Wellington rent prices have "exploded" in recent months and people are now paying $45 more a week than in Auckland, with people searching outside the inner city in both locations looking for cheaper deals, according to Trade Me.
The capital's rental prices continued to grow in January with the average rent hitting an all-time high of $595 per week, according to the latest Trade Me Rental Price Index.
"It’s a simple supply and demand equation - the supply around Wellington is just not keeping up," Trade Me’s Head of Rentals Aaron Clancy said. "It’s even tougher at this time of year as students move back for the university year and ramp the demand up further."
It's not just those choosing to live in the inner-city experiencing increases. The average rent throughout the Wellington region jumped $30 from December to January and was up 10 per cent on last year to a record of $550 per week.
"This is a significant monthly increase and tenants are going to be feeling the pinch," Mr Clancy said.
In January, the number of Wellington rentals onsite dropped and total number of inquiries onsite noticeably increased for the region.
"As a result, we’re seeing heavy interest in Wellington rental listings within hours of appearing onsite," he said.
The most popular rental in New Zealand in January was a one-bedroom unit in Newtown which received nearly 150 inquiries in just two days on Trade Me.
Despite Wellington surpassing New Zealand's biggest city, Auckland renters would still be feeling the pinch, Mr Clancy said. The median rent in the region also reached a new record last month, up 2.8 per cent on the previous year to $555 a week.
January was a busy time for the Auckland rental market, with 15 per cent more inquiries than last year.
"We’re seeing a lot of tenants in Auckland look further afield than the central city in search of cheaper rents," he said.
The rest of the country's overall median rent rose 5.3 per cent in January to an all-time high of $495 per week.
Along with Auckland and Wellington, Waikato and Nelson/Tasman hit new highs after climbing 7.5 per cent to $430 and 4.9 per cent to $430 respectively.