Rents creep up as tenant pool shrinks

By Amelia Wade

Ben Garfitt and Sophie Hamlett are happy with their home. Photo / Natalie Slade
Ben Garfitt and Sophie Hamlett are happy with their home. Photo / Natalie Slade

Rents are slowly increasing, although the pool of prospective tenants has shrunk because of people buying their first home or moving overseas, an expert says.

The median price for rental houses in July rose in most Auckland suburbs compared with the same month last year, according to figures analysed by Crockers Property.

The biggest leap was for a four-bedroom house in Ponsonby, where the median price rose 31 per cent, from $720 a week to $945, in a year.

But Crockers' marketing manager, Kim Sinclair, said the large increase could be put down to how the figures were analysed, even though there was a general trend of increasing rents.

Crockers analysed the number and value of new bonds each month, supplied by the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand (REINZ) and the Department of Building and Housing.

"It is all relative and it can depend on so much," Ms Sinclair said.

In Ponsonby this year, six bonds ranging from $800 to $1025 were received, but the year before there were seven bonds from $655 to $875.

And in the Mt Albert and Pt Chevalier area one-bedroom properties increased by 14 per cent. Last month 29 bonds were received ranging from $227 to $322 but in July 2011 there were only 17 going from $225 to $280.

Ms Sinclair said properties had been slower to rent out, which she put down to several factors.

"There's a lot of first-home buyers moving out of their rented homes and a lot of immigration which frees properties up. We've also seen a lot of people in their late 20s moving back home with their parents while they save for their first house. All that frees up quite a lot of the rental properties."

REINZ director Helen O'Sullivan said: "If you're a landlord, I guess [the figures are] an indication that income on rental properties is getting stronger because the percentage return ... has been historically quite low."

COUPLE CAST NET WIDE TO FIND UNIT

Ben Garfitt and his partner, Sophie Hamlett, cast their net wide looking for places to rent, and found their new home in less than three weeks.

The pair, both 22, moved from the United Kingdom in February and lived in an apartment in the city centre.

But they decided they wanted their own space and so started searching.

"We trawled around a few agents out in Mission Bay but they were quite narrow ..." Mr Garfitt said. They had more success searching online.

Mr Garfitt, a youth helpline councillor, noticed that rental and housing prices were higher in Auckland than they were in the UK and thought they might be looking for some time.

But after two and a half weeks and looking at up to 10 properties they found their new home - a one bedroom unit at the bottom of a family home for $360 a week.

- NZ Herald

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