The average cost of renting a home in the Western Bay of Plenty is up from a year ago, latest figures show, and an expert says rents will continue to rise.
In Tauranga Central and Greerton, average rent for a three-bedroom house was up $12 from last year at $337, according to data obtained from the Ministry of Innovation, Business and Employment.
The figures are from the six months between April 1 to September 30 and are compared with the same period last year.
At the top end of the market in Mount Maunganui, average rent increased $15 to $385, and at the bottom end in Kaimai/Te Puke, rent increased by $10 to $295.
Ross Stanway, chief executive of Realty Services which operates Eves and Bayleys, said there was a "severe shortage" of rental properties in the Bay which could be put down to three main reasons.
Mr Stanway said supply and demand was one of the biggest problem along with when landlords fixing up properties or adding value like heat pumps and the general costs for landlords themselves have gone up.
"Rates and maintenance have increased for landlords just like every other home owner."
Connect Realty Property Managers owner Chris Jenkins said rent had increased by $10 or $20 a week in some instances during the past few weeks alone.
"This time last year we may have had an average of 10 or 12 properties available.
"At the moment, we've got two," she said.
Many people had moved back to the region after being overseas or had moved from other parts of the country, she said.
First-time buyers were also snapping up former rental properties, which had also driven rental prices up, she said.
Tauranga renter Aimee Williams, who has been living in her Merivale home for two years, had her rent put up $10 a few months ago but wasn't worried about the increase.
"I was only paying $275, so I really can't complain about it. I came from Whakatane, where I was paying $270 for a two-and-a-half bedroom house, with only a shower and no garage. Now I have a three-bedroom home with a shower, bath and garage."
Dan Lusby, Tauranga Rentals owner, said rising rents were due to the short supply of rental properties. "There is 30 per cent fewer properties on Trade Me compared with last year. So the numbers have dropped dramatically."
Mr Lusby said the rental shortage could be linked to renters knowing prices would rise, so they stayed put, and fewer houses were being built for renting.