Tauranga rents continue to soar

By David Porter

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Tauranga median weekly rentals were $450 in October, up almost 14 per cent on a year earlier, according to the latest Trade Me Property Rental Index.

That matched the August figure, after a slight drop in September to $440 per week.

Trade Me described the market as a "rental juggernaut", with year-on-year growth every month this year. Meanwhile, weekly figures for the Western Bay of Plenty in October at $322.50 were down slightly on a year earlier, and also down on the $395 figure reached in September.

Real estate sources said the rental market remained tight, especially for properties in the in-demand $350-$450 range.

Heath Young, chief operating officer for Realty Services, which operates Bayleys and Eves, said there were indications prices were plateauing slightly after 10 per cent-plus increases over the past year or so.

"In terms of levels of vacancies, we're now coming back to more typical market fundamentals where the more desirable places - downtown, the Mount, and in and around Tauranga - are still pretty tight in terms of vacancies.

Further out in Papamoa and the outlying suburbs, there are rentals available, but they are at those increased rates."

Rebecca Adams, a property manager for First National who operates across Tauranga and the Western Bay, said she was seeing an absolute shortage of rental properties.

"Everything is going quickly," she said. "We're seeing huge demand, especially at the lower end of the market in $350-$450, two and three bedroomed properties."

She also observed that renters in the lower price ranges could not be too picky in terms of which areas they rented in.

Shane Kingston, leader, property management for Ray White Papamoa, said they were finding demand strong.

If you do your paperwork and you've kept your nose clean and have good references and you speak professionally and use your communications skills, you're going to do it. But you may have to pay more money.
Sarah Lawrence

"We don't have a lot of stock available compared to the demand." Mr Kingston said that, while the obvious scenario was that landlords could then charge whatever they liked, they were aware that rents could only be pushed up so far.

Realty Services' MrYoung said the changes in bank loan to value ratios, with 40 per cent deposits required for commercial investors, had also impacted the market. That was especially the case in the medium-priced houses, which weren't selling as fast as six months ago.

"Typically out of town investors were doing deals, possibly sight unseen, based on the easy yields," he said. The increased cost of doing those deals meant that the available rentals in some cases no longer stacked up, he said.

Being professional and doing homework key to getting rentals

Sarah Lawrence, who recently found a new rental after looking at dozens of properties over several months, said it was very important for tenants to be professional in their presentation and communication.

"If you do your paperwork and you've kept your nose clean and have good references and you speak professionally and use your communications skills, you're going to do it. But you may have to pay more money."

Ms Lawrence and her partner and two children will go from paying $370 to $480 a week when they move into their new rental home this weekend. She said they were moving from the early part of Welcome Bay, where there was a lot of traffic noise, to a house in a newer development on the Welcome Bay hills.

"It's a big jump but a much nicer place," said Ms Lawrence, who works in sales and marketing for a wholesale fabric company in Mount Maunganui.

She said some agents left a lot to be desired in terms of their communications.

"A lot you just don't even hear from. I think the hardest part is when you have property managers who aren't honest with you and just leave you hanging, which did happen a bit. But there were a couple of places I found that were much easier to deal with."

- Bay of Plenty Times

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