Hawke's Bay property managers say the region's rental market has unexpectedly exploded after lockdown, and youngsters sick of spending time with their parents might be to blame.
The already-tight rental market in the region is once again straining at the seams, this time coming into winter, and some wannabe renters are waiting three months for a viewing.
Hawke's Bay Properties owner and director Dee Penno-Phillips said she was startled by the number of young adults wanting to move out of their parents' homes after the Covid-19 lockdown.
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"We didn't expect such a flurry of people wanting to move in alert level 3, in particular younger people wanting to move out of home for the first time after alert level 4 lockdown," she said.
"It was highly unusual to have so many in this age group wanting rental properties. They all definitely wanted to move out of their parents' homes."
Penno-Phillips said the return of many to the region from overseas, and the inability of youngsters to go on OEs, had also created a burst of action in the rental market.
"Whether they're coming back from overseas due to Covid-19 or moving from Auckland for new job opportunities, we have had unexpected demand from people returning to Hawke's Bay," she said.
"We were also surprised during alert level 3, where we had a lot of applications to go through. In one case, we went through 48 applications prior to a viewing."
Newlyweds Caylah Cherry and husband Jay spent three months looking for a rental property in the region before succeeding.
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"We were lucky to find this property in Marewa through word of mouth when we did," she said. "We moved in last week.
"It's super hard for people at the moment to find rentals as there are so many people applying.
"We had to stay with my parents throughout lockdown with the kids as we had nowhere to go."
Megan Helm, a single mother of three, hasn't been so lucky.
"I've been looking for a rental since February 27, since my landlord issued me with a notice to vacate," she said.
"Had lockdown not happened and Jacinda Ardern put a stop to all terminations, I would be homeless."
Helm said she applies for multiple properties a day, with the same response – unsuccessful.
"I feel that given the housing shortage, the landlords and property managers are able to be extremely picky," she said.
"It's disheartening waking every morning to find more 'unsuccessful' emails or to go on TradeMe and see there's 60 to 100 other people watching that same property.
"I have three weeks and if I don't find anything, I'll have to get emergency housing in a motel, which puts a roof over my and the girls' heads, but most motels are charging between $1500 and $2000 a week."
Pukeko Rental Managers retail manager Vicky Harris said she had received more than 40 applications for a two-bedroom flat in the region within the first 24 hours of listing.
Harris said most applicants had been "unemployed in emergency housing" in recent weeks.
"This audience has been the status quo for this type of housing for a number of years," she said. "I'm finding higher-end houses more difficult to tenant, as they usually are in winter, so no change there."
Property manager Duncan Reid said smaller properties were sought after.
"Post Covid-19, there has been an increase in demand for one and two-bedroom properties," he said. "Numbers have not altered much for larger homes."