13 Jul 2021

Cocoon House in Freemans Bay (pictured) rents for $800 + GST per hour.

As demand for Airbnb rentals continues to wane while international tourism is off limits, some savvy property owners are renting out their homes as film shoot locations for thousands of dollars a day.

The average weekly earnings of the 29,000 homes listed on Airbnb across the country amount to $679, with a daily average rate of $202, according to AirDNA data.

Meanwhile, an average-sized villa in Auckland can rent as a film shoot location for $1,500 per day and $2,500 per day for a larger property, according to Sharedspace Founder Matt Knight.

Sharedspace is a Kiwi-owned company that offers a platform for users to rent their properties as office spaces, event venues, storage units and film shoot locations.

REDnews spoke to three Aucklanders who have been renting out their homes to the film, TV and commercial advertising industries for lucrative day-rates and hourly-rates.


Lucy’s four-bedroom villa in Birkenhead

Inside Lucy's four-bedroom villa in Birkenhead

Lucy and her husband have been renting their North Shore villa to the film industry since 2018 and predominantly accept offers for TV advertisements.

“We live in the property with our two young kids, so we’re very selective and only take offers where it’s a one or two-day shoot and we can just clear out of the house.

“It’s worth moving out for two days because our day rate is $1,500, and we give the film crew the option of using the whole house or just the outside area.

“The crew come in and do the production when we’re not there. They usually move in new furniture for the shoot and put everything back where it was when they’re finished.

“It's been a great way to make extra cash, so we'll continue doing it,” she said.


Catherine’s five-bedroom home in Grey Lynn

Inside Catherine's new house in Cox's Bay

Catherine Tong, founder of Scandinavian skincare brand The Skin Wardrobe, rented out her five-bedroom Grey Lynn home to the film shoot industry for four years. She recently moved into a new architectural home in Cox’s Bay and has now listed this property to the industry.

“I mainly accept offers for TV commercials and catalogue photo shoots, which are full-day or half-day shoots because we live in the property. So, we only do a few shoots per year.

“My average day rate ranges from $1,200, up to $3,000 to $4,000, depending on the job.

“The Grey Lynn property was very high end, so I got a lot of enquiries, but I am very picky and only accept premium professional shoots.

“My advice to other people thinking of listing their properties for shoots is to understand your rates and negotiate that rate. Understand the value of your property. Ask for proof of the production company’s insurance and make sure you’re there at the beginning and end of the shoot to inspect any potential damages.

“Vet the company before you let them in, to make sure they’re legit,” she said.


Shelley Arrell, Event Sales Manager of Cocoon House in Freemans Bay

Cocoon House rents for $800 + GST per hour

Shelley manages Cocoon House for owner Rosa Tan – an art collector who bought the property and turned it into a professional venue for events and film shoots.

The luxury apartment has works from Picasso and Colin McCahon on the walls, a private whiskey collection and original furniture from the Ming Dynasty, attracting TV and film production companies.

The property has been rented as a shoot location venue since 2019.

“Australian TV series My Life is Murder, starring Lucy Lawless, filmed their second season here. The production company, Greenstone, filmed in the apartment for three days.

“We charge an hourly rate of $800 + GST and a regular shoot day for this production was 10- and three-quarter hours.

“I get a lot of film enquiries for this space, and we’ve grown in popularity organically with no marketing dollars spent. The hourly rate is the same price for any film or photo shoot, and I turn down a lot of budget film enquiries because they can’t afford it.

“We also host product launches and other events as a venue for hire.

“My advice to others looking to rent their property to the film industry is to qualify the enquiry with references and a contract that outlines their liability. With Cocoon House, production companies pay a bond and a deposit for security.

“The Greenstone production company crew were exceptional to work with,” she said.

Matt Knight launched the shoot location category on Sharedspace almost four years ago and says it has grown organically in popularity.

“At the end of 2020 we saw a lot of houses jump on there because people weren’t getting as much return from Airbnb due to Covid.

"New Zealand also has a lot of filming going on, with the likes of Netflix series and other movies being shot here.

“Plus, we’ve got local shows like Shortland Street needing places in Auckland, as well as TV commercials. Many of the film locations used to film The Apprentice were found on our site.

“Auckland is the most popular location, but we are nationwide. Auckland’s city fringe locations with good parking availability for the production company’s trucks and film gear work best. So, Grey Lynn, Parnell, Mt Eden and Remuera are popular locations.

“Some people use their properties for both Airbnb and shoot locations and manage the mix of bookings. Several Airbnb management companies also use us to promote their clients’ spaces as shoot locations.

“Our site is the medium between the property owner and production company, so we encourage people to do their own due diligence before accepting offers,” Knight said.


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