.1
Queenstown 3.3 --- 3.6 4.0 4.0 3.7 4.0 4.2 4.0 4.1
Mornington 5.6 --- 5.3 4.8 4.6 4.7 5.2 5.3 5.1 5.5
Mosgiel 4.6 --- 4.6 4.7 4.8 5.0 5.2 5.3 5.2 5.3
St Kilda 6.3 --- 6.1 5.5 5.4 5.7 6.2 6.5 6.9 6.4
Invercargill 6.6 --- 6.7 6.6 6.6 6.7 7.1 7.0 7.2 7.7

Source: Base data from REINZ / MBIE

*Yield is a property's annual rent expressed as a percentage of its purchase price. The indicative yield figures in this table are gross, and are calculated from the REINZ's lower quartile selling price for three bedroom houses in each area during the previous 6 months, and the median rent for three bedroom houses calculated from new tenancy bonds received by the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment for the same areas/period. This gives an indication of the gross rental yield that would have been achieved in each area if a three bedroom house was purchased at the lower quarter price and rented at the median rent for that that type of property in that area.

*Series break note: In November 2020 Tenancy Services changed the geographical boundaries of many of the suburb groupings it uses to collate the bond data from which it calculates median rents. This is likely to have affected the median rent figures used in the indicative yield calculations displayed in the above table. For this reason, the indicative yield figures from December 2020 onwards should not be compared with those prior to December 2020, because any comparison may not be on an apples-with-apples basis.

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It's simple math. If you buy a 1.5M house with 1 M mortgage.
You pay between 30,000 and 40,000 year for mortgage interest. and Rent income is between 40,000 and 50,000.
Basically rent pays interests while property value rises.


But if you have to repay the loan over twenty years then you need another 50,000 dollars to repay principal. And the rent won’t cover that...let alone all the other costs.

The thing is a clusterf**k!

Stop interest only loans and those with big portfolios all highly leveraged take a bath.... they lose their houses and fhbers win.

None of this going on here.

A housing bubble, or real estate bubble, is a run-up in housing prices fuelled by demand, speculation, and exuberant spending to the point of collapse. Housing bubbles usually start with an increase in demand, in the face of limited supply, which takes a relatively extended period to replenish and increase. Speculators pour money into the market, further driving up demand. At some point, demand decreases or stagnates at the same time supply increases, resulting in a sharp drop in prices

Record number of building consents issued in November 2020. Migration is through the floor.

Pent up demand can also dissipate very quickly, particularly when it's a number hard to quantify.

There is an extensive backlog of demand however and the border situation is temporary. I hope that reopening will cause a strong tailwind for property prices to really push this issue. The only way that Government will ammend the RMA and take zoning out of the hands of councils is if there are absolutely no other option. That means the pain needs to get worse before it can get better.

"Stop interest only loans and those with big portfolios all highly leveraged take a bath.... they lose their houses"

Sure mate... dreams are free but houses arent


Houses are free to investors due to leverage and low interest rates. They use unearned paper gains as a "deposit"

This is the new norm.
Any one specially first home buyer should budget for 4% interest rate just as a buffer.

KFC has increased their price on their coupon bucket deals....I am bit gutted, I wonder if people will still eat KFC..hmmm

My landlord would be no exception......

Doing very nicely out of me.


You poor bugger ... you deserve better lol

Who’s going to pay $960 / week for rent in NZ (excluding penthouse suite)...

There is more to the cost of house ownership than the mortgage.
19% of my rental income went on R&M last year.
Just ask any homeowner.

Rental yield is the rental income a property could provide in a year, expressed as a percentage of its purchase price.

What about rent slippage between tenant changes, rates, maintenance, insurance costs and most of all the hassle - time is money?

Exactly, it's a Gross yield, unlike commercial real estate.

But as long as the net is still enough to cover outgoings, then it is the capital gains that people are looking to.

R=I/V is also meant to be a balance between risk and reward, but if you look at the above stats, there does not seem to be the 'spread' between the different locations to acknowledge that risk, ie in this market all locations are good.

And of course, that was supported by JA saying NZers expect prices to go up, and I think this has caused the FOMO on a certain win (thanks for the tip JA), causing purchasers/punters to ignore any risk, and have paid more than they should, although that won't show up for another 6 to 12 months as the flood of the off the plan sells come online and any further moves by the RB to take the heat out of the market.

The payoff in a rental comes in the form of the capital gain. I did the math years ago when I had the option to sell or rent it out. Payday only really comes when you sell the rental or finish paying it off or then you get both. The capital gains have been epic, forget about $500 a week in rent when the property is going up in value $500 a day. Its for those that can see the long game and are in a financial position to take it on.

What allows people to have more than one home; 10 investment properties or 100? Access to debt.

