The national median rent was unchanged at $360 a week in April, but rents for Auckland houses dropped for the second month in a row while flats surged to a new high

The national median rent was unchanged at $360 a week in April, but rents for Auckland houses dropped for the second month in a row while flats surged to a new high

Important  Notice: The Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment has advised interest.co.nz that it supplied  us with incorrect figures on the median rent and number of bonds it received in April. That caused us to run an earlier version of this story with incorrect median rent figures for April. MBIE has apologised for its error and this version of the story contains the corrected figures for April that it has supplied.

Housing rents were flat overall in April, although rents in Auckland were a mixed bag, according to interest.co.nz's Housing Rent Monitor.

The national median rent was $360 a week in April, the same as it was in March, but still slightly below its all time high of $365 a week in February. 

Interest.co.nz tracks the median rents for three bedroom houses and two bedroom flats in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch, which are calculated from tenancy bonds received by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.

Most of the bonds received would be for new tenancies, so the median rents will tend to reflect the rents being paid for newly tenanted properties.

In Auckland the median rent for a three bedroom house declined for the second month in a row, dropping to $575 a week from $580 a week in March and its all time high of $597 a week in February.

However, the median rent for two bedroom flats in Auckland jumped up to a new record high of $420 a week in April, compared with $400 in March and $390 a week in April last year (see table below).

In Wellington the median rent for a three bedroom house was $520, up slightly from $510 in March, but still below its February peak of $525.

In Christchurch the median rent on a three bedroom house of $450 has not changed since August last year, while the median rent for two bedroom flats declined for the second month in a row to $340, compared to its February peak of $350.

There was also a fall in the total number of bonds received by MBIE from throughout New Zealand, which dropped from 13,818 in March to 10,348 in April.

That suggests the flattening in rents may be due to seasonal factors.

The first three months of the year are generally the busiest for new letting activity, with many students seeking to establish flats for the academic year around that time and many people who are moving for work related reasons also tending to shift early in the new year.

That surge in demand for rental properties early in the year could push up rents over that period, which then flatten out as demand drops back to more normal levels at the end of summer.

However, with property prices continuing to set new records and showing no sign of slowing down, the lack of overall growth in rents could be a concern to investors looking to expand their portfolios. That's because it will likely reduce their investment returns, which will probably already be extremely tight on newly purchased properties.

Median Weekly Rent ($)
  Auckland Wellington Christchurch
  3 brm house 2 brm flat 3 brm house 2 brm flat 3 brm house 2 brm flat
April 2013 500 375 500 350 400 300
April 2014 550 390 500 340 435 320
Jan 2015 570 400 495 350 450 325
Feb 2015 597 410 525 375 450 350
March 2015 580 400 510 370 450 345
April 2015 575 420 520  375 450 340

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Ouch, Fail!

Write out 100 times:
"There is no housing crisis, it is a left wing beat up"

Can I just copy-paste?
Obviously you have some inside info, as well as first hand experience of a bloodbath in property. Got a good capital buffer this time? Consolidated your portfolio to withstand the downturn?