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Regions hit hard as rents increase nationally

Rents in the Bay of Plenty increased by 16.4 per cent in the year to June.

Renting a home is getting more expensive, particularly in Hawke's Bay, where rent prices have increased 20.4 per cent, according to a Massey University report.

Its latest Rental Report showed a 9.4 per cent rent increase nationally in the year to June.

Property studies professor Graham Squires says it's "stark" and seeing huge jumps outside of main centres is a surprise.

"Sadly, when we look at rental affordability or house price affordability, it's quite a bleak picture and appears to be getting bleaker."

Bay of Plenty rents increased 16.4 per cent, with Manawatū-Whanganui going up 14.2 per cent to round out the top three rises.

"When we're seeing issues in the indices, when we look at wages and rents in these other regions, it's showing a new picture that's emerging," he says.

Squires thinks the heat of the housing market is spreading - anecdotally because people are moving away from expensive main centres.

Auckland and Wellington are the most expensive at an average of $554 and $510 per week respectively.

The West Coast is the cheapest place to rent at an average $281, which was a 3.1 percent drop year-on-year but a 12 per cent increase between the March and June quarters.

Squires says for renters, the situation is "obviously... not going to be acceptable" and will become "more problematic" until there is an increase in housing supply.

He says landlords will argue "there's a lot more pressures on landlords to increase rents" because of housing policy changes and supply issues.

New Zealand Property Investors Federation executive officer Sharon Cullwick agrees.

Cullwick, who is also the president of the Federation's Hawke's Bay association, said the region's 20.4 per cent rent increase is "definitely" a supply and demand issue.

She says policy changes by the Government, as well as building supply chain issues, means there is a "lack of investors coming into the market to help supply".

Cullwick says "it would be great" to get "a lot more houses on board a lot faster than we have been ... but there's no incentive either for private landlords to help with that increase in supply".

More than 100 houses were being built in Flaxmere, an outside suburb of Hastings, she says.

"We do know, though, in Hawke's Bay we've actually got one of the highest amount of people living in emergency housing in the country," Cullwick says.

"So we do know there's a dire need for more housing but what we don't need is any more government legislation that stops private landlords getting into the market that can help increase the supply."

Hastings-based budgeting charity BudgetFirst program manager, Yvonne Dickey, says more clients are now going directly to the Ministry of Social Development for housing support.

She says those coming to BudgetFirst often raised other financial issues but challenges related to housing usually came into the conversation.

"It's getting quite difficult."

Due to housing supply constraints, Dickey worries about overcrowding and other health issues, and "affordable housing" getting out of reach.

Dickey says peoples' incomes are "already stretched" paying high rents and it's keeping them out of ownership because high rents means people could not save for a deposit.

Renters United spokesperson Ashok Jacob says the national situation is "unacceptable".

He says issues related to, and stemming from, rent affordability, among others, are not going to improve until there price interventions in the housing market by government.

Ardern 'determined to see a change in housing'

"No one wants to see our housing market crash," Prime Minister Ardern said at the post-Cabinet meeting press briefing on Monday afternoon.

"It still represents the single biggest asset that most New Zealanders will own. It so happens we want to expand the number of New Zealanders who are able to access that market.

"What we are trying to do is ... use all the tools available to us whether it is changing or impacting on demand for investors by the changes we have made to our tax settings to encourage people to invest in the productive economy instead of the housing market, supporting first home buyers as much as we can with first home buying products and also increase supply.

"We're determined to see a change in housing. We need two things - house prices to not continue to increase at the extraordinary rate we have and also people's incomes need to continue to increase. We're a government who is being focused on both."

-Jake McKee/RNZ.

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2 Comments
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Tom Ranger

Posted on 14-12-2021 14:49 | By

Let’s do....this?!?

The problem.

Posted on 14-12-2021 12:11 | By

This is what happens when the Government interfere and try to control the housing market. This is a global issue, not just NZ.