Commuters being able to afford high rents in Whangārei by working in Auckland for a few days a week is driving up prices and means fewer rental properties are available in the Northland town.
Figures from Trade Me show the median rent in Northland dipped slightly— from $400 in May to $395 in June— but it was yet to peak.
In terms of yearly comparison, the median rent went up 4.9 per cent - from $380 to $395 - between June last year and the same month this year.
The Whangārei suburb of Morningside continues to be the most sought-after rental area, with one house for rent there attracting 56 inquiries in the first two days of June.
Second was a house in Gillingham Rd in Kamo with 52 inquiries and one in Korau Rd in Tikipunga was third with 38 inquiries over the same period.
Head of Trade Me Property, Nigel Jeffries, said the working class, particularly those living closer to central Auckland, were doing quite a trade off to save rent by looking further afield.
Much like people travelling to Auckland from Hamilton and those commuting by trains for more than an hour each day in Wellington, he said Northland appealed to those who could work a few days out of the region.
For those working on the North Shore it meant a commute could be about 90 minutes, less time than if they lived in West Auckland and with far less traffic to negotiate.
"Transport routes are getting better and rents are cheaper in Northland and they're getting paid Auckland wages and they pay Northland rents so it's quite a nice equation.
"People are working in Whangārei for two to three days and a similar number of days in Auckland. If they are getting company cars, then commuting to and from Auckland becomes easier and cheaper.
"That's certainly been a trend in the last couple of years as people escape high rents (in Auckland), although that arrangement works against locals who can't find suitable and affordable rental accommodation," he said.
In the last couple of years, he said demand for both rental properties and homes for sale in Northland continued to outstrip supply and that would continue to be the trend for some time.
He said new builds in Northland would not solve the rental problem as they would likely be occupied by home owners rather than rented out.
Jeffries said median rents dipped in some winter months but that was unlikely this year.
All districts in Northland experienced a fall in median rents between May and June except Kaipara that saw an increase from $400 to $430.
In the Far North, the median rent decreased from $370 to $360.
People staying longer in rental properties are further exacerbating the demand.
The median rent in Northland in January was $385, dropping slightly to $380 in February before rising to $400 in April and staying the same in May.