Rotorua's census data has confirmed the city's maths is not stacking up when it comes to housing as its population growth outstrips the number of new homes being created.
But city leaders say they have plans to improve the problem and at least one iwi-based construction company has confirmed it plans to come to Rotorua, with dreams of building hundreds of homes in the coming decade.
Census 2018 data, released yesterday, shows the growth in people living in Rotorua during the past five years has outstripped the growth in new dwellings.
Between 2013 and 2018 an extra 6597 people moved to the Rotorua district - increasing to 71,877 people from 65,280 in 2013 (up 10.1 per cent).
However, since 2013 the number of new private homes has only increased by 1017 to 28,464 dwellings (up 3.7 per cent).
Rotorua's population growth is a turnaround from the last census when there was a decrease of 621 people recorded between 2006 and 2013.
The city's fastest-growing suburbs were Ngāpuna and Mangakākāhi Central.
Ngāpuna's population grew from 285 in 2013 to 357 last year, while Mangakākāhi Central grew from 84 to 105.
Census 2018 also revealed the Bay of Plenty region as a whole was the second-fastest-growing region in New Zealand.
The region grew 15.2 per cent to 308,499, pipped only by Northland, up 18.1 per cent in five years.
Participation in the census, taken in March 2018, was lower than expected and data releases were significantly delayed while Stats NZ tried to fill the gaps with other government data.
Jason Campbell from Tribal Construction said he saw the plight of Rotorua's homelessness when Tiny Deane, who runs the city's Night Shelter, appeared on television.
"I stalked him on Facebook and told him I wanted to help and the following week I was down there having meetings with him and others."
Campbell said Tribal Construction was a relatively new company made up of about 12 architects, builders and engineers who were already working in Hawke's Bay and Northland to build energy-efficient homes.
"Initially we wanted to build houses for iwi but it's morphed into building houses for the homeless. The key for me is land, and iwi have land."
He said if they could come up with a model that meant homes could be built in packs - therefore reducing the number of consents and inspections needed - it would speed up the building process.
He said he would be holding meetings with Rotorua iwi leaders in the coming months to talk plans for the coming years. In the short term, they planned to build four homes on Bennetts Rd by the end of the year.
"But Rotorua needs 400 homes, not four."
Deane said while population growth was great for the city, there was "nowhere for them to go", especially with so many homes in the city being used as Airbnb accommodation or bed and breakfasts.
Elmer Peiffer, who runs Love Soup that helps feed the homeless in Rotorua, said land and housing was the only fix for homelessness.
"Airbnbs are causing a big decline in housing availability so we need a housing programme."
He said ideally there would be flat-pack homes built where the homeless could learn to be good tenants to eventually put them into longer-term rentals.
Rotorua MP Todd McClay said while it was great people were seeing the value of Rotorua, housing was not keeping up.
He said it was disappointing the Government pulled the pin on Ngongotahā's special housing development that would have provided 80 new homes. He said it was canned without being replaced with another solution.
He said the Rotorua Lakes Council also needed to remove "blockages" to speed up consenting processes.
However, mayor Steve Chadwick said the council was doing all it could.
"We still have 500 housing lots consented and builders can go in there and get building."
She said the census confirmed the growth the council had planned for in terms of its infrastructure.
New Zealand First MP Fletcher Tabuteau from Rotorua said there were great housing projects under way and about to happen in Rotorua.
"We definitely need more homes, so it's great to see progress is being made. But we need to make this easier for property developers, for example by redesigning the Resource Management Act. Couple this positive direction with a Government committed to long-term infrastructure funding including in our schools, our hospitals, our roads and our rail and the prospects are really good locally."
Rotorua Economic Development chief executive Michelle Templer said it was great to see strong population growth for Rotorua.
"A growing population contributes to the economy, bringing new skills and ideas into the district. I'm pleased to see that more people are recognising the lifestyle benefits that Rotorua offers and are making the decision to move here."
However, she said housing was needed.
"A growing population also signals the need for additional housing supply, and it's important that we work together as a city to address that challenge."
Waiariki MP Tamati Coffey said population had outraced housing for some time.
"What I'm glad about is that we finally have a Government that acknowledges the housing crisis exists and has shifted our housing efforts into top gear in order to ensure everyone in our community has a warm, dry, home.
"This Government promised 1600 new state houses nationwide - we've already built over 2206."
He said 42 new builds were set for Rotorua, 36 for Whakatāne and more than 275 for the Bay of Plenty region.
"We realise there is much more mahi to do and that's why we now have not one, but four ministers dedicated to housing to strengthen our results."
Great move coming to Rotorua
Charlie Harvey had not set foot in Rotorua before moving here but a love of the outdoors, a good job and glowing references from his friends were enough to seal the deal.
The 26-year-old moved in March last year and he has not regretted his decision.
The criminal lawyer secured a job with a local firm and during his downtime has enjoyed his love of the outdoors, including mountain biking and tramping.
He is just one of nearly 6600 more people to be living in Rotorua since the 2013 Census.
"Obviously being a smaller community it's easier to get around. There is no commuting and all the problems that come with living in a massive city."
The only downside had been building a social circle given there were fewer people in Rotorua around his age, he said.
"You have to work harder to make those connections but for now I'm really happy here."
Harvey said Rotorua came highly recommended by his friends.
"They painted a very nice picture and so far it's met all my expectations."
Rotorua's 2018 Census key points
2018 total population (usually resident): 71,877
Increase from 2013: 6597 people, 10.1 per cent
Total private dwellings in 2018: 28,464
Increase from 2013: 1017 dwellings, 3.7 per cent
Total occupied private dwellings in 2018: 25,236
Increase from 2013: 852, 3.5 per cent
Total unoccupied private dwellings in 2018: 3228
Increase from 2013: 165, 5.4 per cent
Bay of Plenty