Earlier this year, we saw a flurry of activity in the rental market. As with every January and February, when students are arriving in the city – we saw an increase in enquiries, pushing demand higher and exhausting the supply of rental stock. There were stories upon stories of tenants not being able to even find a flat, let alone make it along to viewings.

So, what has changed since then?

After the peak of student activity this summer– there were still plenty of media-hyped stories about supply issues, increasing rents and the drastic changes to legislation. However, since then we have seen less activity, and it seems many people are choosing to stay put. During the winter period we often see the activity slow down, and currently we are only seeing a couple of applications a week for any property. Perhaps the sudden interest in the rental market and the news stories of people not finding homes has deterred people from moving at all.

While we are still seeing an increase in rents compared to last year, the market is definitely cooling. Not only are more people choosing to stay put, Wellingtonians are extending their reach by exploring suburbs north of the city.

"After the median weekly rent in Wellington City peaked earlier in the year, we've seen a steady increase in demand in what were traditionally quieter areas like Lower and Upper Hutt which is pushing prices in the Hutt Valley north.” Nigel Jefferies from Trade Me property, has seen that Wellingtonians are opting for a longer commute in order to save on rent.

As we head into winter, it will be interesting to see how the market behaves. I believe we may see things slow down even more.

Nick Phillips