Marlborough Property Investors' Association

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Auckland great place to be a landlord: Skipper

The supply of rental housing grew only half as much as demand nationwide in the June quarter with the Auckland market showing a severe shortage of rentals, according to figures from the TradeMe.

While supply of rentals in Auckland City shrank 12% in the three months ended June, demand rose 7% while the average rent rose 9% compared with the June quarter last year. That follows the 13% drop in supply in Auckland in the March quarter when demand rose 18% and average rent rose 7%.

TradeMe's figures are reinforced by those of Barfoot & Thompson which showed while average weekly rent in Auckland eased by $7 to $420 in June compared with May, it was the third highest weekly rent on record and up $17 from June last year.

"Average weekly rents are extremely volatile in a market where demand far exceeds supply," says Barfoot managing director Peter Thompson.

"The low level of building activity in the past three years combined with the growing population of Auckland is creating pressures on the existing stock of rental properties," Thompson says.

Brendon Skipper at TradeMe Property says Auckland "was once again a standout as a great place to be a landlord."

Skipper attributes the increasing demand in Auckland to immigration with student demand adding pressure to the market.

In the wider Auckland region, TradeMe figures for Manukau and Waitakere also show demand outstripping supply, although not to as great an extent. Listings in Manukau were up 4% in the June quarter but demand was up 9%. In Waitakere, a healthy 9% rise in listings was still outstripped by the 13% rise in inquiries.

On the North Shore, while listings fell 9%, inquiries abated only 2%.

Skipper says while there is no measure of the proportion of national rental advertisements TradeMe carries, it accounts for the large majority with about 12,000 listings. By comparison, the website carries about 7,000 rental listings.

Elsewhere in the country, earthquake-disrupted Christchurch's listings unsurprisingly fell 6% in the June quarter while demand rose 7%. "As observed last quarter, the average weekly rent being sought by landlords was not exorbitant, up 5%," Skipper says.

However, the Christchurch citywide picture is a little misleading. "In less quake-affected parts of the city, demand is extremely high and supply is struggling to keep pace."

The only place in the country where rents are dropping is in Wellington where they fell 3% in the June quarter after a 2% fall in the March quarter. While listings in Wellington were down 2% in the June quarter, that followed a 17% surge in the March quarter.