Auckland and Wellington rents could surge from next month after Trade Me Property said weekly prices have frozen over winter and that new records could be set as the weather heats up.
Trade Me's Nigel Jeffries said rents sometimes dropped during winter but they had not this year and that could indicate a possible rise soon.
"With the Auckland and Wellington regions bucking the seasonal trend, there's a good chance we could be heading for more record rents this summer. Auckland's sitting at an all-time high. Once summer demand kicks in, we could see rents jump pretty quickly," he said.
Auckland rents had remained static for the past four months at a median $550/week and Wellington was also the same at a static median $480/week, he said. More properties were available too.
"Rent in Auckland remained at its peak and unchanged since April. We've seen a 17 per cent bump in the number of rental listings in central Auckland compared to last year which means there are more options out there for prospective tenants."
Rental properties in Manukau City were in demand last month, with a 24 per cent inquiry rise in the first two days on the Trade Me site compared to the same time last year.
The most popular Auckland rental was a two-bedroom at Flat Bush which got 49 inquiries in the first two days of being listed, he said.
Inquiries for Auckland city rental properties dropped by 6 per cent and by 13 per cent on the North Shore.
Lower Hutt median rents rose 1.1 per cent on last year to $450/week. Upper Hutt rents rose 7.2 per cent to $410/week. Wellington city rents rose 6.1 per cent to $520/week.
On an annual basis, Auckland rents rose 3.8 per cent from July last year to last month and Wellington rents rose 6.7 per cent in the same period.
Trade Me says it compiles information from "data of properties that have been rented in the month by property managers and private landlords. On average over 11,000 properties are rented each month. The index is calculated using the median rent in the month, this being an accurate statistical assessment of the current rent being charged by landlords and property managers".
Barfoot & Thompson said earlier this month that Auckland rents were rising at the slowest pace in years, based on information from the nearly 16,000 properties it manages.
"Renting a typical three-bedroom home in Auckland between April and June this year cost 3.5 per cent or $19 more per week than it did during the same period in 2017," said director Kiri Barfoot.
Three-bedroom homes make up most of the company's portfolio.
"This is the smallest percentage increase in weekly rents that we have observed in at least the last two years and is also the first time the average increase has dropped below the $20 per week mark.
"This time last year, the average increase in weekly rent on a three-bedroom home was more like $22, and in 2016 it was as high as $24," she said.
The downward trend seen in the first two quarters of 2018 followed a period of steady rises of around 4.3 per cent a quarter year-on-year throughout 2017 and much higher increases of 5 per cent or more during 2015 and 2016.
"We are likely seeing the beginning of a new normal in rental price trends as landlords strike a fine balance in their pricing in the face of rising operating and compliance costs."
North Shore average three-bedroom rents were $592/week in June, central Auckland's $964/week, the eastern suburbs $658/week, south Auckland $494/week and west Auckland $508/week, Barfoot & Thompson data showed.