Allow anyone to borrow to buy their own home - 100% LVR if you like, but if you want another, you have to pay for it yourself - 0% LVR.
40% LVR's isn't going to curtail this social and economic madness, but potential buyers having to exclusively use their own hard-earned cash - even if it's from previous property ownership - will.
(NB: Yes. There are ways around it, as there always is in the property market, like getting the kids to be the buyer etc, but once those avenues have been exhausted, financial gravity will take its toll, and allow those in the business of actually building new stock to be treated the same as any other productive business)


"What allows people to have more than one home; 10 investment properties or 100? Access to debt"

The most relevant comment ever made here. It is access to finance that drives wealth accumulation and inequality.


Exactly. Debt speculation nothing more.

Agree. There's a number here and elsewhere who push the importance of of available debt but are drowned out by the belief in the importance of interest rates.

In the housing boom of 2002-2007, interest rates were relatively high. But debt was highly available.

No worries, watch rents skyrocket. Only the rich will be able to afford the rents, could all move to huntly i suppose

So if someone wants a bach/beach house in your world they need to pay cash? Yeesh.

You are right, Cheetah - it's not worth any pain to rebalance things.
This bubble is going to blow out through the top.

Carlos67... yeah the capital gains have been phenomenal for the last 40 years so no issue to have to pay a few dollars a month if you have been negatively geared. If the next 40 years are half as good investors will still do very well.


Great article by Bernard. How do we get Jacinda, Adrian and grant to read it and act appropriately?

OPINION: Woman aiming for 25 properties by 2025 an example of investors making the most of capital gains that the Government seems determined to have continue.

Unfortunately, when politicians have vested interests in policies nothing will change.
There should be a limit of one rental property per investor.
Also, as property investing / speculating is not a "real" business , interest on residential property should not be tax deductible.


Property and real estate is such a central part of our economy that no politician is going to let it fail.
Of course it's not sustainable, but since when did any modern politician care about sustainability and anything longer than the electoral term?

" act appropriately" - they appear keen to sit on the sidelines and watch the feeding frenzy.

At those prices, many investors would have enough equity in their own homes to be able to purchase a property in Rotorua without needing to raise a mortgage.

Um, to get some of your equity you would need to raise a mortgage surely? The only other way to get it without a mortgage would be to sell your own home and rent yourself or buy a much cheaper home to live in. I don't think investors would be doing that.

Generally the way it works is the bank insists on using your own home and the rental to cover the debt. A mortgage of often 100% is raised to purchase the investment property. On two properties of equal value if the family home is mortgage free then the total equity would go from 100% to 50%. But your income would increase because of rent yield easily covering the mortgage interest. expands the economic theory of the money tree.

It's probably a bad idea to purchase a rental property far away from where you live. It's likely a case of higher the rent yield, higher the risk. It looks to me like rent yields may be a good barometer of potential good places for FHBs to buy. The higher the yield the better place to buy. Certainly if you lived in an area where yields were 6%+ and you were happy there you would be unwise to continue renting unnecessarily. It seems to me that landlords are charging too much in these areas or else there is another reason for it like risky tenants.

Personally if I were buying a rental I would simply buy in the place where I thought the capital gain would be the highest. Small month to month losses, tenant problems etc are all minor considerations dwarfed by (potential) capital gains.

Yes and somewhere with land scarcity ie. peninsulas and coastal suburbs with close links to public transport. Watch that value skyrocket.

I have heard a few people say central Manukau is one to watch, especially if a plan to build new office buildings accommodating hundreds of central government workers comes to fruition.

Tenant problems minor considerations!!! I had the priviledge of having a tenant and his partner I thought were just perfect, he ended up in prison for growing weed in every nook and cranny.
Then out of the blue getting a call from the police to see if you knew (and hence an accessory). Not great fun being an absentee landlord sometimes, despite the possibility of capital gains. That was 20 years ago, things are worse now, much worse sorry.

Victor... so a tenant grew weed in your rental. So what? The police checked to ensure you were not involved. So what? Even if a tenant put a big hole in the wall and stained the carpet. When you are making 50 to 100K PA in capital gain then so what?
In my experience the biggest thing to worry about was getting someone in who just stopped paying the rent and refused to leave but if you treat tenants well (by not increasing rent/not being anal about minor damage and regular inspections etc) the chances are very low.

If you have the stomach for it thats all good. I treated them well, let his girlfriend stay there while he was 'inside'. The majority of people I found were terrific though I have to say

Looks like the rental market is pretty efficient in pricing in the rate for rental yields. The list of high yield rental locations are the classic hell-holes which requires the expertise and experience of special types of landlords to deal with a special class of tenants. The market premium for the yield compensates for that- though a little lower than what I would had liked.

The average investors should avoid these bargain traps and look elsewhere. Incidentally, I wonder what's Marfell's yield right now.


