Up, down, up, down – that’s par for the course for housing rents in Queens-town, letting agents say.
Average rent figures just out from the Department of Building and Housing show the Wakatipu is way more expensive than New Zealand as a whole – but the stats cover May-October and are inflated by higher rents from winter tenancies.
It’s a different story right now, rental agents say.
“This is traditionally when we have a bit of a slack period,” Doug MacGillivray of Resort Rentals says.
“A lot of people have left town and there’s quite a large amount of rental stock available – so there’s a little bit of negotiating going on with prices.
“I’d describe the market as tending to be softer,” MacGillivray says.
Hoamz To Rent manager Megan Cowie agrees.
“Rents are coming back – tenants can negotiate a lot more because there’s a huge supply of properties available.
“Owners have got to be a little more realistic, probably.”
She says it’s a tenant’s market right now because of a lack of people looking to rent – “that’s why you’ve got quite a few vacant rental properties”.
No worries – it’s just typical for this time of year here, Cowie says.
Queenstown Accommodation Centre owner Allan Baillie concurs – we’re in our low season.
Yet Baillie sees an upside for landlords. “There aren’t as many properties available as there were this time last year so I believe the rental market is stronger.”
Mountain Scene asked all three agents to pick where rent levels will be in, say, six months.
Baillie and Cowie are both bullish, with MacGillivray more cautious.
“In my opinion, there may be a tendency for some of our tradespeople to leave the area and therefore some of the more expensive properties may have to come back in the prices [landlords] can expect,” MacGillivray says.
Baillie: “Over the next six months, my gut feeling is that rents will go up [because of] expenses that landlords are incurring.”
Baillie particularly cites rates rises during the past three years, together with the recent GST increase and the upcoming removal of depreciation.
“So I can see rents definitely not dropping and more likely going the other way,” Baillie believes.
Cowie bases her forecast purely on timing.
“In the next six months, it will definitely pick up again because we’ll be going back into winter – and that’s when it all kicks off, from March on.”
While Cowie’s not necessarily picking rents to rise, she says: “I can see the market improving with more people looking to rent.”