Queenstown rents up 26.7% compared to a year ago with increases in parts of Wellington also in double digits, Auckland not far behind, Christchurch rents declining

Queenstown rents up 26.7% compared to a year ago with increases in parts of Wellington also in double digits, Auckland not far behind, Christchurch rents declining

By Greg Ninness

The median rent on newly tenanted homes throughout the country was up 5.4% in January compared to a year earlier, but the rises were more substantial in most parts of Auckland as the region's housing crisis really starts to bite.

Interest.co.nz has begun collating the median rents in 19 major urban areas throughout the country, based on bonds received each month by the Tenancy Services division of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.

The information this provides varies from the median rent data available on the Tenancy.govt.nz website which is based on bond rents received over rolling six month intervals.

Tracking the data from bonds received each month will provide a quicker indication of the timing and size of movements in the rents being charged for newly tenanted properties in the areas monitored.

The table below shows the median rent for the month of January in each of the 19 areas monitored and for the whole of New Zealand over the last six years.

It shows a steady increase over that time, but also that the rate of increase has increased significantly over the last two years.

Nationally, the median rent from bonds received in January this year was $390 a week, up $20 (5.4%) compared to January last year.

In Auckland Central, which includes all of the suburbs within the old boundaries of the former Auckland City Council, the median rent was also up by $20 a week over the same period, rising from $475 a week in January last year to $495 a week in January this year, (+4.2%).

But in the rest of the Auckland region the median rents in January were up by between $30 and $50 a week compared to a year earlier giving increases that ranged from from 6.7% in Manukau to 11.1% in Rodney.

Those are significant amounts of money to come out of household budgets each week, particularly for those people on lower incomes and the increases are at a level where they are likely to be be putting some families under financial stress.

Rents up substantially in most parts of the country

However it's not just Aucklanders that are paying more to rent a home, the table shows that rents are also up substantially in most other parts of the country.

In Whakatane the median rent in January was up $40 a week (14.3%) compared to a year earlier. In Porirua and Upper Hutt it was up $45 a week, (12.9% and 15.3% respectively) compared to a year earlier.

The most expensive rental area monitored by interest.co.nz is the Queenstown-Lakes District, where the median rent in January was $570 a week, up a whopping $120 (26.7%) compared to January last year.

The only area that recorded a decline was Christchurch, where the January median has fallen for two years in a row, from $405 a week in January 2015, to $390 in January 2016 and $370 in January this year.

That's a decline of $35 a week (8.6%) over the last two years and suggests the rental market in the city is moving more in favour of tenants than their landlords.

While rising rents undoubtedly bring financial pressures for many tenants and will cause financial hardship for some, they also feed into broader economic pressures.

Around 550,000 households are renters

According to the 2013 census, 512,000 households were renting and interest.co.nz estimates that number is likely to have increased to around 550,000 now.

That means that every $20 increase in average rent sucks up an extra $11 million a week, or $572 million a year that is not being spent in other parts of the economy.

It also puts pressure on government finances to cover the rising cost of accommodation allowances paid to people on low incomes.

Most of the coverage of this country's property market has focused on the huge growth in the price of houses and the distortions that has created in the economy.

But the latest figures suggest the rising cost of renting could be just as big an issue as the various political parties gear up for this year's general election.

The graphs underneath the rental chart below show the rental trends since 2008 in all of the areas monitored by interest.co.nz.

Over the next few months we will be adding additional areas to those we currently monitor.

Readers may also be interested in this recent article by David Chaston which looked at trends in Auckland's rental market. 























We welcome your help to improve our coverage of this issue. Any examples or experiences to relate? Any links to other news, data or research to shed more light on this? Any insight or views on what might happen next or what should happen next? Any errors to correct?

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Its a bit ironic that one of the main drivers for increased rents: Huge rates increases, will have the effect of requiring the govt to increase its accommodation supplements!

which in turn will led to even higher rents, if a tenant can pay more then the rent will increase to that point.
what would happen if they just did away with accommodation supplements?
apart from the outcry from landlords and short term homeless the long answer is rents would drop over time as landlords can not afford empty houses

Surely, the big driver is not rates increases, but the actual increase in house prices driven by investors/speculators delaying and denying FHB entry into a market, alongside an immigration policy that has depressed wage growth and a Central bank that reversed course in panic. Overlay any of those rent charts against house price growth, will indicate the disconnect since 2012 has only widened, the reality is that rents should be significantly higher .How New Zealand will ever grow exports or truly diversify , irrespective of our currency setting when we trap so much wealth within buying and selling particle board to one another is an economic anomaly to myself. By protecting the very asset market that our Central bank has at the same time decried and warned about , with ever lower interest rates, will give way to either increasing social dysfunction or a massive asset rout ,Neither will be good for New Zealand.


