How Have Rents Behaved in NZ Since the GFC?

How Have Rents Behaved in NZ Since the GFC?

Around and post the Global Financial Collapse (GFC) of 2008-09 the property market experienced a serious jolt globally resulting in a flat and in some parts a depreciating property market in terms of property values and rents. ​


We have complied some data from various sources to show trends in rental values in regions around New Zealand. The results are interesting and also comforting. Post the GFC most markets held their ground and stayed stagnant for a while prior to rising again to their current levels.


We compare Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington and Dunedin as four of the major cities and also look at towns and smaller cities in your area to understand the after affect of the GFC and how long did it take for rents to rise again.


The statistics are based on a 3-bedroom house and median rents. We have excluded Christchurch because of the major earthquake in 2011 which skews the stats, because of this event.


Auckland – 3 Bed House – Median Rental Price Jan 2008 to May 2018

  • Glenfield (North Shore) – Red
  • Avondale (West) – Yellow
  • Glen Innes/Mt Wellington (Central) – Green
  • Otara (South) – Blue



With Auckland being the biggest city in New Zealand and seeing the results of the GFC on the region, rents stayed stagnant for over two years (2008 through to start of 2010).  From mid-2010 through to the start of 2011 rents started to gradually increase.


By 2010 there was still fear in the market but around that time, experienced investors started to make conclusions that the market was ready to raise again and bounce back stronger than ever.


Around this topic its pertinent to quote from Warren Buffett, he said, “Be fearful when others are greedy and be greedy when others are fearful.  In 2010 most investors were still fearful, and those who were greedy (so to speak) reaped massive rewards through buying property at the bottom of the market and holding long term.


Hamilton – 3 Bed House – Median Rental Price Jan 2010 to May 2018

  • Hamilton North – Red
  • Hamilton West – Yellow
  • Hamilton East – Green


After the GFC, rents in Hamilton started to increase off the back of Auckland, but it did take time for Hamilton a year after Auckland to start seeing those rents increases.



Wellington – 3 Bed House – Median Rental Price Jan 2010 to May 2018

  • Karori – Red
  • Brooklyn / Newton – Yellow
  • Kilbirnie / Island Bay – Green

Rents increased a little slower for Wellington with rents steadily raising in late 2013 into 2014 but not fully taking off until end of 2015 and start of 2016.



Dunedin – 3 Bed House – Median Rental Price Jan 2010 to May 2018

  • Dunedin Hills – Red
  • Inland Dunedin – Yellow
  • South Dunedin/Waverly – Green

We have excluded Dunedin central and the University area in this graph. Rents in the city stayed stagnant for a few years until the mid to late 2012 where rental increases commenced.




Summary for the Major Cities
Auckland started first with rent rises after the GFC in mid to late 2010 going into 2011, so around 2-3 years after.  However, Hamilton was a year behind Auckland with rents starting to increase around 2012. Dunedin and Wellington didn’t start to get going until late 2012/13.  Even then, Wellington rents didn’t really increase until the end of 2015 start of 2016.  ​


Below are statistics looking at the provincial towns and cities around NZ to see how their behaviours stak up against the bigger cities. 


Far North – 3 Bed House – Median Rental Price Jan 2010 to May 2018

  • Whangarei –  Yellow
  • Kaitaia & Far North – Red


Rental values stayed relatively flat until early to mid-2015, that’s six years post the GFC. Rents have risen since then and have been steadily increasing.



Bay of Plenty – 3 Bed House – Median Rental Price Jan 2010 to May 2018

  • Tauranga – Red
  • Whakatane – Yellow
  • Rotorua – Green


Rental values in Bay of Plenty seemed to keep steady and even increase a little bit through 2011 to 2014 then values increased from the start of 2015. Check out Tauranga!



Hawkes Bay – 3 Bed House – Median Rental Price Jan 2010 to May 2018

  • Gisborne – Red
  • Napier Central – Yellow
  • Hastings (Flaxmere not included) – Green

Rental values have been stagnant in the Hawkes Bay area since the GFC, however since 2015 rents have increased steadily especially in Napier.



South West North Island – 3 Bed House – Median Rental Price Jan 2010 to May 2018

  • New Plymouth – Red
  • Wanganui – Yellow
  • Palmerston North Central – Green

In these areas New Plymouth has had rental rises since mid-2012, similar to Wanganui however Palmerston North got off to a late start and hasn’t really increased much until mid to late 2014.



North and West Coast of South Island – 3 Bed House – Median Rental Price Jan 2010 to May 2018

  • Blenheim – Red
  • Nelson Central – Yellow
  • West Coast – Green

Again, we see both Blenheim and Nelson flat through to 2014. Rents start rising however in the West Coast early 2011-12 (maybe some families left the larger cities and went to find cheap property to rent or live in, the Pike River mine disaster could play a role in the data shown).  An interesting finding however is that since 2013, rents have been on the downward slide, but have come back somewhat in 2018.



South of the South Island– 3 Bed House – Median Rental Price Jan 2010 to May 2018

  • Ashburton – Red
  • Timaru – Yellow
  • Invercargill – Green


This is very interesting as the rents went up in May of 2011 for Ashburton and Timaru which was the result of the Christchurch earthquake.  Not the result of the GFC like other regions around the country.  Because there was no or little accommodation in Christchurch, tenants and home owners went to the closest towns and cities for accommodation which pushed rents up.

Invercargill however kept inline with the rest of the country with rents increasing from around end of 2014 start of 2015.



Summary for Provincial Towns and Cities
From 2014 through to 2015 seems to be the average we see across these areas for rents to start to rise after the GFC.  This means that it took between 5-7 years for rents to start rising above the market peak of 2007 and the GFC dive of 2008. Some smaller cities had a slight deviant from others.


Overall Summary
Auckland being the biggest city kicked things off with rents rising within 2-3 years of the GFC.  Hamilton got the flow on affect one year later with Dunedin and Wellington receiving rental increases between 4-6 years after the GFC.  The same affect we see with property prices going up through Auckland then spreading across the country.


With small cities and towns rental prices are always going to take longer to recover and landlords start to increase rents.  The difference between Auckland seeing rental increases and the provincial cities increasing rents is 3-4 years after a massive event like the GFC.  Which means according to these statistics is that it takes around 5-7 years for provincial areas to see rental increases.


In the event of a turmoil like what the GFC was, the above statistics assist in giving us an idea (depending on what city and or town your property is situated in) on how long you might have to wait until rents start to rise again after such an event.


One of the key points to draw from this information is that even though we had New Zealand’s biggest economy disruption arguably in the last 100 years, rental prices still came out of the ashes and have risen again. Auckland may have the quickest come back of all but all areas we have covered in this piece have done well considering the severity of the GFC.


This is the sort of stability that assists landlords through a downturn and the upside will take care of itself overtime.

A big thankyou to for supplying the data.


    Related posts

    Property Market Update

    It’s been a strange year for property prices across the country. Depending on where you live or...

    Continue reading

    Which Bay of Plenty areas have performed the best with rents since 2003

    Bay of Plenty is an attractive area due to its climate, beaches, tourism and lakes.  This makes it...

    Continue reading

    We review rents across five South Island towns & regions since 2003

    The South Island is one area that nature is more important than the hustle and bustle of city...

    Continue reading

    Subscribe to our knowledge centre

    Join thousands of others to get the latest news for FREE