Rising rents in Mahurangi squeeze out working families

Nicole Banks

The average rental in Warkworth is $540 a week.
The average rental in Warkworth is $540 a week.

Warkworth property managers are concerned there are not enough rental properties to accommodate the area’s growing workforce.

They add that working families are being priced out of the rental market by rapidly rising rents.

Bayleys Warkworth property manager Shona Mackinnon says her data shows that over the last two quarters, rental prices in north Rodney have risen 21 per cent.

“That’s the first time I have seen Rodney on par with rises around the rest of the country,” Ms Mackinnon says.

Despite this, she is getting around 50 enquiries for each of her online listings and some properties are rented within 36 hours of being listed.

“At least once a fortnight I hear someone saying they are living in a tent or a car. People ring up in tears.”

Ray White Warkworth property manager Nicole Banks says there have been steep rental rises for mid-range homes.

She says 18 months ago, a three-bedroom family home in Warkworth could be found for under $500, but now they are going for up to $590.

At the start of this year, the cheapest three-bedroom house in Warkworth was $570 a week.

“That doesn’t leave a lot of money for a family on a single income,” Nicole says.

She says Ray White Warkworth had an average of 10 properties for rent each month last year, but in February it had just two.

“Tenants are staying in their homes because they know how hard it is to find a new rental,” Ms Banks says.

She recently listed a property in Wellsford, and before photos had even gone up online, 10 people had organised to view the house.

Both property managers agree that finding a home is difficult for anyone who looks less than ideal on paper.

Ms Mackinnon says she gets hundreds of enquiries from local school leavers looking for flats, but landlords prefer professional couples.

People with dogs are having to produce pet CVs with pictures and references from the vet and past landlords in order to be considered.

The reason for demand rapidly outstripping supply is working couples increasingly moving from Auckland and rental properties being purchased by owner-occupiers.

Ms Banks says one encouraging sign is that over the last two weeks, she has received more calls from investors doing their research about buying land packages to build investment rentals.

Ms Mackinnon says increasingly baches and AirBnB houses are becoming available as rentals on the market, as owners realise how much they stand
to gain.

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