Christchurch rental properties

June 21st, 2012 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

The Press reports:

Where are all the desperate tenants?

That is the question some landlords are asking as they struggle to rent their houses.

While a shortage of cheaper homes in the city is attracting attention, mid-priced and dearer houses are sitting empty.

Mark Marcijasz got “not one call” when he advertised a five-bedroom Huntsbury house, complete with five heat pumps, for short-term rental at $450 a week.

“I’m totally flabbergasted that the phone didn’t ring once,” he said.

“It’s a nice house. There’s some external damage, but it’s perfectly liveable and warm.

“We’re not trying to price-gouge. We just thought it would see people through the rest of the winter.”

In nearby Cashmere, Michael de Lautour took nearly three months to find tenants for a three-bedroom, north-facing house and had to reduce the asking rent from $480 to $430 to secure a tenant last week.

“People talk about rents going up but we’re actually worse off. It was easier to rent before the earthquakes,” he said.

De Lautour’s house has exterior damage, but he said it was in good condition inside and had been repaired and had a heat pump.

He said there was a “total over-supply” of homes in some parts of the market, and the Government’s $330 subsidy for displaced families had created a threshold, especially for tenants still paying a mortgage on their damaged homes. Another landlord, David Cary, has been advertising a three-bedroom Sumner house for $385 a week, with no takers.

Having prices drop because they can not get tenants is good – the market working.

Despite having a double garage and a heat pump, being located near a school and with a lack of quake damage, the house has sat vacant for more than five weeks.

“I’m not trying to make a killing. I thought it would be ideal for someone and there’d be no dramas renting it,” Cary said.

“I’ve never had this problem in the years I’ve had rentals; certainly not for this length of time.”

Browsing listings on the TradeMe website reveals the imbalance in the market, with 693 Christchurch homes advertised yesterday at rents of over $300 a week and only 190 at under $300 a week. Some dearer homes have been listed for several months.

Property manager Agnes White, of Rosevear Wing and Associates, said the rental market was mixed, with shortages of cheaper homes, furnished houses and homes in some school zones.

Otherwise, there were “plenty of houses out there.”

Some tenants had ruled out the east side of town because of cracked houses and neighbourhoods perceived as damaged.

That is what I suspected. That there is not necessarily a shortage of affordable housing in Christchurch as a whole, but rather in certain areas. Now that is a very different proposition.

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12 Responses to “Christchurch rental properties”

  1. Graeme Edgeler (3,289 comments) says:

    On the utility of heat pumps in a Christchurch winter, I could not recommend more highly people listening to this from nine to noon yesterday:

    http://podcast.radionz.co.nz/ntn/ntn-20120620-1149-science_with_david_haywood-048.mp3

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  2. Bevan (3,924 comments) says:

    Wow. I can’t believe people still expect to be able to rent a 3 bedroom house for $300/wk in a city anymore…

    I haven’t paid that kind of rent since 1998!

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  3. alephnaught (18 comments) says:

    I have quite a number of friends who are students or low income, and certainly finding affordable accomodation has been difficult for them – while a single person used to be able to find a decent room in a Riccarton flat for $90/wk you’d now be looking at >$100 for even the tiniest grottiest room.

    My partner and I both work full-time so when we moved recently we were looking for something a couple of steps up on the rung from that, but we found it was much the same story all over town. You *could* get a reasonably priced place in areas with moderate earthquake damage, but it weren’t pretty.

    I guess my point is that while there are still places available, the price vs. quality ratio has gone up considerably and even desperate people have standards.

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  4. Mike Readman (365 comments) says:

    Well, there must be a shortage in Heathcote! Look at this, $700 a week for a house with an RV of $308k!

    http://www.trademe.co.nz/property/residential/to-rent/auction-485614178.htm

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  5. dc (144 comments) says:

    The first guy was only offering a very short-term unfurnished rental (down to 8 weeks now, here is the listing) so it’s not surprising no-one wanted to move for that length of time, especially for $450 a week. The second guy I just don’t believe, $480 for a three-bedroom would have been very unlikely before the quakes, even very nice properties struggled to get more than $120 a room. So, he was trying to price-gouge but failed.

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  6. Viking2 (11,553 comments) says:

    And who would want to move into a quake prone zone.?
    Really people are moving out still. Still a lot coming to Tauranga.

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  7. salt (135 comments) says:

    It’s funny though, Christchurch has always had weirdly low rent rates. Significantly cheaper than Dunedin, for example; and much much cheaper than Wellington and Auckland. I remember moving back to chch in 2007 and getting a whole flat for $130pw – I could hardly believe it. I was paying not too much less than that for a room(!) in a student flat in Dunedin, and now I pay more than half that again for a room in a flat in Wellington.

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  8. callsign30 (2 comments) says:

    Don’t repost his crap David. Until you have experienced it first hand you will not really understand what’s happening here. It is bullshit what’s going on here now. It’s a fucking disgrace. 95% of landlords are exploiting the situation at a time when mortgage rates are at their lowest ever.

    Your supply and demand theory is fine except this has been a national fucking calamity in this cold cold city. Something must be done. Despair is an understatement for the average wage earner who depends on affordable rental accommodation here. Fuck your trademe stats. Fuck the land lords and fuck the politicians. What’s happening here is shitty … and it’s getting worse . The only reason those motherfuckers struggle to rent their properties is … they are grossly overpriced and put of the reach of ordinary kiwis. Don’t even get us started on power prices, those arse bandits are going for maximum profit at the worst possible time.

    If you are a landlord reading this post and you know in your heart you are taking advantage of the situation – suck my big dick!

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  9. Colville (2,298 comments) says:

    callsign and your lil dick…

    Do you expect rental rates to follow mortgage rates? so when mortgages pop back up to 8% (as they will) you will be happy with a 45% increase in rents?

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  10. jims_whare (403 comments) says:

    THe common thread of all those house is the installation of heat pumps – they are the biggest croc since global warming was dreamt up……people know it.

    If they said there was a grunty log burner in the houses they probably would have had dozens lining up for them

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  11. YesWeDid (1,050 comments) says:

    You like using Trademe DPF, so why don’t you do a little research?

    The property is here http://www.trademe.co.nz/property/residential/to-rent/auction-486613270.htm

    The house has been classified as a rebuild, the drapes have been removed from the upstairs bedrooms and downstairs lounge, three of the bedrooms only have underlay on the floors and it’s only available for 8 weeks.

    Sounds like luxury and only $450 per week!!

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  12. KevinH (1,236 comments) says:

    No doubt some gouging is occurring in the rental market however in the case of this property it would appear to be reasonably priced for the quality property that it is.
    Regretably the people most affected by the shortage of low priced rentals are people in low income groups who have few options to relocate elsewhere. Therefore additional assistance should be made available through WINZ via an accomodation supplement to assist the families affected, if that is not being done presently.
    One comment I would make is that Christchurch rentals are pricey considering the state of play in the earthquake ravaged zone that it is, and that the risk factor of living in a quake zone should be reflected in rental values which in my view should be lower than they are at present.

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