Rising rents in Tauranga are forcing some young people in to move in with their parents.
Tauranga rents are the third highest in the country and have jumped 10 per cent in one year - despite property managers reporting a softening market.
Figures from the latest Trade Me Property Rental Index show the average median rent had jumped to $460 per week in March compared to $440 one year ago, and only Auckland and Wellington cost more, at $510 and $499 respectively.
In the past year, rents in the Bay rose 10 per cent, adding over $2000 to a tenant's annual bill, Trade Me head of property Nigel Jeffries said.
The hike in rents is forcing some young people to return home.
Jason Edgecombe and his wife and daughter moved in with her mother more than a year ago after several price hikes at their "pretty average" rental house in Judea.
"The first price hike was $10; then the next was $15.
"We left because we couldn't afford it - my wife had just had our first baby, and she couldn't work, and we struggled to make rent.
"We were having to borrow it from her mother to pay every week."
They were faced with a decision: stay in the slowly increasing house, which they felt was not value for money, or move in with the mother-in-law.
"We had had a few problems with the landlord who was based overseas...if something broke it took ages to get anyone to come look at it and communicating was hard."
Now, they paid $300 in rent to his mother-in-law - helping her pay her mortgage.
"She's great, and we all get along but you want your own space and expect kids to be moved out before 30."
Mr Edgecombe was self-employed, running youth groups and consulting with businesses on working with youths and made "a reasonable income".
He said the problem was housing shouldn't be a profit-driven business because shelter was a basic human need.
"We need more locally or state-owned housing with a set rate - council will charge this much, and rent would be reasonable in accordance to the living wage."
Maungatapu single mother Mikayla Lowe also moved home with her son after rent became too much.
"I moved back in with my mum to help her with finances as rent is crazy expensive."
She, her son, mother and three siblings and a flatmate lived in a 4-bedroom house, costing $530 a week. The rent increased by $50 a few months back.
"It's very stressful, trying to keep a roof over my head for my family. And to keep their bellies full too."
Rentals BOP owner Gary Prentice said some families were also taking on boarders to help subsidise the rent.
"A couple might ask to have someone else in a bedroom to help pay the high rent.
''But landlords don't particularly like it because it's getting into a flatmate sharing situation, but it's very difficult if they want top dollar for their houses, how else are they going to get it?''
Tauranga Rentals owner Dan Lusby said people needed to budget for rent increases which could be $20 per week, every six months although the market had softened.
''People were expecting a bit too much, and some of our properties have been sitting a while until we dropped the price. The market rules.''
At the moment he said more listings were available although they usually received 20 to 30 applicants for every rental.
Tauranga Budget Advisory Service manager Diane Bruin said income to accommodation cost had always been high in the city while wages lagged.
That often meant something else had to give like food or they looked at other ways to generate income including taking on a boarder, she said.
Clients said rents were ''crippling'', she said.
''With increased rents, this decreases the amount available to pay debt and puts them into default of their commitments.''
Tauranga Property Investors Association vice-president Simon Darmody said long-term investors had been increasing rents to recoup costs of increased rates, insurance, and compliance and maintenance costs.
''There were a few years here in Tauranga where rents remained flat while costs were rising significantly. Landlords have been able to lift rents now that the market has turned around, and that is providing some relief.''
''But we are really only catching up from many years of flat rental prices.''
Not everyone wanted to own a home and by making it harder for investors to buy properties, ultimately means fewer rental properties available for tenants to choose from, he said.
''For tenants, it is already hard to find the right house in Tauranga, and LVR restrictions and other changes do make it harder. This can mean more people living in a property or living further away and may even turn people off relocating to Tauranga.''
Yesterday on Trade Me there were 300 properties for rent in Tauranga and Western Bay.