House-hunting students find novel ways in Wellington

House-hunting students find novel ways in Wellington

Charlie Dreaver

Wellington, January 16, 2019

Wellington students desperate to find rentals are getting creative to try and find housing, while others with rentals are struggling to make rent.

But experts have warned it will only get worse.

Housing shortage is hurting students in Wellington (Picture by Real Estate Institute, Wellington)

Disparate students

Massey University student Harry Simpson (19) and his three friends have applied to dozens of rental properties over the past few months.

“In terms of the flats that we have been looking at, there is quite a range from the very bad to family home type of places; we are not fussed on what we are looking for, honestly we are looking for just anything at this point,” he said.

The group originally wanted to spend $800 a week, but despite upping that to $850, they were still having trouble.

Letterbox messages

So, Mr Simpson thought outside the box and came up with the idea to post messages in letterboxes.

“We tried it as a last-ditch effort to get the word out, we dropped about 50 flyers around some places around our University to try and spread the word,” he said.

The flyer Mr Simpson and his friends distributed (Photo: RNZ)

However, RNZ were the first to get in contact with the group.

Mr Simpson said that he would love to hear from anyone who may have a rental available and he could be contacted at

He and his friends are not alone.

Mounting numbers

Massey Wellington Students’ Association President Jamie-Lee Bracken said that much of the problems handled by their advocacy service this year related to tenancy.

“Most of our hardship grants have all gone to rent and even then it doesn’t cover enough, but all we can give is $500,” she said.

Health affected

Ms Bracken said that the situation had become so bad it was affecting student health.

“Our health and counselling services have had a significant increase of students coming to them extremely distressed because they can’t afford to pay the rent, they can’t afford to find a place and they’re worried they will be homeless.

“We do actually have a few students that we know of who are homeless, because they can’t find a place,” she said.

The Problem

Real Estate Institute of New Zealand Chief Executive Bindi Norwell said that housing supplies were lacking in the Wellington region.

REINZ CEO Bindi Norwell Photo: supplied

“That has put pressure on not only house prices but on the rental market as well that’s becoming quite competitive,” she said.

Trade Me Rentals Head Aaron Clancy said that the demand was only going to increase.

“We will definitely see it heating right up through January and February; that has been the sign over the past two or three years. 2018 was difficult for tenants finding a property and we are not seeing that ease up at all.

“The early signs are that there are already queues out the door for rentals,” he said.

Mr Clancy said that rents were at an all-time high in Wellington in January 2018, but he expected them to be even higher this year.

Charlie Dreaver is a Reporter at Radio New Zealand. Indian Newslink has published the above Report and Picture under a Special Agreement with

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