Rotorua renters struggling with rising rent prices can collectively sigh in relief as new figures show the median asking price has dipped below $300.
But experts say rent prices are unlikely to drop any further with the overall trend still showing a price increase.
New Trade Me figures released to the Rotorua Daily Post show the median asking price for rent was $287.50 in September.
While the September price is up 5 per cent on last year, it is down 1 per cent on the August median rent price of $290 and down 7 per cent on the July median rent price of $310.
Ross Stanway, chief executive of Eves and Bayleys Real Estate, said it was important to be mindful that the data was based on median prices, not average prices.
"It could be a reflection of more rental properties being rented at the lower end of the market in September, not that the average price for rental properties is declining.
"But, looking ahead, it could also be an indication of more sustainable, longer term, steadying up of properties which, if at a price landlords are happy with, is a good thing."
Mr Stanway said while the overall rental price trend was still upward, the rate could be slowing.
Richard Evans, co-director of Rotorua Rentals, said the requirement to have a 40 per cent deposit to buy a house had alleviated some of the pressure in the rental market.
"Some of those properties people were wanting to sell haven't so they have been put back in the rental pool.
"I have about a dozen or so properties on my books at the moment whereas eight weeks ago I would have been lucky to have had two or three."
Mr Evans said the market went through an eight to 10-year cycle and was not surprised by the dip.
"The prices aren't going to plummet, just stabilise. The only thing that surprises me is that people are surprised when the market makes these turns. Every eight to 10 years there's a big boom and then it calms down."
LJ Hooker group business support manager for property managers Karen Silby said demand from Aucklanders was the driving force behind Rotorua's rental increases.
"Now that demand has slowed in not just Rotorua but the whole Bay of Plenty.
"I don't think we will see rent prices decline much more, but what renters can look forward to is a real stabilisation of prices in the market.
"The rental pool is still quite tight which is frustrating for tenants but at least it's not as bad as it is in Auckland."
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