Question for the leadership of the country - when and how are wages to going to catch up for this increased cost of living?

If this continues, living in NZ is going to resemble a form a slavery. And unlike the historical forms of slavery, it won't be based upon the colour of your skin, but instead whether or not you own a home.

It's a move of society backwards in time, really. NZ went through reforms that used Land Tax to break up land banks, and government builds to get to the stage where we had high rates of home ownership. Then at a certain point leaders forgot their heritage and what they were given and started to make everything about their own short term investment portfolios.

What else did we have back in the old days? Riots and unrest caused by poverty.

It's probably a while yet before the young get disgruntled enough to really take action and cause change, but who knows...Trump and Brexit took everyone by surprise.

Although looking yesterday at rent and property prices in a few places in Australia, young folks may just start up and leaving again. Cheaper rent / prices and higher salaries on offer, as long as you're not in Sydney.

Last year 3 nurses I worked with went to a regional Aussie town (about the size of Hamilton) to work in a new hospital. Better pay and lower rent.... These were all degree nurses who had completed new graduate programmes and master level qualification.... Collectively in NZ we are not being very smart and if we are not careful we will go down the gurgler....

I had a friend who served in NZ military as a nurse in Afganistan etc. but when left the forces had to retrain with the school leavers. A system by and for the 'crats.


National have to be ashamed of themselves... Families are finding it hard to bring up kids with all the extra cost involved these days and to top it up, they have to then look for ways to find extra money to the increased rents...


Good question - the answer is never.
Cheap energy got us out of slavery ... lack of it will take us back into it...

ham n eggs,

Some interesting figures have come out of my Course on Global Resource Politics from Hanyang University. While the US has some 650 tcfs(trillion cubic feet) of tecnically recoverable shale gas,China has 1115 tcf and to my surprise,Argentina has over 500 tcfs. Other countries including Russia also have significant reserves and the same is true of of shale oil. I rather doubt if the era of cheap energy is anywhere near over.

well we can only hope so ...
Technically recoverable though isnt necessarily viable however .. its about what the end users can afford - ie what its worth to the system. Oil Co's are meant to update their stated (viable) reserves but there is obviously a moral hazard in not wanting to alarm investors for future capex ... this is what low price can do to previously stated reserves though..


You are of course right that though technically recoverable,by no means will all of it be actually recoverable. For China,the geology of the area where most of the shale gas is,is difficult and quake prone. There is also a problem with water availability. However,with an estimated global total of 7,300 tcfs of shale gas and 340 bn barrels of shale oil,coupled with more efficient and lower cost extraction,I believe that my point is valid.
The effect of this on climate change is another subject.

Better to use proven reserves which take economic cost of extraction into account and are used on balance sheets. Proven reserves oil have gone from 600 billion barrels in 1980 to 1.6 trillion today - despite all the peak oil hand wringing.

"The oil and gas industry has a history of finding ways to extract oil from the ground, said Mark Nibbelink, co-founder and director of university outreach at DrillingInfo.

“Given that the USGS just attributed another 20 billion barrels to the Permian Basin, and up until 2002-03 — when exploration in the Barnett shale started — no one thought that shales could produce gas (much less oil),” he said, “I have no doubt that there’s a lot of oil remaining to be discovered and produced on public and private lands.”


Anyone know if any study's has been done on the correlation between lower (residential rental) investor activity and higher rents? To me it looks like investors buying houses artificially depress rents by oversupplying the rental market with houses to choose from.

Any data would be skewed when the government is promoting mass immigration and society/councils/land bankers restrict the provision of sufficient supply.

This is like musical chairs - but on a national scale.

Well done & thank you Interest.co.nz for compiling this data & charts

Supply & Demand

The culture of Queenstown is the the wild wild west, get rich quick aka greed.
No need for economic theories.

Rising house prices so the cost just get passed on to tenants, simple math really. The risk is that even if house prices remain static or even decline rents will not change because interest rates are set to rise. Glad I bought a house years ago, wasn't much more than paying rent at the time and its now less than the rent I would be paying.

Just the sort of news you want in an election year.


For every $20 increase per week, that is $1000 a year less in disposable income. It is highly unlikely that businesses can give pay increases to match these cost of living increases. So workers who rent in most cities in NZ are effectively getting pay cuts, year on year. Also any proposed tax cut will be significantly less than the rent increases rental households have been experiencing. Renters best chance for an increase in disposable income would be to join a political party and agitate for radical housing reforms.


Disposable income that could have gone to real productive businesses, who are also being gouged on rent. So much for having a functioning economy.

I just rang a friend in Hastings with lots of rental houses. He told me rent has gone up $30 pw. He also said there is a chronic housing shortage, nothing for rent in Flaxmere there are around 20 houses in Hastings but most are several months away and literally nothing available now, at most maybe 5 houses. He said great time to be a landlord and there could be another $30pw coming his way this year.

