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New Zealand’s rental prices have hit a historic high, with a recent report from Trade Me’s Rental Price Index identifying a new region as the country’s most expensive rental location. The national median weekly rent in Aotearoa rose to $625 in December, marking the first uptick in nearly six months.

RENTAL CRISIS: Rents HIT an all time high | TRADE ME

According to the latest data, the Bay of Plenty has now surpassed Auckland as the priciest region for rentals. Rent prices in the Bay of Plenty surged by 11.7 percent compared to the previous year, reaching a peak of $670 per week in December, while Auckland’s median rent was slightly lower at $660.

The Western Bay of Plenty experienced a substantial 14.2 percent increase, and Tauranga saw a 7.7 percent rise, contributing to the overall surge in rental figures for the region. Despite a recent dip in rent prices in Auckland, it remains one of the more expensive places to live, often rivaling Wellington, according to Gavin Lloyd, Trade Me’s property sales director.

Interestingly, Marlborough stands out as the only region with a year-on-year decrease in rental prices nationwide, dropping by 0.9 percent to a median weekly rent of $530.

In contrast, Southland retains its position as the most affordable place to rent in New Zealand, with a median price of $440 per week, reflecting a slight 2.3 percent increase from the previous month. Wellington’s median rent is $650 per week, while Canterbury’s is $570.

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The Rental Price Index for December 2023 versus November 2023 indicates an overall increase, marking the first time in 2023 that December has seen a month-on-month rise. Despite the official cash rate remaining unchanged in late 2023, renters are now paying an additional $45 per week compared to the previous December.

Trade Me’s property sales director, Gavin Lloyd, notes that the higher living costs experienced by Kiwis are now translating into elevated rental prices. Looking ahead to 2024, many are closely monitoring the new government, especially considering recent legislation reshaping the Reserve Bank’s focus toward a singular mandate—to reduce inflation.

The demand for rental properties has slowed nationwide in the lead-up to the holiday season. In December, rental property demand was down 19 percent compared to November, with listings also decreasing by 17 percent. This trend was evident in major hubs, with Auckland, Canterbury, and Wellington experiencing declines in demand, while Gisborne and Marlborough were the only regions to see an increase.