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Needle in a hay stack


Finding a rental property is getting harder

An already difficult rental market is becoming tougher for anyone looking for a place to rent in Wairarapa.

There were 60 per cent fewer new rentals in the market in Wairarapa in March 2022, compared with March 2021, according to data provided by realestate.co.nz, as the rental shortage continues to hit the region.

There were just 21 new rentals listed in March 2021, compared with 39 in the same month last year.

This is the largest year-on-year decrease from 2021, and reflects a downwards trend in rental availability.

Adding to the difficulties, the average rent in Wairarapa for February 2022 was $507.60, up 21.85 per cent from $407.60 in February 2021.

The average rent increase of $100 was double the national average of $50, according to Consumer NZ.

Property management companies have reported high demand for few available properties, with most of those applying already living in the area and having to leave homes that are being sold. February had a decrease of 37.5 per cent of new rentals on February 2021, and January had a decrease of 23.5 per cent.

Brady Bingham of Sotheby’s said that the decrease in rental availability “doesn’t surprise him” and said the low number of rentals is due to landlords selling off their investment properties.

“Changes in requirements for landlords meant older rental stock is being sold off for newer builds for tax-deductibility purposes and to fit with the healthy homes standards,” he said.

“A number of recent clients sold rental properties, and there are a lot of ex-rental properties coming to market.

“Which would be good for first home buyers, but finance is hard to access.”

LJ Hooker Property Investment Manager Keith Archer said he would take new rental statistics with a grain of salt.

“Often we don’t have to advertise rental property.

“A lot of known quality tenants are asked, when their house is going to be sold, if they would like to live in this other house, as we want to keep those tenants.”

However, Archer also said there were investors leaving the market and said the Government might have overregulated, causing property investors to sell their rental properties.

“Multiple investors are deciding to sell one or two properties to reduce debt on others.

“There are new people coming in to be investors, and properties are still going up as rentals, but there are a lot fewer investing in rentals as the capital gains are not there, and likely won’t be there for a long time.”

At the time of writing, there were just 14 rentals available on Trade Me for the entire region.

Six of those were in South Wairarapa, five in Carterton and three in Masterton.

Of those 14 listings, just five had a weekly rent under $500.

The lowest number of new rentals coming to market in Wairarapa in the past 18 months was in August 2021, at just 17 rentals, possibly an effect of the nationwide covid-19 alert level four lockdown.

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