House prices may be stabilising across New Zealand but tenants in the regions are facing record rents as housing shortages bite.
Data from the latest Trade Me Property Rental index showed the regions were facing particularly steep increases.
Excluding Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch the median rent across the country had risen 6.8 per cent on the previous year to an all-time high of $395 per week.
Head of Trade Me Property Nigel Jeffries said the rental market had been particularly hot in March.
"Record rental prices in Hawke's Bay at $400 per week, Northland at $400 per week and Southland at $275 per week have been driving this increase and we expect to see the median rent in provincial areas crack $400 per week very soon," Jeffries said.
Hawkes Bay topped the charts for year-on-year growth with a 14.3 per cent increase in median weekly rent, followed by the Nelson and Tasman region with median weekly rent of $420 and the Manawatu Wanganui region on $320 - up just over 10 per cent.
The data showed it was a different story in Auckland and Wellington.
"Rental prices in the capital continued to ease in March after the median weekly rent in Wellington fell $15 on January's record to $485. Auckland also cooled, shedding $10 off last month's high to $540."
The national median weekly rent was unchanged for a third consecutive month in March at $470, but still up 4.4 per cent on last year.
Demand for housing was also still strong with several Auckland rental properties receiving more than 100 enquiries within the first two days of listing.
Rents in the city had dropped 1.8 per cent in the past month to an average of $540 per week, however Jeffries noted rental prices were still up "a solid 4.9 per cent" on last year when the median rent in Auckland was $515 a week.
"Auckland is still seeing strong demand for rentals, with a three-bedroom property in Mount Wellington receiving 116 enquiries in the first two days of being listed on-site," Jeffries said.
Meanwhile, demand in the capital fell slightly since its peak in January.
"Tenants in the capital will be glad to see rents continue to ease," Jeffries said.
"The median rent in the Wellington region fell $15 from January's record to $485 per week in March, but they're still up a solid $45 on last year."
The data also showed for smaller houses in Wellington with one or two bedrooms, median weekly rent was on par with similar sized homes in Auckland at $450 a week.
Christchurch was the only major city to buck the trend with median rent remaining unchanged for a fourth consecutive month at $400 per week.