Rents in Christchurch have sky-rocketed 26 per cent in the past year while nationally rents are up just 4 per cent, according to Trade Me Property's analysis for the three months ended June compared with the same quarter last year.
At the same time, listings of houses for rent in Christchurch are down 34 per cent, even as demand, measured by the number of enquiries, has jumped 47 per cent. Nationally, listings are up 4 per cent while demand is steady.
"The news for prospective Christchurch tenants is still grim," said Brendon Skipper, head of Trade Me Property.
The particular "pressure cooker" suburbs of Christchurch are the central city, Linwood and St Albans.
"We've seen the number of properties available for rent in these three suburbs plummet more than 40 per cent on a year ago and, on the flipside, the properties that do get listed are attracting huge volumes of enquiry," Skipper said.
While shortages of houses to rent in the Auckland rental market have hit the headlines in the past, Trade Me found listings are up 20 per cent while demand is down 18 per cent.
In Manukau, listings are up 21 per cent while demand is down 4 per cent.
North Shore listings are up 7 per cent and demand down 2 per cent but the Waitakere market is much tighter with listings down 10 per cent and enquiries up 7 per cent.
"Autumn has wound down and the winter hibernation period sees tenants hunker down so we often see listing numbers swell and demand taper off," Skipper said.
Still, one surprise is the increase in listings and reduced demand in central Auckland hasn't led to lower asking rents, he said. Average rents in Auckland city are flat while Manukau's and Waitakere's are up 4 per cent and North Shore's are up 5 per cent.
One reason demand has softened in Auckland is that tenants are looking to become home owners, he said. "Over the quarter, we've seen a 16 per cent increase in enquiries from potential buyers compared to this time in 2011 but they'll be finding the market challenging too," Skipper said.
"Listings are flat and there's plenty of healthy competition in Auckland in particular. Of course, that means it's a good time to list your property if you're thinking of selling."
Elsewhere in the country, listings in Palmerston North are up 30 per cent, rents are up 3 per cent but demand is down 14 per cent, Dunedin listings are up 17 per cent, rents are up 3 per cent and demand is up 4 per cent and in Hamilton, listings are down 2 per cent, rents are up 1 per cent and demand is up 1 per cent.
In Wellington, listings are up 1 per cent, rents are down 2 per cent, the only major centre to show a decline, and demand is down 4 per cent. In Lower Hutt, where rents are unchanged, listings are up 15 per cent but demand is down 4 per cent.
Skipper said landlords in areas in which listings have shot up "shouldn't panic" because more than half of all rental listings stay on Trade Me for 20 days or less.