For a year and a half, Jason Conquer and Louise Heather have been looking to buy their first home in Auckland - but despite a number of offers and bids, they're still searching.
They first started looking for a property within their $450,000 mortgage approval in Henderson Heights, West Auckland.
But when houses in the area started selling above their price range, they expanded their search to Avondale, Onehunga, Sandringham, Mt Roskill, New Windsor, Blockhouse Bay, Te Atatu South and New Lynn.
"Basically everywhere in Auckland," said Mr Conquer, 38.
The construction supervisor and his fiancee have grown more frustrated as their bids and offers are beaten.
So far, they've placed bids at five auctions and made offers on three properties.
"There have been a few that we've turned up to and thought we might be able to bid, but the price keeps going up and up and up."
One of the problems at auctions is that vendors are unwilling to disclose the reserve price.
"We've turned up to auctions and the agents say, 'Yes, this will go for about 400', and then you find the reserve's set at 450 and it goes for a lot more. It just wastes your time."
Mr Conquer said their search for a home had always been tough but last winter it seemed like the properties "just dried up". He's worried the same thing will happen again this year.
"We just can't find a home for the right price. There's a lot out there that, personally in my view, aren't worth the money that people are asking, but the silly thing is that a lot of people are paying too much as well.
"Agents tell you that they're 'do-ups', and that's all very well but they're still asking top dollar for them."By Amelia Wade Email Amelia