Rising demand forces rent up

By Kiri Gillespie

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First home buyers and property investors are being blamed for an increase in the average rent in Tauranga.

Trade Me Property figures released yesterday show the average asking rent in Tauranga in April to June this year rose to $385 a week, compared to $344 for the same time last year.

The rent was buoyed by a 3 per cent increase in demand on the back of a static rental supply, reflecting no change in the number of rentals available in Tauranga.

The extra boost in demand has made it tough for some families struggling to find a new home.

Beneficiary Maxine Paterson and her two children, 7 and 9, had been given notice to move from their Gate Pa home as the landlord planned to sell.

Ms Paterson, who also lives with a boarder, said she had spent the past six weeks looking for somewhere else but had struggled to find anything suitable. "I applied for a house and I didn't even get a look at it, two houses actually. The rental company apologised and said they just had so many people apply for those houses."

Ms Paterson said the stress of house-hunting for her family was "very hard". She paid $400 a week rent, with Work and Income New Zealand paying $300.

"The boarder helps but I'm stressed, really stressed trying to find a house."

Ms Paterson said she was not surprised to learn of an increase in demand in Tauranga. She believed renters were looking for new places now because the houses they were in were probably too cold ... in winter "and I don't blame them".

She said it was tough finding somewhere suitable for her budget.

Nationally, average asking rents rose by an average of $6 to $417 a week.

Ross Stanway, chief executive of Realty Services which operates Bayleys and Eves, said it made sense the cost of rent rose if there had been a static supply and an increase in demand. "Because certainly, without doubt, some investors or landlords would have increased their portfolio of properties over the last year or two. And there have been new investors coming into the market, people who previously didn't own a property, as new landlords. That is what would have been balancing the rentals [supply]."

Head of Trade Me Property Brendon Skipper said the lift in rents was occurring across the country. "Tauranga was middle of the the road for the quarter. We've seen supply for tenants flat [year on year] and this looks to have flowed into a higher than average tick-up in asking rents (up 4 per cent) off the back of a 3 per cent rise in enquiries."

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

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