Teuila Fuatai is a reporter for the NZ Herald

Landlords offer renters sweeteners

An oversupply of Northland rentals is forcing some landlords to offer special incentives to prospective tenants, a local letting manager says.

The latest Trade Me quarterly rent analysis said the number of Northland properties available for rent between January and March was 1 per cent higher than in the same period last year.

First National's Jan MacPherson, who manages the agency's Northland rental department, First Rental, said many landlords were struggling in the tough letting market, giving tenants the upper hand. Rents had remained relatively flat, with some even dropping.

Trade Me figures showed Northland's average asking weekly rent was $299 between January and March - unchanged from a year ago.

Ms MacPherson said some landlords and real estate agents had even offered a week's free rent to lure prospective tenants.

"A couple of years ago a tenant would come in and look in our window and ask us about [a listed rental] property. Nine times out of 10 they would rent that property. Now, they will come and ask us about a property, go away, and we won't see them again," she said.

Nearly 600 Northland rental properties were listed on Trade Me at the moment.

Those most likely to be snapped up quickly were ones near good schools and closer to town, Ms MacPherson said. Parts of Tikipunga, Kamo West and Kensington were all popular, and homes with double-garages also tended to attract more interest.

Meanwhile, interest from prospective Northland tenants had jumped by 5 per cent since last year, judging by the number of email inquiries to Trade Me.

Nationally, the average asking rent in the three months to March was 3 per cent higher than for the same period last year - despite weaker market interest and higher numbers of available rentals.

Trade Me head of property Brendon Skipper said investors getting back into property had contributed to the overall increase in rental properties, which was up 5 per cent compared to last year.

Low interest rates and a buoyant sales market had helped lure investor buyers back.

Tenants had more choice, but well-presented, realistically priced rentals would attract tenants, he said.


- Northern Advocate

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