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Newspapers paint pictures of families having to live in caravans, garages and cars because of the shortage in Christchurch property for rent and astronomical rent rises; Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee maintains that Christchurch is in a reasonable position; and some landlords complain they can’t tenant their rentals. What’s true? How bad is Christchurch's housing crisis really? Bayleys’ Christchurch Property Managers, who have a relationship with both tenants and landlords, shed some light on the situation.
“To cut the long short, the truth lies somewhere in the middle,” says Bayleys Property Manager Lisa Iliffe. “Yes, there is a shortage of rentals under $300/week, but there are more than 3 times as many homes for rent listed above the $300 mark. That said, we are seeing the situation improve, with the number of available properties climbing across the board.”
The same applies to rental prices. While, for example, rents for 3-bedroom houses have increased by $40 compared to the previous year in areas such as Sydenham and Woolston, others have only increased by $20, which isn’t terribly far off the $10 average national increase for 3-bedroom properties. Areas with the smallest increases include Avonhead, St. Albans, Cashmere, Ashburton, Burwood, Avondale and New Brighton. Gerry Brownlee says: “My view is that we are in a reasonable position […] Rents have risen in Christchurch but if you compare them to the rest of the country, it's hard to say we are massively out of kilter.”
However, this doesn’t mean that some hotspots haven’t been hit hard. Rentals in Rolleston, for example have increased by about 10% to 20% with $400-properties having crept up to $480 or even $500/week in the last 6 months. In Fendalton, Merivale and Christchurch Central prices have gone up by at least $50.
However, there is a silver lining: Brownlee said that more than 100 Housing NZ homes would be back in commission within 4 weeks, EQC has just settled $23 million with the council to repair its 282 social housing units and another temporary housing village is on the way.
With more and more repair works getting underway, the situation is improving slowly but steadily. In the meantime finding a good Christchurch rental is all about compromise, especially when it comes to location.
To give you an idea of rental prices across the board, we have put together some numbers from the Real Estate Institute of NZ:
Suburbs with average rent price of $300 to $350 for a 3-bedroom house: Ashburton, Cashmere, Kaiapoi, Rangiora, Sydenham, Woolston, Linwood, Bromley, Burwood, Avondale, New Brighton
Suburbs with average rent price of $351 to $400 for a 3-bedroom house: Broomfield to Halswell, Riccarton, Addington, Hoon Hay, St. Albans, Redwood, Avonhead
Suburbs with average rent price of above $400 for a 3-bedroom house: Central, Fendalton, Merivale