New Zealand's best-known advocate of renting, Shamubeel Eaqub, is rethinking his plans now that he and his wife Selena are expecting their first child in June.

Mr Eaqub, the NZ Institute of Economic Research's principal economist, has said repeatedly that it made no sense to pay house prices that have jumped in Auckland by 44 per cent in the past three years, from $529,000 in December 2011 to $762,000 last month.

Average Auckland rents rose by only 10 per cent in the same period, from $439 to $484 a week.

Now aged 34, he and his wife have recently moved from Wellington to Auckland and are still renting.


"The rental yield in central Auckland is 2.7 per cent," he said.

Most banks are offering above 4 per cent just for short term deposits, and the NZX 50 sharemarket index has risen 15 per cent in the past year.

"We have split up the house in terms of shelter and investment, and understanding that, we haven't bought a house yet for various reasons including lifestyle, because we have been moving around with career progression and those things.

"We have been very disciplined in having financial savings, so by the time I get to 40, we are very confident we will have saved a reasonable sum of money, and whether or not we choose to buy a house will depend on our lifestyle situation and whether the numbers stack up."

But he said the couple's first baby would make a difference.

"The first thing is security if you are renting, and stability, and being able to make small alterations. All of those things become more important when you are a family."

Mr Eaqub believes renting should be made more secure for the growing numbers of renters.

"If we can improve security of tenure, we can provide a lot of the home ownership-type benefits to people who are renting," he said.


"For example, the standard rental contract that has a standard term of 12 months. If we had a standard term of three years, with a right to vary that as we have now, we would gradually see a shift to much longer tenancies."