Tauranga's median weekly rent is now $140 more than it was five years ago.
This means Tauranga renters are paying an estimated $7280 more a year than in 2012, according to latest Trade Me data.
The Trade Me Property Rental Index for September shows the median weekly rent has increased about 42 per cent from $330 in September 2012 to $470 last month, which was $7280 more a year than five years ago.
In the Bay of Plenty region, rents had risen 50 per cent since 2012 to $450, making it the second most expensive place to live after Auckland and is on a level with Wellington.
Experts say the increase was partly due to Auckland's "crazy" property market.
One Tauranga tenant, who only wanted to be identified as Denise, said she had been in her property for about 20 years and had only seen a $160 increase over that time, which she was thankful for.
She said if her landlord had increased her rent $140 in the past five years she would likely have had to find somewhere smaller to live.
Bayleys and Eves Realty Waikato/Bay of Plenty/Taranaki chief operating officer Heath Young said rental prices had increased due to several factors.
"Over the past five years and especially in the past two to three years Tauranga, Mount, Papamoa has had large numbers of people moving into the area which has put pressure on rental stock.
"This causes prices to rise as there becomes greater demand for a limited number of properties."
He said QV figures had showed in the past four years since September 2013, Tauranga City, which included Tauranga, Mount and Papamoa, had experienced an average 37 per cent in property prices. The rental growth was 42 per cent.
First National Real Estate owner Anton Jones says "it doesn't seem unreasonable" the median rental price had increased.
"There are a lot of people looking for properties to rent as they can't afford to buy a home, [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."
Greg Purcell of Ray White agreed.
"At the end of the day, people want to live here. It's that simple.
"Supply is not meeting demand. It's been a long time since there's been an over- or even a steady supply to meet the demand.
Head of Trade Me property Nigel Jeffries said small houses of one to two bedrooms were drawing most interest.
"It now costs tenants almost $20,000 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.
Feeling the crunch
Tauranga is Dominique Petera's home but she is worried rising rents may force her to move.
Ms Petera came to Tauranga from Whakatane in 2011, paying $340 a week for her three-bedroom home. Six years later Ms Petera remains in the same property paying $370, and has been told the rent will be increasing to $400.
While she acknowledged her landlord had been pretty good about not increasing her rent too much in recent years, Ms Petera said if rents continued to increase she was unlikely to be able to afford to continue to live in Tauranga.
As a single mum of three children, Ms Petera was used to strict budgets and no stranger to going without to ensure her bills were paid.
"I just don't know how the same house can be $100 more."
Fellow renter Michelle Maru said her rent had been increased $30 in nearly three years.
While she acknowledged her increases had not been as hefty as others, it was still a matter of going without basic food items.
"That extra $30 could be a butter, bread and milk.
"What can I do? I don't like it but I just have to go with it.
"I have to keep paying because I've got to have a roof over my and my children's head," Miss Maru said.
Median rental prices in Tauranga:
Median rental prices in the Bay of Plenty: