Queenstown rental prices fall 28% amid Covid-19 border closures

The Queenstown-Lakes District's rental prices have seen its largest annual percentage drop in seven years, falling by 28 per cent on June last year, as the Covid-19 border closures saw landlords scramble to find tenants.

Source: 1 NEWS

The median weekly rent dropped $210 in June compared to the same time last year, from $760 to $550, according to online auction site Trade Me's latest rental price index, released today. 

It comes after the tourist town saw a median weekly rent of $800 in January 2020, Trade Me Property spokesperson Aaron Clancy said today in a statement.

"With our borders closed, towns like Queenstown-Lakes, which rely on tourists and visitors, have been hit hard by Covid-19 and now we’re seeing this impact the rental market. As a result, we’ve seen a lot of landlords drop the price of their rentals dramatically in an attempt to lure tenants," Mr Clancy said.

"This is a far cry from what we were seeing pre-Covid, when demand was through the roof and rental prices were climbing rapidly. For the first time in a long time, Queenstown-Lakes is a tenants' market, with falling rental prices coupled with the increase in available properties."

The number of properties available to rent in the region also rose 152 per cent on June 2019.

The national median weekly rental price was $510 last month, marking a two per cent increase on June 2019, when rentals averaged $500 per week.

Wanaka also saw the median weekly rent drop 13.5 per cent year-on-year to $550, Mr Clancy said. Central Otago also saw a 12 per cent drop to $435. 

Meanwhile, the median weekly rent in Auckland and Wellington followed the national trend, with both regions seeing a two per cent rise in June compared to last year.

However, the month of June also saw a solid increase in demand across all regions nationwide compared to last year, with the number of inquiries on rental listings up by 16 per cent.

Hawke's Bay (up 34 per cent from last year), Otago (up 35 per cent) and the West Coast (up 73 per cent) saw the most inquiries of any region, according to the index. 

"With a rising number of Kiwis moving home from overseas as a result of this pandemic and far fewer leaving the country for their OE or new jobs, we’re still seeing a very strong rental market in many parts of the country," he said.

While the number of available rentals was up in most regions, the Bay of Plenty, Gisborne, Hawke's Bay, Marlborough and Northland all saw an annual drop.