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Max Martin

A severe rental shortage in Tauranga has created “a lottery” type situation with one property receiving 100 inquiries – and the situation was only likely to get worse, experts warn.

Figures from Trade Me show the numbers of rentals listed for the city dropped 30 per cent in 2014 while the median price had increased from $320 per week in February 2010 to $370 last month – an increase of 21 per cent.

Experts the Bay of Plenty Times Weekend spoke to as part of a continuing investigation into Tauranga’s rental shortage and rising costs included Head of Trade Me Property Nigel Jeffries, who said the trend appeared to be continuing as rental listings over the past three months were 12 per cent lower than the previous year.

Yesterday there were 251 properties listed on the site for rent in Tauranga with 128 listed at $400 per week or less, 94 of those had a rental value of $350 or less with only 49 properties in the up to $300 range.

The cheapest was a $60 cabin that had a minimal six-month rental period but needed to be moved on to a property and was described as an ideal sleepout, office or playroom. There was also a house truck for $200 suitable for a single person or couple located at an orchard, or a one-bedroom bedsit in Papamoa for $150. had 217 listings starting from $220 with one bookabach advertised at $7700 per week in prime downtown Mount Maunganui.

Tauranga Harcourts franchise owner Max Martin said one of its properties had attracted 100 replies, which his property manager described as “diabolical”.

“Another said she got 25 replies and withdrew it. There is a severe shortage in town and it has just become a lottery for people and extremely difficult.”

Auckland buyers were also coming into the market to buy rentals, he said, as the returns were good.

Tauranga Rentals owner Dan Lusby said it received dozens of applicants per property and supply and demand meant prices “are still certainly going up”.

“People have to have somewhere to live so they are doing without other things unfortunately. Market rules apply alright if there is low supply and big demand the prices will go up.”

Eves principal Craig Hilton said demand was outstripping supply and some good prospective tenants were getting lost in the sheer numbers. They were missing out purely because so many were applying and he urged people to act immediately when they saw a house that suited their needs rather than thinking about it for a day or two.

He said people renting between house sales were adding to the pressure on rentals, including people arriving from Auckland and Christchurch. Korean and Chinese families were also either buying or renting for the years that the children were being educated in Tauranga schools. Mum came with the kids while dad stayed with his job at home.

Tauranga Budget Advisory Service manager Diane Bruin said it had clients who have extended families living in garages, which was often not short-term.

A private rent could use from 50 to 65 per cent of an average budget and there were few properties available, she said.

Work and Income social development commissioner Mike Bryant said it offered a range of assistance to those needing help with accommodation costs.

“We’re here to help. Accommodation supplement is available for those who meet the relevant criteria to assist with accommodation costs regardless of whether they are receiving a benefit or not. Depending on a person’s situation, we may also be able to help with a recoverable bond payment grant.”

In order to qualify for financial assistance a person must meet an income and asset test, he said.

– Bay of Plenty Times, Carmen Hall.