The gap between the top and bottom ends of the rental market may never have been wider.
The most expensive rental in the area is Kingsdown Manor, a five double-bedroom, three bathroom mansion, which can be yours for only $565 per week. If that is out of your price range, single-room portable cabins with no plumbing can be rented for $70 a week.
If the cabin is too basic, how about a two-bedroom Le Cren St flat at $135 a week - the cheapest home on the rental market.
Although Kingsdown Manor may seem expensive, it's a far cry from Wellington's most expensive rental property - a Karori mansion with almost half an acre of land, its own squash and tennis courts, outdoor swimming pool- at $3000 a week.
The properties show the wide divergence in a market characterised by low supply and high demand in some places.
The head of Trade Me Property, Brendon Skipper, said Wellington, Palmerston North and Christchurch were the hardest places to find a property.
Nationally, average asking rents rose by an average of $6 to $417 a week.
The average rental price in Timaru rose $20 during the past year to $280 a week.
Quinovic Kent Tce principal Matt Watson said it was likely tenants for high-priced properties would be overseas business people with families who may not be staying long enough to commit to buying a property.
"Generally, it would not be a New Zealand-based family, it will be people from outside New Zealand coming in. One of the benefits they get in coming to the country is they get a high level of accommodation to make themselves very comfortable."
The cheapest listed properties are portable cabins rented by Washdyke franchise Just Cabins. If a couple shared the portable cabin, that's cheaper than some car parking spaces in inner-city Wellington.
The rentable cabins are mostly used as a sleepout or for cheap on-site office space. The 3.6 x 2.4 square metre cabins are wired for electricity but, apart from that, all the resident gets is carpet, curtains, windows and doors with double glazing and a step.
About 205 of them could fit into the Karori house's 1770sqm section.
Franchise owner Craig Nuttal brought the business here 10 months ago. He covers from Selwyn to Oamaru, and says he has around 20 units hired out so far.
"People mostly use them if they need extra space for awhile. It might be that they need to set up an office, or have an extra bedroom to get a teenager out of the house," he said.
The cabin rental idea was started in the North Island by engineer Matt Whiteman. Up north, the cheap cabin rental business has completely taken off.
"We sold our first franchise last year and we can't keep up with demand in the lower North Island ... we have a waiting list," Mr Whiteman said.
If the North Island trend is anything to go by, the South Island may see an influx of portable cheap rental cabins.
SOUTH CANTERBURY HERALD
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