Wellington ended 2018 as the most expensive city in the country to rent, according to the December Trade Me Rental Price Index.
The median rent rose 5.8 per cent year-on-year to $565 per week in December, according to the index.
Head of Trade Me Rentals Aaron Clancy says rental prices typically dip in December as Kiwis head off on their summer holiday. That was not the case this year at some tenants started looking earlier to beat the rental rush.
"Tenants in the capital have become accustomed to the annual rental madness that hits the region around January and February, this year it appears many tried to beat the rush and secure a property before 2019 had even begun," Mr Clancy said.
Mr Clancy said with growing demand for rental properties in the Wellington region, and tight supply, he predicts rents in the capital will rise further.
"In December, the number of rental properties in Wellington fell 7 per cent on the year prior and we’ve seen a 15 per cent increase in the average number of inquiries."
Trade Me has already seeing large interest in rental properties across the first few weeks of 2019, Mr Clancy said.
"Tenants in the capital city can now expect to pay $780 more a year than those in Auckland but while rents in Wellington soared in December, Auckland remained stagnant at $550 per week."
The national median rent remains stable at $480, up 4.3 percent on the year prior, according to Trade Me.
The Auckland rental market also remained stable in the last month of 2018.
"Rents in Auckland city were unchanged on the year prior at $550 per week while the median weekly rent for the Auckland region was up 3.8 per cent year-on-year to match the city at $550."