Student renters particularly picky this year

JENNA LYNCH
Last updated 05:00 15/01/2013

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While on paper the Hamilton rental business looks a lot sweeter than the rest of the country, the city's rental agents are finding it increasingly difficult to meet the needs of fussy tenants.

Latest Trade Me figures show that, in Hamilton, rental property supply increased 11 per cent in the final quarter of 2012, with demand rising 4 per cent, while listings nationwide rose 10 per cent, with demand decreasing 8 per cent.

Lodge Rentals general manager David Kneebone said the demand he was receiving from renters in Hamilton meant he was not surprised by the Trade Me figures and, although business was strong, he had noticed it was getting harder to fill all houses.

"We're definitely working harder to keep our properties full. We're showing more viewings to get the properties away," he said. "It does indicate to us that tenants have that choice out there."

The figures also show a 5 per cent rise in rental prices across the city, and Mr Kneebone said this could be put down to a notable trend in the market with increasing demand for good, well-presented properties.

"The average rent price has crept up a bit - particularly in well-presented three- to four-bedroom houses," he said. "The demand for ‘good properties' is probably stronger than it has been for a while."

Mr Kneebone noted that tertiary students, who account for about 15 per cent of the rental market, were being especially demanding, most wanting new homes with all the mod cons.

"The market is responding big time there," he said. "There's a lot of development going on [near the university] and that's in response to demand from students for landlords to provide better accommodation."

Mr Kneebone said they were having trouble renting older, less desirable houses in the university area to students, but keys to sparkling new properties were flying out the door.

"We're renting properties that are literally still under construction now, in anticipation of them being finished in time for the university year," he said. "Those new properties are renting really, really well."

Mr Kneebone said this time of the year was always their busiest period, but this was the busiest start to the year that he has seen in quite some time. "We're slightly up on last year in terms of our viewings, inquiries and physical viewings of properties are up as are out lettings of properties."

A search on Trade Me yesterday showed plenty of rentals were available in Hamilton, with prices to suit everyone.

If you are looking for the basics, $220 a week will get you a three-bedroom house, with one bathroom on a small section in Hamilton East.

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But, if you are after all-out luxury, $800 a week will secure you a five-bedroom, three-bathroom house in Hamilton West complete with swimming pool, tennis court and, of course, gorgeous views over the Hamilton Lake.

For those looking for something in-between, $400 a week will get a modern three-bedroom down a quiet cul-de-sac in Rototuna, with an en suite and walk-in wardrobe in the master bedroom.

- © Fairfax NZ News

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