Growing demand for rental properties has pushed the median rental price for a house up $70 a week during the past five years.
Trade Me's February property index showed the median price of a Tauranga rental property increased from $320 per week in February 2010 to $370 last month.
When you have ruled out apartments, townhouses and units, the price increase was even more dramatic increasing from $330 a week in Tauranga in February 2010 to $400 a week last month - an increase of 21 per cent.
Tauranga Property Investors Association secretary Lindsay Richards said now was a great time for people to be buying investment properties.
"It's tough on the clients but there's plenty of jobs and it's just the ebbs and tides of economic forces. It increases the income which makes the return on investment more viable," he said.
"For an investor, now is the time to get in because there's so much interest it's going to impact on house prices more and more going up."
Inflation and the "current economic boom" meant more people were looking to buy or move into the region, meaning tenants were being kicked out as the new owners moved into the properties, Mr Richards said.
Tauranga Harcourts managing director Simon Martin agreed.
"There is certainly a demand for rental properties at the moment. Any good properties that are available for rent are getting fairly inundated with interest."
It was a good time to be a landlord as they usually had a good range of tenants to choose from," Mr Martin said.
He expected the rent asked for by landlords would only continue to go up during the year.
"Now is a good time to get into the rental market," he said.
Eves and Bayleys Real Estate chief executive Ross Stanway said he was not surprised to see rents increasing by more than $10 a year. "Unless demand slackens we may continue to see increases."
It was being balanced by a lot of new houses being built at The Lakes and Papamoa East, but there were still a lot of people shifting to Tauranga. "Demand is as high as its ever been and it's likely to stay at that level."
Connect Realty Property Managers owner Chris Jenkins said there was high demand for properties between $300 and $390 a week.
"We've had a lot of inquiries from out-of-towners - a few from Australia and the United Kingdom and quite a lot from Auckland and Wellington."
People were increasingly seeing the Bay as an attractive place to live, she said.
"There's more job opportunities for a lot of people than there used to be so they're able to make the move."
Head of Trade Me Property Nigel Jeffries said the rental market had tipped in favour of landlords.
"There is strong demand from tenants, but supply is tight.
"We've seen a noticeable fall in new rental properties coming onto the market since the start of the year, down 12 per cent across the country.
"That all adds up to an annual increase for renters."
Mum's hunt for home fruitless
For Tauranga resident Michelle Woolley, 41, the tough rental market was a nightmare.
At Christmas the solo mother was forced to move out of the rental property she and her 8-year-old daughter had been living in for six years as family of the landlord wanted to move in.
Since then she has been unable to secure a long-term rental despite looking almost every day and viewing about 30 homes. The two were initially forced to stay with Ms Woolley's mother where the three of them had to share one bedroom. Ms Woolley, who works part-time and studies part-time, has since managed to rent a holiday home on a short-term basis while she continues to look for somewhere permanent.
"I've been to quite a few open homes that are open for an hour and within the first 15 minutes there's 15 people showing up.
"I have really good references but I'm having no luck," she said.
"We don't really want to be living in a complete dump that's cold and damp. It's not just about pride. It's about health and that. And you don't want to be in a place where you're feeling unsafe every night."
Ms Woolley, who could afford to pay about $350 a week, felt she was repeatedly overlooked because she was a solo mother and landlords preferred working couples.
The situation was looking so dire Ms Woolley's parents had offered to help her buy a house and she had recently put an offer on a property.
"There's no way I would have been able to do it without them."