They're calling it a ripple.

But it feels more like a tsunami to some.

Whanganui's housing market is the hottest it's been for some time.

And while that's generally accepted to be a good thing, there are inevitable downsides.

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One can only imagine what those struggling to find a place to rent will think of today's page one story that reports those selling up are pocketing a cool $75,000 profit each.

Ouch.

It would appear mum and dad investors – among others – are exiting the rental scene while prices are good. The homes, still relatively cheap in New Zealand terms, are being swooped upon by mainly first home buyers – and that's great, the Kiwi dream alive and well.

And so the rental stock is shrinking. And the dream has become a nightmare for thousands of our families who can't raise a mortgage and who are struggling to afford high rents.

And they are the lucky ones. Many have yet to find a place to rent with as many as 40 prospective tenants vying for a single house, and others living off the generosity of family and friends in what we're told is commonly called couch surfing.

Tomorrow the Chronicle takes a closer look at what is going on and who's being affected – both good and bad. We speak to first-home buyers, agents, those trying to rent and to social services.

It's a complex web of cause and effect, and a fascinating marker of the times.

One person described what Whanganui is going through as a ripple from the over-heated Auckland and Wellington housing markets. Those who are squeezed out find their way here.

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But the question is where do those go who are being squeezed out here?