Auckland's skyrocketing rents leave many battling to find affordable housing

May 22, 2023

Auckland's skyrocketing rents leave many battling to find affordable housing

Auckland’s rental home prices have been on a steady incline since early the 1990s, far surpassing New Zealand’s average weekly rental costs. Image: Bronagh Balemi

Tenants are paying more in rent weekly than homeowners pay in mortgage, Stats NZ has found, and Aucklanders are struggling.

Renter Caitlin Norvill, 22, is struggling to find a place with her partner due to extortionate rental prices and is left living a two-hour commute away.

Despite searching for six months, the couple has failed to find an affordable and comfortable home, forcing them to live with their respective parents.

The average weekly rent for a three-bedroom house in Auckland is now over $760, making it one of the most expensive cities globally in which to rent.

Norvill says that with prices reaching “astronomical” levels, it's becoming increasingly difficult for renters to find homes that fit within their budgets.

"Most people don't want to flat with couples, which makes the market even slimmer," Norvill says.

"One-bedroom units that aren't studios (bed and kitchen in the same room) are not reasonably priced, so we can't live alone and are forced to flat. And there’s usually no parking available."

Hamilton renter Nikita Lorigan notes the stark contrast in rental prices between Auckland and Hamilton, where the average rent for a three-bedroom home is $453 per week.

“The cost of living over here is definitely more affordable, and it means we can put more money aside for everyday things like electricity, food, and petrol.

“[I wouldn't move to Auckland] knowing the prices you guys pay now!” she says.

National Organiser for Renters United Éimhín O’Shea has emphasised the need for action to address these issues.

“In a cost-of-living crisis, the negative effects of paying extortionate rent are certainly being felt and contribute to generational poverty, which comes at a huge cost to our communities.”

O’Shea suggests the lack of enforcement of regulations further exacerbates the problem. While laws and regulations exist to protect renters, O’Shea notes that enforcement is still lacking.

“The worst landlords are enabled to neglect their basic responsibilities and the housing crisis and associated high demand for rentals further enables and incentivises this exploitation.”

O’Shea suggests renters facing issues with their rental property should seek out advocates and resources in their community, such as Renters United or Aratohu Tenant Advocacy.

“Every single dollar you raise rent by is one less the renter has for food, clothing, transport. The choice to squeeze that extra 5 per cent of rent per year can have devastating effects."

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