Poverty is stalking our towns.

Tenants better get on with kicking the walls out to install the grow-ops to pay for that.

Lining them with tin foil

Make some holes in the walls to install dangerously non-compliant electrical wiring.

Install an extraction fan in the celing

I almost bought a house exactly like that in Papamoa. It was quite industrious what the previous tenant had done. I could have fixed the grow room but the house tested positive for meth so I gave it a miss.

Garages are already rented

Considering that almost ALL garages are not built as part of the conditioned/living space, then to use a garage as such, and for councils to allow you to use it as such is not only illegal (but the law can be an ass), but is also allowing people to be further housed in substandard conditions.

Council are just as culpable as the landlord as they deliberately turn a blind eye to this.

I'm concerned that you often have solo mothers with young children around itinerant workers. That's the world we live in today. Many of the orchards will move to automation already pack houses are well on the way and in the States they are trialling automated picking machines.

Wonder whether this garage and sleepout were being used for living accommodation?


most of these people will be on accommodation supps. So how easy do you think it might be for winz to identify multiple grants at said addresses? touch of a button id say. the $$ going into some addresses would be very telling.

Andrewj - vested interests stalk our towns causing the poverty. Any sections for sale these days are covented developmemts released dripfeed. Plenty of dry low carrying capacity land around H Bay for housing but none is released unless it is some architects development. A stitch up known in other countries as noble cause corruption.

For ages I've been saying that covenants should not be allowed - big part of the new build price inflation and they stifle innovation.

It would seem inflation and rent rises are also out of the question for interest.co.nz commentators...next we will petition that kiwis are not allowed to leave New Zealand as there are too many immigrants? Just gets bizarre really?

All the headlines for the last year have been property prices going up. Rents not moving.
Now we have rents have gone through the roof.
Either very poor data being generated or poor reporting of the data.

Obviously rents will eventually catch up with the house price growth. Talking about headlines, today I am in the news again for the wrong reason! The journalist had to rub it in at the end of the article with a cheeky line: "Woodley Ave is one of Remuera's most prestigious DGZ streets - a tree lined cul-de-sac with multi-million dollar mansions offering views of the city skyline." ;-)


This is entirely of the Government's making and could be fixed if there was the will to do so but sadly there isn't.

Speculative frenzies are never good but when it concerns the ability to put a roof over you and your families head it is obscene.

Current immigration, state housing, accomodation supplement and taxation policies are all skewed in favour of the banks and speculators. A ridiculous ponzi scheme that benefits a tiny minority at the expense of everyone else.

There are no good outcomes if we continue this madness.

Winston Churchill in 1909 called Landlord-ism the mother of all monopolies. Check this speech out.

Mortgage repayments decrease in relative terms over time, while rents increase over time.
This is why all NZers should buy a house to live in.
Trendy globalists with high personal income like to glamorise renting, like Shamubeel etc, however the reality for most people is that they are better off in the long term in their own house.

Yes, and then they should buy a unicorn and ride it to work at the Magic Bean Factory.

This is less of a case now than in the past. When we had more real inflation leading to pay increases then buying worked. Now pay stays the same for most people and so do their mortgage payments. There's still a benefit of stopping the asset inflation component and freezing your effective rent.

Life long renting is ok provided one is capable of wisely investing the difference between the cost of rent and amount of a mortgage on an equivalent home. Unfortunately most don't have the knowledge nor the discipline carry it out.

If there is anything left after the landlord has whipped off with probably more than half your income plus a bit more from the public purse, and you don't have to constantly move as properties get sold out from underneath you. Lifetime renting in the conditions of this country is a pretty terrible option to be frank.

you are better off owning an investment property while living in a rental yourself to take full advantage of the tax system and if you can qualify {neg geared} WFF and accommodations supplement
it shows how screwed the system is that if you live in the house as a owner occupier you lose all those advantages

If you are retired or elderly and still renting, then you face a bleak existence.
15k a year is a lot of money when you're fully retired.

So then, what about the people who live where you have bought your house, now priced out, just like you. Sounds more like kicking the can down the road to me.

Further adding to Queenstown's shortage of long term rentals, and to a lesser agree in other places, is the conversion of long term rentals into short/medium term Airbnb.

Tourists are really just very short term immigrants.

The National Govt. have really dropped the ball on accommodation of all types.

Note the article says 800 initially unregistered properties. 800 properties that the majority would have been rented as long term rentals, that are not available.

That amount on top of the local and central Govt. failure on housing zoning hits the long term renters ie NZers and immigrant service workers the hardest.

The tourists and Homeowners are the winners.

A client of mine has elderly relatives with a house in Queenstown. Apparently they are almost permanently camper-vanning because they can get $700 a night on AirB&B.

