Hawke's Bay is running away with New Zealand's highest annual growth rate in house price values and for buyers this hot market is burdened with what is being labelled as a "chronic shortage supply".
Data from the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand shows the housing shortage is impacting on the fast rise of median house prices in Hawke's Bay.
The latest REINZ House Price Index figures for January revealed that Hawke's Bay and Gisborne posted a 30.7 per cent annual growth rate increase in house prices.
Property Brokers' Hawke's Bay regional manager Joe Snee said there's been a lack of stock over the past few months with a lot of demand, which is contributing to the price hike.
"I did a tender this week with 12 offers. There are lots of buyers which is creating the competition for more houses."
Snee said in January, sale stock in Hastings and Havelock was considerably lower compared with the same time last year.
In Hastings in the first month of this year there were 71 active listings versus 120 in January 2020.
Havelock North had 18 active listings versus 31 last year.
However, the estate agent said Napier's stock levels have actually bounced back a bit from December.
"There was 100 active listings versus 99 at the same time last year."
Snee said the quantity of people looking to buy houses in the region is what isn't normal.
"With our properties you're getting 40 to 50 people through open homes and between 10 and 16 offers on most houses, which hasn't always been the case. In years gone by if you got two offers you were lucky."
But, Snee added simply "if you need a house, you need a house".
"It's a competitive time to buy and people are showing that in the prices they are paying."
Someone who knows the fierce house buying competition well is Napier midwife Rochelle Butler.
Butler and her partner Dean Meuli started looking for a home to accommodate their blended family in September and viewed more than 100 properties.
They ended up securing a home by Christmas, but she said it was a gruelling and almost soul-destroying time.
"We went off on our search thinking that a three-bedroom home with a garage, en-suite and space for a sleepout wasn't a big ask, most homes have these things."
The midwife said they hit the papers, real estate agents and Trade Me properties, finding houses that they liked and suited them - but there were no prices.
"Everything was for tender, or by negotiation, or auction," she said.
"The process was really daunting because you've got so many you're looking at and have no idea what the price range is."
She said when she did find out how much houses were going for they seemed very high and were pressured into offering on houses straight after they'd first viewed the properties.
"We would see the house and have to put an offer in for the next business day."
Butler said she and her partner were very lucky to find and secure their new Napier home before it was even on the open market -although, it wasn't without a fight and their bank manager getting more on their pre-approval.
"Our new home is beyond our expectations. We had heaps of work to do on our dream home before we were able to live in it, but the bones of the house and all it comes with now is ours."
Butler's advice for those still looking in Hawke's Bay's low stocked but high buyer market is to keep soldiering on.
"It's so hard and after your third or fourth decline on your offers it's really disheartening, but you've got to keep going as it will be worth it when you get that sold sign and walk through that house – which is yours."
Butler added that having a good agent and bank manager is key, as well as keeping constant contact.
"If it all gets too much take a breath, have a couple days off from looking and then get back on it."