A large Auckland agency has been acccused of price gouging after it hiked rents on vacant apartments ‘five percent a week – week on week’ in February.
Ray White agent Krister Samuel said demand for apartments was unprecedented in February.
The seasonal surge was caused by thousands of tertiary students and was exacerbated by a big rise in first home buyers snapping up apartments – shrinking the rental pool – he said.
‘We were getting 30 to 40 applicants turning up to a one or two-bedroom apartment and all with good credit history and testimonials and landlord references.
‘So the only response was to put the rent up’ Mr Samuel said.
‘For the landlords that we were representing and we represent about 1000 individual landlords in the city – we were putting the rent up about five percent a week – week on week for about six weeks.”
It meant that two bedroom units that started the year at $400 a week were being let for more than $500 by the end of the seasonal rush.
Raising the price was the best solution for tenants and landlords – Mr Samuel said.