An unseasonably warm winter is being cited as the reason for a boom in the Auckland rental market that has pushed weekly prices for three-bedroom home up in 25 out of 30 suburbs.
Some families are so stretched they are looking at bigger houses to share with other families, accepting properties in poor condition or even considering moving out of town.
Renters in the city are paying up to $60 a week more than they were at the beginning of the year, according to figures from property management company Crockers.
Real Estate Institute chief executive Helen O'Sullivan said house hunters were vying for top properties within good school zones and close to the city.
"Things are generally quiet during winter, but the weather has been so mild that there is a lot more mobility."
Crockers has analysed the average of six-month rolling median prices of new bonds received each month - supplied by the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand and the Department of Building and Housing - for one, two, three and four-bedroom homes.
In March, the Herald reported that the cost of renting a three-bedroom home in central Auckland suburbs was levelling or falling while rents had gone up in nearly all suburbs in Manukau City and on the North Shore.
But the city rents are picking up again with sharp annual rises in some places like Remuera, which has jumped from $623 to $676, or 9 per cent, since June last year.
East Coast Bays and Te Atatu jumped by 8 per cent and 7 per cent.
The Ponsonby, St Mary's Bay and Herne Bay area remained the most expensive area at $760 a week, an increase of 5 per cent. It was followed by Remuera ($676) and Grey Lynn/Westmere ($671).
The cheapest areas were Pukekohe ($360), Papakura ($369), and Manukau/Manurewa ($383).
Rents fell in only four areas - City Bays (Mission Bay to St Heliers), Devonport, Pt Chevalier/Mt Albert and Mt Eden (Kingsland, Balmoral). But the areas still had average rents at the high end of the scale for the city.
Rent stayed at $627 in the city centre, which included the suburbs of Parnell, Grafton and Newton.
Lisa Loader, of South Star Rentals, which has worked with Housing New Zealand to house people in South Auckland, said people were looking at properties that had another dwelling on it or an extra room they could rent out so they could share the costs.
"We're getting a lot more people now that just simply can't afford to be looking at a house on their own. Your average person that has a couple of children ... just can't afford to rent a house that is suitable for their family. So they've looking at something bigger and perhaps sharing with another family, which is quite difficult because a lot of landlords will say, 'We don't want two families in the house because of the wear and tear."'
She said Work and Income beneficiaries did not appear to be moving as much because it was "too frightening for them to leave the place that they're at and try and get more money to pay the extra rent".