Furnished vs unfurnished: A case study

Does it pay to furnish your rental property? We ran the numbers to find out.

  • Barfoot & Thompson manages in excess of 15,000 properties. Of those, around 800 are tenanted as furnished properties. 
  • Furnished properties earn a premium weekly rental, amounting to thousands of dollars per annum in additional income. 
  • The most popular furnished rentals are one bedroom properties. A quarter of all one bedroom properties we manage are furnished.
  • 40% of all apartments that we manage are furnished properties. 
  • Furnished properties are favoured by students and recent arrivals to Auckland, as they appreciate the ease of moving into a home already set up for their needs. 
  • Although three bedroom properties receive 25% more income than unfurnished, these only make up 2% of all our managed three bedroom properties.

Case study: Cost benefits of furnishing 

The majority of rental properties we manage are unfurnished, and the demand for furnished properties is very dependent on region. Central Auckland properties in particular see the highest demand for furnished properties.  

"There is absolutely a high demand for furnished properties in the central city," says Tracey Boyle, Property Manager at City branch. "The majority of tenants in our area are looking for furnished homes that they can move right into, and about 80% of the properties that Barfoot & Thompson City branch manages are furnished.

"This is reflective of the transient nature of a large number of Auckland CBD renters, which includes students and international work-visa holders. It can be more difficult to find tenants for properties in this area that are unfurnished."

To illustrate the potential cost benefits of furnishing a rental property, we ran the numbers using the cheapest prices from a nationwide chain of appliances and furniture for the most common items.

Although the pay-back time on the investment is relatively short at just over two years, it must be noted that the cost of ongoing repairs and replacements should be considered.