by Sinelle Fernandez
House rent prices have increased 50 per cent since 2012 in the Bay of Plenty, with the bulk of the rise in the last three years.
The Trade Me Property Rental Index for September showed the change, with experts saying the increase was partly due to Auckland's "crazy" property market in recent years.
The median rent in the Bay was up $25 since September 2016. It is currently sitting at $450, making it the second most expensive region with Wellington.
It is on par with the national median, which has remained steady for the tenth month in a row.
Head of Trade Me Property Nigel Jeffries said small houses of one to two bedrooms were drawing most interest.
"It now costs tenants almost $20000 a year to rent a one- to two-bedroom house."
While bigger houses with over five bedrooms reached a record high of $750 a week, medium-sized houses remained at $500 for the second month in a row.
Anton Jones, owner of First National Real Estate, said "it doesn't seem unreasonable" that the median rent price has increased.
"There are a lot of people looking for properties to rent as they can't afford to buy a home," he said, "[and] a lot of newer homes to rent as well, with all the new development around."
Mr Jones acknowledged Auckland's property market had sent people to the Bay of Plenty, especially to Tauranga.
"Tauranga is a very popular place to come to... there's a good lifestyle here," he said. "People do come in from Auckland and other cities as it is generally more affordable here, houses are more value for money and traffic is not as much as in Auckland."
Greg Purcell of Ray White agreed. "At the end of the day, people want to live here. It's that simple".
Yet the combination of increasing rent prices and movement to the Bay mean it's been a hard situation on tenants.
"Supply is not meeting demand," said Mr Purcell. "It's been a long time since there's been an over- or even a steady supply to meet the demand.
"It's been really hard for people to find what they need, especially for families looking for three- to four-bedroom houses".
All three said new government policies could have an impact on the market and thought it best to wait and see.
"There has been some nervousness about what policies are going to come out with a coalition," said Mr Jones.
"It's just talk at this stage. You just don't know what will happen now," said Mr Purcell.