A real estate group says Christchurch earthquake refugees are shrinking the number of empty rental properties available around the country.
TradeMe website had reported a glut of rental properties but First National New Zealand says a survey of 40 of its residential property management offices suggests the empty properties are filling fairly rapidly with people leaving Christchurch.
They are renting homes in other parts of the South Island as well as in the lower North Island, in Tauranga, Whangarei and parts of Auckland.
First National general manager John Steward says the national vacancy rate of 4.8% for the March quarter compares with 2.4% for the same period last year.
Mr Steward says the rise is in part because of the higher vacancy numbers in Christchurch due to the number of properties that are not habitable.