Dozens of homeowners are asking more than $20,000 a week in rent for the Rugby World Cup and at least one website is now threatening to remove those charging exorbitant prices.
The number of top-end listings continues to grow on accommodation websites but many remain unrented despite being advertised for months.
And the Hospitality Association says most homeowners wanting $20,000 a week or more are dreaming.
Many Auckland homes, especially near Eden Park, are being offered for up to $1500 a night and, in some cases, even more than the $20,000 a week.
One website, Luxury Rentals 2011, has around 65 Auckland homes for rent during the Cup; nearly half are listed in the $20,000-plus category. The exact prices are by inquiry only.
For that money, fans can choose from a contemporary home with three bedrooms, three bathrooms and three living rooms on the water's edge in Glendowie through to a Ponsonby property with nine bedrooms, 10 bathrooms and two living rooms.
The homes can be self-catered or come with a package that includes anything from catering and concierge services to wine tours and day trips.
However, at least two of the top-dollar homes that featured in a Herald report three months ago are yet to be rented.
Luxury Rentals 2011 co-director Shelley Nicholson said some properties in the $20,000-plus bracket had already gone. She would not say how many, except to say, "more than a handful".
"I think when you see the quality of home - and potentially you are looking at a four-, five-, six-bedroom home verses a one-room hotel - then certainly there's value for money."
Ms Nicholson said inquiries had come from Britain, France, Asia and Australia and were a mixture of corporate/business and families.
"There is certainly a lot of interest in taking the villa option ... We have seen a real increase in demand over the last six to eight weeks."
However, Hospitality Association chief executive Bruce Robertson said most of the people asking $20,000 or more a week for private homes were "dreaming".
"Most people aren't going to be prepared to pay those prices because they don't need to - there are other options available from the luxury sector.
"Realistically, the sort of person who is going to pay those high prices is likely to go to one of New Zealand's fantastic luxury lodges, where they will pay big money but they will have fabulous service, onsite chef and all that goes with it."
Generally, Mr Robertson said accommodation bookings within the hospitality sector were steady, although he believed things wouldn't start to pick up until next year.
"The enthusiastic ones will have committed by now but I guess the majority who will come a little bit later will be starting to commit early in the next year," he said.
Rugby World Cup 2011 chief executive Martin Snedden was not available for comment yesterday but has previously said that while there are a lot of opportunists, the market would probably sort itself out as rugby fans simply wouldn't pay "outrageous prices".
A spokesman said last night that there was a wide variety of accommodation available and fans should be patient and use the accommodation portal on the official Rugby World Cup 2011 website.
The overpricing message may have gotten through to at least one website, KiwiStay, which advises home owners to list a property with a "realistic" asking price, given media coverage about Cup accommodation.
It says that listings that don't comply with the request will be removed.
On other accommodation websites, private homes are going for more than $1000 a night - although sometimes there are conditions.
On the 80 Minute Game site, a three-bedroom "Modernised contemporary villa right on the doorstep of Eden Park" is $1500 a night, but guests have to feed the resident cat.
Stayinnz.com has nearly 200 listings, of which around 86 are in Auckland. Prices in the city range from $500 a week through to $14,000 for a week's stay at Wildpalms B&B - which is described as a "stunning Northcote Point mansion".
Gorugbyhomes.co.nz marketing director Mike Gray said his site had around 100 homes available for rent and interest in them was building.
He was aware of one waterfront property in Christchurch that had been rented to a group of photographers for $1000 a night for 41 days.
Mr Gray said he was also aware of cases where the property owners had been offered short-term bookings but had turned them down, preferring longer-term tenants instead.
He said his site had around 30 listings for the Auckland area with prices ranging from around $200 a week for a two-bedroom apartment through to $5000 a week for "quiet luxury in Ramarama" or up to $7000 for a five-bedroom home 20km from Eden Park.By Elizabeth Binning Email Elizabeth