First-time buyers are still able to get on the property ladder in Hawke's Bay - if they look hard enough and in the right place.

That is despite the region's record house prices.

New homeowner Donna McCutcheon bought a three-bedroom property in Hastings inside two months.

"I had the finances pre-approved before I started looking. Then I probably looked at half a dozen houses but half of those sold before I had a chance.

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"Most of it was out of my price range but it's definitely do-able if you don't have too high standards.

"I live in Napier but I couldn't afford that side so I had to start looking in Hastings."

Although she missed out of several properties, the key was to remain positive.

"It is challenging in this market but you just have to be patient, keep looking and never give up."


Miss McCutcheon advised other first-time buyers to be "realistic".

"You can't necessarily have the biggest and the best to begin with."