Renters set to struggle for affordable homes in Marlborough as quake workers flock to region

People living in Marlborough will have a tough time finding a rental property as workers head to the region to rebuild quake-struck Kaikoura, a real estate agent has warned.

Blenheim-based senior property manager at Mark Stevenson First National Real Estate Mariette Knudsen said the area had an "acute shortage" of rental properties before the quake.

But as workers flock to rebuild Kaikoura, Ms Knudsen said she was concerned there will be even less rental properties to go around.

"When I took stock after the earthquake I thought, oh gosh, how are we going to meet the increased demand? And I don’t think we can," she said.

Ms Knudsen said the pre-quake numbers of rental properties were "very, very low".

"Normally we would have about 100 properties available including Kaikoura, but the last few months it's been hovering around 40," she said.

'Tight market'

The low number of properties has resulted in soaring rents.

New data has shown rent prices have jumped higher in Marlborough over the last year than anywhere else in the country.

Numbers released by Trade Me Property yesterday show rents in Marlborough increased 16.7 per cent over October last year.

That's compared to an average national rent increase of only 4.8 per cent.

Trade Me Property head of product Alistair Helm agreed that Marlborough was a "tight market" even before the quake struck.

"There's only 19 family homes for rent [on Trade Me] in the Marlborough region at the moment, that is low and it is low compared to previous years," Mr Helm said.

Ms Knudsen said she has already struggled to find rental properties for workers arriving to help after the earthquake.

"I have wineries telling me they're bringing in engineers and I'm struggling to find them homes," she said.

"I am worried about how we're going to accommodate all those people."

Ms Knudsen said as demand increased so would prices and that would affect low income households living in the region.

"They will struggle to find affordable accommodation. Marlborough is one of the lowest average paid provinces in New Zealand," she said.

Minister for Economic Development Steven Joyce said he expected increased investment in residential housing would help the situation.

He said the local council was also looking at ways to process building resource consents more quickly.

Renters set to struggle for affordable homes in Marlborough as quake workers flock to region
Trade Me Property data has revealed rent prices jumped higher in Marlborough than anywhere else in the country. Source: 1 NEWS