CWBW.... you could buy one of the kiwi builds they are currently selling up on the hill in Marfell. Sea views and close to parks and town. And you could literally keep an eye on your tenants in the rentals down below. The (lack of) potential for good capital gain would be the red flag for me rather than the class of tenants.

Will be interesting to see how Auckland's cbd apartment market fares this year. Tens of thousands of international students due to go home by March.

And if that apartment market becomes the "oh well 50m2 of temporary ownership is better than renting for life" market then it may be very interesting.

I get that the yields are better than money in the banks, and everyone is speculating on mega inflation arriving near term. But this is madness. Govt is acting like National lite - promoting financial enslavement for all kiwis the expense of our banking profit overlords.


Well they didn't really have any other ideas so what did we expect they'd do.

Labour are just singing from the tried and trusted playbook, not transformational, don't scare the flock.

Considering the negative impact on their core voting block it is appaling. I guess the extra tax from those working can pay for more motels as emergency accommodation.

Was hoping that Labour had the balls to take the property ponzi on but looks increasingly like they just dont.

Funny timing, reading this article, actually. Just got off the phone with a friend who is a young professional. His whole clan (parents, siblings, kids) in the process of moving from NZ to Oz. The numbers over there way better in terms of cost of equivalent RE compared to incomes, and the way superannuation works, although some cost of living items can be more (but there are ways to adjust). Overall they see it as a total no-brainer. I count 6 tax payers in that clan baling out.
He said NZ IT grads are being snapped up by Ozzie employers with starting salaries of $97k. Why would bright young kids stay and prop up NZ rental yields for the brown slacks brigade? Some will, of course...

We are thinking the same thing. We were in Aus for 7 years before returning. Since returning we’ve realised the grass is greener here, literally but not figuratively.

I wish residential property investment ceased to be a thing. I wish there were not enough landlords to warrant a organisation for property investors, it is sickening.

Well said, so do many people, but governments could not handle that unfortunately, as they need the income taxes, and a return on their own personal property portfolio. The history of humanity has always been 'the rich get richer...'. One day this will all change

Where is the political party with the balls?

Home ownership has never been that high in nz... at 65 percent we are back to the long run average. Its been as low as 50 percent too

It was up to 74.8% in 1991 and has dropped back to 64/8%, that is a pretty steep drop imho. I believe those stats are taken with the age starting at 15, goodness knows why as they would account for nigh on 0%. I would like to see it broken down in decades, so the trend would become obvious.
We and our cohorts tended to start on our home ownership journey in our early to mid 20s, I would like to know what the average start age is now, because I would be certain it is not 25.

When we were buying our first houses in our 20s the biggest bulk of renters were those recently in the job market, just left home, sharing a flat with others until they married, bought homes and started families.
I am picking most of that age group now are still at home with mum and dad, replaced in the rental market by families shut out by the avarice of others.

fh... when it comes to giving stats on capital gain the property investors lobby ALWAYS go back 40 years or less (almost never inflation adj) because it fits their narrative. So now you are going back 100+ years with ownership % because that also fits your narrative? Have heard Ashley preaching about these stats in the same misleading fashion. Do you guys think we are all stupid? What are the home ownership stats for the last 40 years??

And when you get what you are wishing for, you get this:

Trouble in paradise: Waiheke's housing crisis leaving renters in the lurch

Not sustainable

Is it just me, why cant I see anything due to all the google ads blocking the screen. Is it driving other people nuts too? Its detracting from this website...

Subscribe to the site for an ad free experience..

Maybe I should soon. Does it block all ads anyone? Give a thumbs up if it does, I'm curious. Thanks.
But I bet still gets walloped every click, isn't that true you guys? My friend runs ads on on google and gets charged several dollars for the honour of somone clicking on his ad.

That can't be right - why would an advertiser charge Interest if someone clicked on their ad? Would have thought they would be paying Interest for every person that clicks through, otherwise what is the point of having the ads in the first place?

Rental yield alone can't explain the run-up in prices after the election. Investors are clearly taking into account that capital gains trajectory based on the government dropping housing as a priority (look yonder, a 'climate crisis'!) and winning a large majority to keep housing reform off the table.

If you had a party in government who wanted to reform the RMA and take zoning out of the hands of local councils that froth would come right out of the market as Investors headed for the exits.

Labour appears more intent on blowing hot air into the froth with their comments and lack of action. Zero remorse for how they ignored warning of asset bubble.
Waving a red flag at bulls such as Ana Meredith the investor who hoovering up Christchurch (her own husband disagrees with what she's doing and probably wonders what sort of psychopathic monster he married).
I propose a stamp duty for all but first home buyers to cool things down pretty quickly

Labour is just follow the populist voters voices, so now it's up to diligent investors buy more of it in the regions.
Make sure to choose couple of best houses in the region, that do have healthcare services. The healthcare professional is their best bet, on extracting $ as much as possible. But ensure to treat them well.. ha ha ha