Auckland residential rents have hit a new all-time high and are forecast to climb further soon to an average $600/week.
Kiri Barfoot, a Barfoot & Thompson director, said average weekly rents rose around $12/week to reach a new high of $595/week. She expects them soon to be $600/week and said rents rose 2 per cent annually.
"Auckland's average rent was $595/week at the end of 2020, just shy of a long-anticipated $600 per week," she said.
The figure is based on rents paid during December for around 16,500 properties, including new and existing tenancies, managed by the agency.
"We have long suspected the market would hit the $600 mark during 2020 and while this was dampened somewhat by the effects of lockdown, the momentum continued among newly signed tenancies," she said.
"Activity during this quarter was also not constrained by the rent freeze, which ended in late September, and we've seen a slight lift in average prices across the board," she said.
The rise is a return to a more normal pace, on par with December 2019's increase of 2.1 per cent year-on-year, which also equated to around $12 more per week, she said.
Three-bedroom homes - the majority of Auckland's rental stock - are a market benchmark and it was that size which attracted the December $597/week.
Rents for five-plus bedrooms were relatively static with less than 1 per cent movement, she said.
South Auckland and Rodney rents rose the fastest, up 3.5 and 3.2 per cent, representing $18/week average.
Property managers are reporting increased activity and listings, with high volumes of prospective tenants attending viewings.
"The number of available properties is fairly steady, however interest and competition for properties appears to be on the up.
"And while we are seeing some owners choosing to exit the market, we are also seeing an increase in the number of rental appraisal requests from new investors, which is promising."
The biggest rental shakeup in 35 years takes effect next month.
Some investors in the $180b sector are wondering what effect the Residential Tenancies Amendment Act 2020 will have when it bars no-cause terminations and allows "minor changes" at rental properties as long as both parties agree.