A student says he has lived in a van for the past 18 months to dodge record Wellington rents, which have now surpassed average Auckland rents for the first time.

Jonathan Ford, who is now trying to sell the van to fund travel in Asia, boasts on Facebook said he worked and studied fulltime while living in the van and it was "the best year of my life".

"I had freedom and slept in the most beautiful places around. I had showers at the gym everyday and ate the best foods," he writes.

"Because of this lifestyle I saved so much money and it's time to spend around Asia with one-way ticket."


His post came as it was reported yesterday that Wellington's median weekly rent rose 8.2 per cent to a record $565 a week in the year to December.

In the same period Auckland's median rent was static at $550 a week.

Wellington's median matched the Auckland median for the first time in November and surpassed it in December.

In contrast, in the rest of the country the national median rent remained stable for the fifth month in a row at $480, although this was up 4.3 per cent from a year earlier.

Ford's post, on the Vic Deals Facebook page, has drawn 110 comments so far including many people suggesting that their friends should adopt the same solution to the rental squeeze.

KerryAnne Butler asked: "Where did you park? There's all these rules now about freedom camping. I did it for a week to have a holiday and got caught out a couple of times. No fines thankfully."

Ford replied: "Never had problems in 1 year and half."

Chantel Calverley posted: "I did it for just over a month with my two kids. All over the north and south islands last summer. We showered in the changing rooms at swimming pools. I had money to stay at hotels, but it seemed like such a waste."


Ford responded: "Yea I stay away from campers lol theres enough bad reputation as is. Well done, and yes you are right, it is a waste, its much better sleeping by the sea looking at the stars and use the money for things more important."

Median rents Dec 2018

$565 Wellington City, up 8.2 per cent since Dec 2017

$550 Auckland City, unchanged

$500 Tauranga, up 8.7 per cent

$500 Blenheim, up 16.3 per cent

$430 Hamilton, up 7.5 per cent


$420 Hastings, up 16.7 per cent

$415 Napier, up 9.2 per cent

$415 Nelson, down 0.6 per cent

$410 Whangārei, up 3.8 per cent

$400 Christchurch City, unchanged

$390 Taupō, up 11.4 per cent


$385 New Plymouth, up 6.9 per cent

$370 Rotorua, up 5.7 per cent

$370 Palmerston North, up 5.7 per cent

$360 Dunedin, up 1.4 per cent

$320 Whanganui, up 25.5 per cent

$295 Invercargill, up 9.3 per cent