The number of Wellington available rentals have plummeted to a record 70%. Head of Trade Me Property Nigel Jeffries said “We haven’t seen anything like this before, it’s quite unusual,”

“It’s a record drop as far as our records go back.”

Trade Me’s data shows the number of listings remains around the same, but properties are being signed up much faster.

The 70% drop is based on available Wellington listings in December, compared to the same period a year ago.

An increase of bidding for rentals is happening more frequently as renters battle to snap up a home.

Jeffries said that some landlords would shortlist tenants and then go back to them and ask what the highest rent they were willing to pay.

 Since October the average median rent has increased $30 from $450 per week to $480 in December, to match the record set in January last year.

“We expect to see a new record price in January as the influx of university students heats the market even further,” Jeffries said.

He believed the increase in cost would reach about $50.

The rent increase is driven by a combination of factors including a lack of housing, first time buyers staying in their rentals longer while they save a deposit and the influx of people coming into Wellington, he said.

Wellington’s situation is grim compared to the rest of the country. Nationwide the number of rentals has dropped by 49% on December 2016.

The median weekly rent rose 2.2% to $460 a week.

Some landlords were also leaving the market as regulations around rentals became stricter.

Read the original sourced article from NZ Herald

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