Canterbury rents set to hit Auckland levels

CATHERINE HARRIS
Last updated 18:18 05/06/2014

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Canterbury continues to have the fastest-growing rental growth in the country, up nearly 15 per cent in the year to April.

Figures from MBIE show the region's post-earthquake housing shortage and rebuild activity continued to affect rents, which were likely to reach Auckland levels by the end of the year if the trend continued.

In greater Christchurch, including Selwyn and Waimakiriri, average weekly rents for the three months to April were $431, nearly 11 per cent higher than the same period a year ago.

Auckland's rental growth by comparison was about a quarter and Wellington's was "negligible".

But Waikato's rents were up 5 per cent, the second highest region for rental growth.

Gisborne, Taranaki, the West Coast and Nelson all saw rents fall.

Size-wise, MBIE said the gap between rents for larger properties and smaller properties seemed to be widening.

Houses with five or more bedrooms saw rent rises of 4 per cent during the year ($643) and 5.2 per cent for four-bedroom homes ($501).

The average rent for three-bedroom houses rose 4.5 per cent to $388, 4.2 per cent for a two-bedroom home ($337) and 3.4 per cent for a one-bedroom property ($261).

According to MBIE's quarterly housing and construction report, national levels of house building also improved considerably during the year, augmented by alterations and additions.

New dwelling consents were up nearly 13 per cent at 1999 in the year to March, with consents in greater Christchurch rose nearly 48 per cent higher (542 consents).

Auckland consents were only marginally higher at 561, an increase of 19.4 per cent, while Wellington's dwelling consents rose 26 per cent to 108.

MBIE also cautioned that the picture for house sales was really a tale of two markets, Auckland and greater Christchurch being one and the rest of the country being the other.

Auckland's house prices had grown 13.5 per cent in a year, 28 per cent since the start of 2012 and were 50 to 56 per cent higher than the other regions.

This meant even national figures had to be treated with caution. Auckland and greater Christchurch ''have their own price dynamic that is completely different from that of the rest of the country''.

''They really need to be seen more as a market on their own,'' the report said.

Auckland also had the highest construction costs, with the cost of standard home rising 4.3 per cent to $1416 per square metre.

Christchurch was second, with an 11.3 per cent rise in costs to $1350 per sq m, ''highlighting the pressure Christchurch's construction industry is under'', and Wellington's building costs rose 4.6 per cent to $1331.

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The value of alterations and additions rose 27 per cent to $157m, with $68m in Auckland, $14m in Wellington and $30m in greater Christchurch.

- Stuff

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