By Beckie Wilson
A sharp hike in the cost of renting a home in Wellington has turned Wairarapa into a hotspot for people seeking more affordable housing.
In the wake of Wairarapa’s rising property market, demand for rental homes has shot up, particularly in South Wairarapa.
The Trade Me website says the median weekly rent for a Wairarapa property is $300, for the year ending in November.
In comparison, the cost of renting in Wellington had risen 9.5 per cent in the past year, hitting an average of $433 a week.
This has put enormous pressure on tenants to look at cheaper options elsewhere.
Wairarapa’s rental market has been relatively subdued for most of the year, but movement around the country suggests prices could be on the way up.
“Rents tend to reflect pressure from landlords matching rents to the supply of properties in the market,” Trade Me property head, Nigel Jefferies said.
“Certainly, Wellington and Wairarapa are connected markets and the impact of the rental market in Wellington will play a part on the local market as people look farther afield for property.”
Dianne Gates, owner of Lifestyle Residential Property Management, said there was a constant demand in the region that was not being met.
Featherston, at the foot of the Rimutakas, had become a popular spot.
“People from Wellington and the Hutt that rent are moving to South Wairarapa, mainly Featherston,” she said.
“The cost of renting, combined with train passes and the lifestyle seems better than paying for rent in Wellington.”
Mrs Gates said she noticed that a lot of people renting in the region were thinking of buying or building in the area, so they’re trialling the region first.
The average rent for a three-bedroom home in Featherston floated at around $300 a week.
Tracey Rackliff, co-owner of Orion Property Management, said the rentals situation was exactly the same as the property market — supply not matching demand.
“I have heard from people that there is a lot of interest in Featherston for commuters,” she said.
“The average rent price in Featherston and Masterton is $300 to $350 for a decent three-bedroom home.
“You can half the cost of living if you rented at that price compared to living in Wellington.”
Mrs Rackliff, and her husband own a number of investment properties in the region.
The couple have noticed the rental supply in Greytown and Carterton was extremely low with more options in Featherston and Masterton. There had been a dramatic leap in the region’s rent prices 18 months ago but it was flattening out.