David Kneebone, General Manager Lodge City Rentals in Hamilton, says the company's vacancy rates in Hamilton city's rental market are sitting at 1.12% - the lowest he's seen in 15 years.
Lodge City Rentals has the largest portfolio of rental properties in Hamilton. It has a total of 3,288 rental properties on its books, which is around 20% of the city's 15,200 rental properties. The company also oversees around 40% of the city's managed property market.
"We're experiencing unprecedented, low vacancy rates. In my 15 years with Lodge, I've never seen the market so tight and believe our situation is indicative of the wider Hamilton market.
"There are many eager renters searching for the perfect home, with few properties to choose from. Well presented properties are being snapped up across the city with high demand starting to put upward pressure on rental rates," says Mr Kneebone.
He says Hamilton is traditionally a tight market, with vacancy rates normally sitting at around 3%. However, in the past three to four months he says the company has experienced a dramatic shift in demand.
Managing Director of Lodge Real Estate in Hamilton, Jeremy O'Rourke, says the current market does have an upside for some.
"The good news is that this tight rental situation creates significant opportunity for investors to get back into the market. We're starting to see a number of our experienced landlords seizing this opportunity by adding to their portfolios.
"Investors who have been out of the market for several years during the recession are starting to make their move. In the medium term, investors getting back into the market should help expand the number of rentals available and decrease pressure somewhat," outlines Mr O'Rourke.
David Kneebone says Hamilton city has always had a strong rental market. He estimates around 35% of residents rent, rather than own, the home they live in.
"During my time working in this business I've seen Hamilton's population become more transient, which attributes to residents' high demand for rentals. There are a lot more young professionals coming to the city and knowing they are only here for a year or two, which means they opt to rent rather than buy.
"In fact, the average tenancy in New Zealand is only around 9-10 months, although Lodge City Rentals' average tenancy is around 20 months," explains Mr Kneebone.
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