ON AIR: Andrew Dickens Monday Afternoons

12PM - 4PM

Families priced out as median weekly rent jumps to record $450

Alicia Burrow, Georgina Campbell,
Publish Date
Tuesday, 17 January 2017, 5:31AM
(Getty Images).
(Getty Images).

Families are being priced out of rental homes because of multiple rent increases on the same property over the last year.

Trademe figures show the national median weekly rent has jumped to a record $450.

Monte Cecilia Housing Trust Chief Executive Bernie Smith said it's now not just about families falling off the property rung, but the rental one too.

He said double income families who've been renting for a long time are ten dollars away from ending up in their car.

The Mangere and Ranui based housing provider is now turning people away because it has a constant waiting list.

It says around two to three new families require emergency housing each week.

Mr Smith said it's demoralising for their staff to turn families away, especially when there are other personal and health issues impacting the client.

"They find themselves quite ashamed to have to come to us for assistance in the first instance and when you hear their sad story it makes it very difficult to actually say well I'm sorry we can't assist."

Staff call around other providers but most of the time those providers are in the 'same boat.'

He's angry at property speculators who continue to buy and sell houses so fast it bumps up house prices exponentially.

He said they seem to lack compassion for the families they're kicking out at the other end of the housing spectrum.

"More and more people are being locked out of home ownership so they're having to stay in rentals, increasing demand, so the whole housing continuum is just broken, well and truly."

He said some long-term landlords aren't much better.

When the government increases housing subsidies for families, some property owners put the rent up in accordance with the increase, so the family isn't any better off.

Mr Smith said he personally believes the previous housing minister did well to increase emergency housing options and he recognises there are big social housing programmes on the way, but he says those will take too long and they're not enough.

"There's not going to be a clear resolution unless the government looks at the whole housing continuum from those that are homeless to those people that are looking to purchase their first home, they've been locked out by the 40 percent deposit now required on a mortgage."

Wellington is experiencing rents increasing by 10 percent on this time last year, an increase that's more than the national trend.

Head of Trade Me Property Nigel Jeffries said higher demand is a contributing factor.

"Everyone knows that it's now harder for a first home buyer to get into the property market, largely because there isn't a lot of stock and the banking rules are tougher for you to get lending- so that puts more people needing to rent homes."

He said it's not unusual to have 20 different groups of people at a property viewing.

"Young single groups of flatmates competing against professional couples, the professional couples tend to win out- they've got a longer employment history, a longer rental history."

Mr Jeffries said in the last six months the number of available rentals in Wellington has dropped by about 200 each month.

Meanwhile, the Christchurch rental market is still bucking the national trend - with rents down 5 percent from the same time last year.

Statistics released by Trade Me Property reveal the region remains a "tenants market" with little shift in the city's rents.

By December last year, the median weekly rent was around $399 - well below the peak of $495 back in March 2015.



ON AIR: Andrew Dickens Monday Afternoons

12PM - 4PM