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NZ weekly rents rise 5.3% in November as annual increases slow

Median national housing rents rose at an annual pace of 5.3 percent in November, slowing from a month earlier as rental prices continue to plateau, according to online auction site Trade Me.

The national median rent was $400 a week across all property types in November, unchanged from October, and slowing from a peak annual increase of about 8 percent in September, Trade Me said. Christchurch rentals continued to drive the increase, up 5.9 percent at $450 a week from November 2013, while Auckland rentals were up a more modest 2.2 percent to $460, and Wellington increased 2.7 percent to $380.

"There's less price pressure on tenants and a healthy supply of properties for rent in many areas," Trade Me head of property Nigel Jeffries said. "Although the weekly rent is holding steady at $400 per week, the year-on-year increases are trending down."

Rental prices have increased at a more modest pace than house sale prices, which have caused the Reserve Bank some consternation as a lack of housing supply in Auckland and Christchurch has continued to drive up prices, prompting the central bank to keep restrictions on home lending with small deposits in place as a means to cool the market.

Trade Me's figures today show houses and townhouses are driving rental price growth, with a medium house - three or four bedrooms - up 9.8 percent at $450 a week from November 2013. Apartment rentals rose 2.6 percent to $390 a week, with Auckland apartment rents up 2.5 percent at $410.

Three of the country's 15 regions reported a decline in median rental prices, led by a 9.8 percent drop in rents at Manawatu/Wanganui to $230 a week, a 4 percent fall on the West Coast to $240 and a 1.6 percent decrease in Otago.