Jose De La Macorra's shoulders hang heavy a day after buying an Auckland investment property.
"I feel like I've been robbed," he says.
He paid $899,000 for a three-bedroom Glendowie unit in Auckland's east - an investment he had hoped would secure his 21-year-old daughter's future.
The problem was he paid $50,000 more than he could afford, "losing himself" in the pressure-cooker auction environment, he said.
Real estate agency Barfoot and Thompson said its staff ran auctions to high professional standards and they served as transparent markets benefiting buyers and sellers.
But Macorra said he felt "pushed and squeezed" after standing up to leave when he reached his maximum price, only for an agent to hurry across and encourage him to stay.
That left him in the sights of the auctioneer.
"I was weak, and the man with the hammer kept looking and making jokes, pushing the price up - $1000 more, $1000 more."
De La Macorra had been hunting for an investment property because the market had boomed so much, he felt his children would never be able to afford to buy without help.
Having paid off his family home and with Auckland's median price hitting $1.1 million in February, after leaping $205,000 in 12 months, he was now determined to leave behind two houses, one for each of his children.
"Even if you get a good job and you get paid $1000 a week - how are you going to pay for a house," he said.
"The housing market doesn't reflect the economy of my daughter, or that of any daughter.
"To get $200,000 or $400,000 for a deposit, God, it is going to take them a lifetime."
It was even worse for families on $500 to $600 a week with children, he said.
He arrived in New Zealand 20 years ago with just $1000 and had worked hard.
But he looked at the woman who served him his morning coffee each day, knowing she would likely never own her own house.
"She works just as hard as I work, but I was maybe just a bit luckier - and it is sad because I'm not an a***hole," he said.
De La Macorra said there was a damaging unfairness growing in New Zealand.
"The whole system - I'm not saying Barfoot and Thompson - but the whole auction system is built to push the prices up and up and up - not letting you freely to decide," he said.
However, Barfoot and Thompson auction manager Campbell Dunoon said it was people, not auctions that pushed house prices up.
He said auctions could benefit buyers and sellers because they were open and transparent, and the bidding helped everyone understand what each home's market value was.
"You can see you the competition happening in front of you and that gives you the chance to make an informed decision," he said.
Alternately, with price-by-negotiation deals, buyers typically didn't know what other offers buyers were putting forward and with what conditions attached, Dunoon said.
Barfoot and Thompson also made sure all its bidders were informed before going to auction. Its contract clearly stated buyers could withdraw a bid at any time up until the point a property was sold, he said.
Dunoon said his auctioneers were "not fast, rapid guys as you may have seen elsewhere".
"We try and make you feel comfortable because, I'll be honest, if you are comfortable then you are more likely to bid for a property."
But De La Macorra said he didn't feel comfortable.
He had known the agent who sat beside him for a long time and told her before the auction the maximum price he could afford to pay, he said.
During the auction, she sat beside him, telling him "he was almost there, almost there" - encouragement he took to mean that he was close to the reserve price at which point the owner would sell.
However, when he reached his limit at $850,000, De La Macorra stood up and walked to the back of the room to leave.
The agent hurried after him, saying he should stay to see what price the home sold for.
But with De La Macorra being one of only two bidders left in the hunt, the auctioneer immediately turned to him asking if he wanted to bid.
De La Macorra ended up paying $899,000 for the home. And he said he wasn't even happy with the quality of it.
That extra $50,000 was a big burden when staring down the barrel of another 30 years of mortgage payments, he said.
'You are vulnerable, you are like a little baby at that moment even though you might be like 50 or 80 years old," he said.
"Because you are surrounded by all these people that are pushing you towards paying the most - they squeeze you."