Hawke's Bay's rental market appears to be in a state of flux, with older landlords bailing out but property management companies still as busy as ever.
Data from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment shows the number of rental properties with active bonds lodged by tenants has fallen by nearly 200 over the past 12 months to October, with the number of active bonds in place around Hawke's Bay falling to 10,648.
MBIE dispute resolution national manager Allan Galloway said active bonds related to the number of rental properties for which a landlord has taken a bond.
"Not all landlords take bonds; where this is the case, these rental properties would not be reflected in our bonds data."
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Last week, Housing and Urban Development Minister Phil Twyford labelled claims by National Party leader Simon Bridges that mum and dad investors were being driven out of the rental market by government policies, as merely "scaremongering".
However, at present there are fewer than 100 properties available for rent (listed on Trade Me).
NZ Property Investors Federation's Hawke's Bay-based national president Sharon Cullwick said there were several factors behind the lack of rental properties.
"In HBPIA we are seeing some of the older investors exiting the market due to the increasing costs that will be associated with the RTA reform and the Healthy Homes Amendment Bill when the details are released next year.
"We also know that the average age for a property investor is between 65 and 70. This is older than other parts of the country.
"In Hawke's Bay we know that tenants are staying longer in houses than previously, the main reason is they have nowhere to go.
'In a recent monthly meeting of the Hawke's Bay Property Investors Association (HBPIA) where about 50 members attended we asked who had houses available to rent and only one person had one available but they hadn't advertised it for rent yet, due to renovating it.
"I guess the average amount of properties per person in the room is about five properties."
However, Tremains Rentals manager Ruth Shannon said, this year, the property management company had been able to rent out almost exactly the same number of properties as it did last year.
"We haven't noticed any difference, I guess the positive now is that they don't sit around very long. The downtime in between is minimised and the advertising period is about a week and it's gone."
In fact, 28 properties were rented in October - six more than in the same month last year.