The Premier Colin Barnett says rental prices have emerged as the biggest cost-of-living pressure facing West Australians.

Figures from Australian Property Monitors show the cost of renting a house in Perth rose by $70 a week over the past year, while the cost for a unit rose by $50.

The group's senior economist Andrew Wilson says while the resources boom is driving population growth, a lack of new housing development in recent years has made the problem worse.

"We're now starting to see the full impact of that resources boom in terms of eastern state surge in people looking for work and that is putting a lot of pressure on the housing market in Perth," he said.

"We're also seeing prices growth starting to emerge in the Perth housing market."

Mr Barnett says while he believes people have adjusted to higher household charges, rental prices are hurting families and young people.

"I think people have realised that electricity prices have gone up all around Australia by similar amounts," he said.

"They also understand that during the time of the previous Labor government, prices were frozen when costs continued to rise.

"So there was a big hit to household bills, people understand that had to happen, I didn't enjoy it, nobody paying electricity bills would have enjoyed it but that is now past us."

He says the focus now is on rental prices.

"I think the biggest pressure point is on those families who are renting accommodation, or young people renting accommodation," he said.

"That is where the crunch point is, that's the reality.

"Hopefully we're past the worst stage of that, I'm not saying that rental prices will come down but I think we've got through that, a lot more development and we'll be saying some things during the election campaign about trying to alleviate some of the pressure in the rental market.

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