A shift in Waterloo Region's rental market is making it harder to find a place to live.

The region says population growth is outpacing the number of affordable dwellings.

"Vacancy rates remain low and average market rents continue to climb," explains Ryan Pettipiere, housing services director for the region.

According to Pad Mapper, one-bedroom rental rates in Kitchener went up 15.9 per cent to about $1,300. Two bedroom rental rates rose 8.7 per cent to $1,500.

Like anything else in real estate, it's all about location.

"Areas that are closer to the universities, within walking distance, or looking towards uptown where they're closer to grocery stores are a little bit more expensive," says third-year student Josh Cox.

He says he's seen student rentals from anywhere from $400 to $1,000 per month.

Competition for available units is tight, but that may not be as much of a problem moving forward.

"As transportation continues to develop, as employers are moving into the region, housing needs to keep pace and provide affordable units for those individuals to live," Pettipiere explains.

Local housing companies say they're seeing an increasing mix of families, young people and students looking to continue their leases once they find the right place.