10 Oct 2012

Christchurch rents soar amid property shortage

7:53 am on 10 October 2012

A shortage of houses to rent is adding to the woes of people in Christchurch.

The website Trade Me, which advertises most of the rental properties in the city, says tight supply has pushed up the cost of renting a home by 25% in the past year.

Trade Me's latest quarterly figures show the number of inquiries from potential tenants in the city rose 38% compared with the same period last year.

The online company says the problem is especially notable Linwood, St Albans, the CBD, Merivale and Riccarton.

In the rest of the country, demand for rental properties fell 4% and rents rose just 3%.

Trade Me property manager Brendan Skipper doesn't anticipate the shortage will ease in the immediate future.

He says the pressure is being caused by damaged houses being removed from the market, and also the demand from people moving into the region to help with rebuilding.

Community advocate Brenda Lowe-Johnson says she's concerned more and more people will end up on the street.

She says she knows one family who have recently been told their rent will rise by $150 a week, which they cannot afford.

The rental problem in Christchurch matches a purchasing one: house prices in Christchurch have surpassed levels reached before the global financial crisis, while the country's average remains below.