Rents are up in Wairarapa and demand for rental properties has grown as people get settled to start the new year.
Just-released Trade Me figures show demand for Wairarapa rental properties grew by 4 per cent in the October-December quarter, while the average rent increased by 2 per cent to $256.
Supply of available properties also increased by 3 per cent to 434 listings.
Property Brokers Wairarapa manager Paul Joblin said the figures were a "fair indication" of the Wairarapa rental market.
"The demand is usually greater around the Christmas period and into the new year.
"I think people reposition themselves in the new year."
Rentals were in demand across Wairarapa, and three-bedroom properties were always popular, however more families were looking for four bedrooms.
The Trade Me figures did not show any great changes in the market, and the 2 per cent rent increase could be skewed by one higher value rental, he said.
Mr Joblin was hopeful for an improved local economy in the coming year.
"There's quite a lot of confidence 2014 will be better than last year."
Nationwide the number of properties available for rent last quarter was down 2 per cent on a year ago.
Enquiries from tenants were up across the country, rising 5 per cent on the same time last year, while average rent was up 6 per cent.
Of the main centres, Canterbury renters paid the most in weekly rent payments - forking out an average of $535 - nearly $40 more than Auckland.
Trade Me's acting head of property, Jimmy McGee, pinpointed the Christchurch rebuild as a major driver behind the region's high rental figures.
Nationwide, one of the key drivers of the rental market may be the Reserve Bank's new lending restrictions on high-risk low-deposit home loans, he said.
"As the [lending restrictions] lock potential house owners out of the market, more people will be forced to sit tight in their rental homes as they keep saving hard for a deposit."
But he said the bigger driving force may be the improved economic outlook as higher employment rates and wages would put more money in renters' pockets - improving their capacity to pay rents. "There's strong underlying demand for rental properties. Rising consumer confidence means that asking prices may continue to rise strongly."