Auckland residential rental applications with one major agency rose 28 per cent last month compared to July, signalling a possible early start to the summer rental season.

Kiri Barfoot, who overseas Barfoot & Thompson's property management services, said the high number of applications was unusual at this time of the year and online rental property searches also rose 26 per cent between July and August.

"This signals an early start to the shifting season, when tenants begin to look elsewhere for properties that might better suit their needs. It's a typical spring trend, but we are seeing it take hold earlier each year as people try and get in ahead of the crowds. It's likely activity will also peak earlier this year - prior to, rather than after, the Christmas holidays," she said.

Feedback from property managers indicated many tenants were thinking ahead to next winter and wanting warm and dry homes.

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"Homes with insulation and efficient heating, such as heat pumps are highly sought after and we encourage our landlords to upgrade their properties in this way," she said.

The average weekly rent across Auckland last month increased $4 between July and August, to $496. That is a rise of less than 1 per cent between the two months and just 6 per cent year-on-year, from $467 in August last year.

Barfoots manage more than 13,000 rental properties.