Auckland's rental market remains steady, but high demand in Christchurch has residents battling expensive rents and asking prices, a new property report shows.
Trade Me's quarterly rental property report, released today, showed renters in Canterbury paid the most, on average, in the final three months of last year.
At $535, Canterbury's average rent was nearly $40 more than the average rent in Auckland, with Trade Me attributing the high price to the demand for short-term rentals in the region.
The company's acting head of property, Jimmy McGee, pinpointed the Christchurch rebuild as a major driver behind the region's high rental figures.
"There were nearly 1000 more listing on Trade Me Property in Canterbury in the final quarter of 2013 than a year ago. The rebuild phenomenon continues to drive listings growth and rent increases in the city," Mr McGee said.
"We're still seeing a significant proportion of short-term, high-rent listings driving the market as displaced home owners move out for insurance repairs."
Despite this, Auckland had the highest median rent for the three-month period - $480.
Mr McGee described the city's rental market as "steady" compared to other major metropolitan areas, with figures showing the number of available listings in the three months to December 31 to be slightly lower than the same period in the previous year.
In keeping with this, the average rent and number of tenant enquiries had increased by similar percentage amounts between the two three-month periods, he said.
A breakdown by suburb showed Mt Roskill had experienced the most growth in the city in the final three months of last year, with listings up 31 per cent for the period. There was a corresponding decline in the average level of enquiries per listing for the suburb of 20 per cent for the three months.
Mt Roskill also remained one of the top five areas in the final months of last year, alongside the city centre, Mt Eden, Remuera and Epsom.
Meanwhile, the rental market in Wellington saw the biggest overall decline in supply between the end of last year and the previous year.
"We saw a dip in properties for rent in Wellington, primarily driven by a softer apartment rental market," Mr McGee said.
Several new apartment complexes required tenants in the final three months of 2012, however it was a lot "quieter" for the same three months last year, he said.
Rental average and medians, October to December, 2013:
Average rental price 2013, Median asking price 2013
Auckland $497, $480
Wellington $470, $402
Canterbury $535, $453
Source: Trade Me