Alanah Eriksen

Alanah Eriksen is the New Zealand Herald's property reporter, and assistant chief reporter.

Rents up with house boom

Expert says as capital appreciation eases, landlords are adjusting financial expectations.

Rents have increased in 28 of 30 Auckland suburbs during the past year. Photo / Brett Phibbs
Rents have increased in 28 of 30 Auckland suburbs during the past year. Photo / Brett Phibbs

Landlords are raising rents to capitalise on soaring property prices as they overtake those during the boom five years ago, experts say.

An expert says house prices are back to 2007 levels so landlords are keen to make more money on their investment.

The latest Crockers Property figures show the median rental price for a three-bedroom home in Auckland increased in 28 of 30 suburbs compared with September last year.

The biggest rise was in Epsom, Newmarket and Royal Oak north, which jumped from $517 to $640 or 24 per cent. Many other suburbs saw rents rise by about 5 per cent.

Marketing manager Kim Sinclair said the figures were relative as the company had looked at the number and value of new bonds each month.

Rents fell in only two areas -

Grey Lynn/Westmere area and Takapuna/Milford at 10 per cent and 2 per cent respectively. Both areas still have average rents at the high end of the scale for the city.

Property commentator Alistair Helm, of properazzi.co.nz, said rental prices were growing higher than during the property boom of 2007.

"Landlords are adjusting their financial expectations. In years gone by they probably would have accepted a lower yield, based on capital appreciation ... they were happier for the benefit coming in the long term in the value and appreciation of the property. Now ... prices are back to where they were five years ago so there's no appreciation. So landlords are saying 'We really need to see a profit from owning this business in cashflow terms that gives a real and genuine yield'.

"In the past they might have accepted 4 or 5 per cent, now they want 6 or 7 per cent."

He said while property prices were going up, the cost of borrowing was coming down.

"Therefore affordability is getting better. So potentially, it's cheaper to buy than to rent, whereas rent in the past has been more attractive.

"It's always down to individual suburbs and the type of property."

Mary Taylor, property manager for Ray White's Parnell rental office, which covers Epsom and the surrounding suburbs, said the lack of rental properties with three or more bedrooms had pushed the prices up.

Families wanting to send their children to Auckland Grammar or Epsom Girls Grammar School needed to show they had a fixed-term contract.

Buying adds up to a bargain

Lucy Bennett says: I've always been a renter. But after doing so in two of the world's most expensive cities - London and Sydney - it was the Auckland property market that finally forced me into home ownership.

My fully furnished rental cost $400 a week for a bland, motel-style studio in a huge and crime-ridden building full of the same.

In my desperation to move, I began looking for a better rental. After four months of offering up to $50 a week more than the asking price, I picked the "for sale" tab on the listings instead of "for rent".

What a revelation. I was amazed at the low prices of central city apartments and when I did the maths it quickly became obvious that it made more sense to buy.

I found a character studio in a small and secure building in a nice area. And best of all, my mortgage is cheaper than my rent was - $380 a week.

- NZ Herald

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