The Kiwi dream of owning a home is long out of sight for many people, and now the chances of even renting a quality house are fading fast.
Demand for tidy, central rental properties in Auckland is reaching crisis point, with supply unable to keep up.
Listings on Trade Me for the start of January show a 24 per cent decrease compared with the same period last year, with demand up 8 per cent.
With up to 60 people turning up to viewings, renters are resorting to extreme measures to beat the competition. Many arrive early to open homes, while others turn to bidding wars, say real estate agents.
"In terms of year on year, certainly supply is down in Auckland and particularly Auckland city," said Trade Me head of property Brendon Skipper. Supply for January was also down in the Bay of Plenty, 22 per cent; Canterbury,1 per cent; and Northland 14 per cent.
In the Waikato and Wellington, supply has increased slightly. Barfoot and Thompson rentals operations manager Helen Hodgson said this year had seen a new level of demand.
The Birkenhead office reported a "crazy" two weeks, with often 30 people turning up to open homes.
In Mt Eden, crowds of young professionals were snapping up three and four-bedroom villas for $500-$600 a week.
First National property manager and letting agent Faith Zollinger said competition was fierce. Agents received 90 calls about a recent listing for a two-bedroom home in Mt Eden and up to 60 people turned up to open homes for popular properties. "For some of the properties we get 100 calls a week - there's just not enough properties."
Keen renters are also offering more than the asking price.
"For one in Mt Eden the rent was $430 and someone offered $450. For a two-bedroom apartment in town one person offered $10 or $20 more," she said. High numbers of Kiwis returning from overseas and new immigrants were pushing up demand for rentals.
"I think it's also people who previously would have bought but banks require 20 per cent [deposit] now - it's out of people's reach." Changes to tax laws last year, which pegged back what investors can claim in depreciation, have increased nervousness for landlords, according to the Property Investors' Federation.
Vice-president Andrew King said a federation study indicated 31 per cent of investors who were planning to buy more rental property had since decided against it.
Housing Minister Phil Heatley said a lack of building activity was another problem, with building not keeping up with population growth.
Beat the crowds
Source: NZ Heraldcomments powered by Disqus