The average asking price in the Taranaki region hit a record high of more than $400,000, driven by fewer homes in the market and growing demand.

The competition has created a tough market for those wanting to take a first step on the property ladder, Western First National real estate consultant in Taranaki Jamie Gemmell told Fairfax Media. “When these first home buyers are looking at a house, there might also be an investor in the mix or a second-home buyer with more behind them,” Gemmell said.

The number of homes on the market dropped 16% to 204 listings, while more people rushed to view the limited supply, pushing up demand by around 28%. This places Taranaki in the top three regions of New Zealand in terms of demand, the Fairfax article said.

According to Gemmell, competitive buyers laying down unconditional offers did not help either.

For a seller, conditional offers are less appealing Stephanie Murray, of Stephanie Murray Mortgages, told Fairfax Media. For first home buyers “in a competitive situation, it's not ideal,” she said.

“So the first home buyers are missing out because they can't afford unconditional offers.”

Some first home buyers have had to be creative and seek help from family in order to afford a deposit, Gemmell said.

The report said the unreachable property ladders in Auckland, which saw the average house price climb to $1.23 million, further pressured the Taranaki market as people from outside the region encroach in.

“I'm seeing a lot of Auckland, Australian and even Wellington, mostly young couples, buying here because it's more affordable,” Gemmell said.