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Latest housing rent figures suggest rental growth may be lower than the headline figures suggest


By Greg Ninness

House prices may be declining but rents show no sign of heading in the same direction.

The latest bond data from Tenancy Services shows the national median residential rent was $550 a week in October, up $30, or 5.8%, compared to October last year.

While landlords may be celebrating, the annual figures need to be treated with some caution because rental growth may not be as robust as those numbers suggest.

The national median rent first hit $550 a week in January this year, rising from $540 the previous December and $520 in November last year.

It then stayed at either $540 or $550 a week for the rest of the year, apart from June when it briefly dipped down to $535 before bouncing back up to $540 in July and remaining there until September.

So the $30 a week increase in median rent was something that actually occurred over the third and fourth quarters of last year. Since then rents appear to have been fairly stable.

That trend is also reflected in the figures for Auckland, which is the country's largest rental market by far, accounting for 38% of all bonds received by Tenancy Services in October.

The median rent in Auckland was $595 in October, up $5 a week, or 1.0%, compared to October last year.

However that's still below the peak of $600 a week which prevailed from November last year to May this year.

Those figures suggest rental growth in Auckland is flat at best.

However the latest figures come at the end of what is usually a fairly quiet time for the rental market. The next few months will be critical for determining which way rents are headed. That's because the period from December to February is traditionally the busiest time of year for new rentals, with many people using the Christmas break to move house and many students looking for new accommodation at the start of the year.

The table below shows the annual change in median rents around the country by region for the year to October.


This story was originally published on and has been republished here with permission.