This really is a sick joke.
I'm looking for a protest to join. Anyone know of one?

These folks have a great network (see their existing campaigns) - and they are presenting formulating their strategy wrt their planned activities during the election campaign period - I'm sure they'd respond to an email from you;


Thanks Kate I will contact them. Time for some civil disobedience and a bit of anger I think

I have always believed that markets correct. We may have dirty rivers but low dairy prices for any length of time will reduce numbers and marginal land will change to other uses.
Eventually interest rates will climb and assets like houses will fall. It's what jobs of the future will look like, that scares the hell out of me.

So what do we do about the housing crisis? Restrict immigration, could be a bit late for that, build more houses, drop building material prices, free up land but you still need jobs.

Well yes its all too late really. But still, effective initiatives are there if the desire is there:
- a meaningful cgt
- a meaningful state sponsored build programme
- restrictions on foreign investment in housing
- a pull back on immigration
- opening up wider areas of Auckland region to peri urban cluster housing: and apply a use it or lose it timeframe

Yes, the market(s) will correct - and they would have already corrected had the Government (and the RB) not intervened to 'save us from ourselves'. Problem is that the interventions just make the correction all that much more destructive and painful when it comes.

Labour had been looking at job futures - called their Future of Work project;

A great start in respect of what I've read - lots of excellent policy initiatives are mooted - much more to do but its the best in innovative thinking I've seen from any political party on the question.

I think housing is an issue that can only be solved by politics. So Fritz you need to influence the political parties. You can do that indirectly by various activist options. Or you can do that directly by formally joining a political party with the particular housing policies which you most agree with. Alternatively you could donate money to such a party or just volunteer for them when they are campaigning.

Also if you are looking for activist lessons from the past on how to make life essentials more affordable I think there are some lessons here.

Most of those charts show an approx rise of 40 to 50% over the last 8 years. This is not a good thing, The lease / power / rates / compliance / staff need more... i just dont think its good for NZ inc, Or for that matter anybody who didnt own property before 2008.. This goverment has willfuly ignored and failed.. to control the housing market.

On a 1.5-2% annual wage growth rate since 2013, the rents have gone up 25-30% in the past 3 years. I wonder what other empirical evidence is the National government waiting for to support the growing income inequality in a country with around a third of its population renting out.

Housing supplements are looked upon like they are in some way helping the poor .

Lets get something clear ........... THEY ARE NOT HELPING THE POOR, when the entire proceeds of this ill-conceived taxpayer shakedown lands up in property speculators pockets

Housing supplements are aggravating the problem by distorting the rental market . If the supplement did not exist there would be far fewer people keen to get into the houses as investment market , rents would be subdued and the market may lose some of its wind

Simply the money lands up in landords pockets , who on sale of the asset get to keep not only their gains but our tax money too .

This is a cock up that Steven Joyce would be well advised to address in the next budget

How would you unwind the supplement programs without hurting the POOR?

Serious question - I'd like to know

We've had all sorts of things like this for decades, back in the 70s it was subsidy for a first home buyer, thus we ended up with all these Beazley, Keith Hay et al homes in suburbs like Clendon that we referred to as nappy valleys. Those houses now will be pretty much all owned by investors, there will be few that are now owner occupied and the standard of the areas fell steeply when that began to happen. I am seeing now decent areas that have had a large influx of investor buyers turning seedy through lack of garden and lawn care etc, what once was nicely kept lawn and garden now littered with cars, take a walk around Flagstaff in Hamilton to see what I mean, to a lesser but nonetheless noticeable degree, Huntington, but that is off topic.
There will need to be a weaning off these subsidies, but my first suggestion would be, make the landlord apply for them to WINZ, if they can't fill their houses without subsidies then let them go begging.

And as most Parliamentarians are in on the rort, it is called Corruption as a person who makes the rules to benefit from them and then institute a taxpayer funded boost to reap the rental accommodation rewards at the inflated rates is as bent as a 9 dollar note.

If the General Public cannot see it, maybe a simple explanation from a Judge is required.
Corruption at the highest level, is abhorrent.

It should be illegal.?....not Mandatory, especially when theft as a Public Servant is so preva-lent..

Not to mention Chester Borrows, Simon Bridges, Anne Tolley, Chris Auchinvole, Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga and Mike Sabin were claiming taxpayer money - via a lovely loophole - to pay the mortgage on investment properties held by their own private superannuation schemes.

Legal? Yes. It's a loophole.

Moral or ethical? Well...ask yourself if the taxpayer should be paying their mortgages via an allowance designed to help them cover their accommodation costs when staying in Wellington.


Of course, John Key said it was all a-ok. But that doesn't mean much, does it...

So while the average Kiwi has been struggling away, that's what some MPs have been doing...