A first-time buyer says it's "impossible to compete" against investors when trying to buy a home in Ireland, even in the second-hand market.
It's a process she described as one that "consumes so much of your life" - saying she has been searching for over six months and still doesn't expect to be in her own place by the end of 2021.
Housing has become a hot topic once again, amid soaring house prices and continued revelations around the role of investment funds buying up new homes to put on the rental market.
It has led to growing concerns that first-time buyers and other potential owner-occupiers are being outbid by these investors.
Amid growing pressure from the Opposition to act, the Government is set to announce tomorrow that up to 50% of new houses will be reserved for those buying their first home.
The plan also aims to tackle the actions of cuckoo funds by banning investors from bulk-buying estates that contain less than 50 houses per hectare.
On today's The Hard Shoulder, Nicola - a first-time buyer who received mortgage approval last August - outlined just how challenging it currently is to search for a house or apartment.
She explained: “I’m operating in the second-hand market: I had been looking at new builds, but to be honest anything within a 50km radius of Dublin is out of my budget.
"I’ve bid on about 12 properties - two-bed apartments - and I’ve been outbid on every occasion bar one by an investor.
“I did manage to go sale agreed last February, but the person that was selling the property had it as an investment. They pulled out three weeks later and decided to maintain it as an investment property.
“It’s just impossible to compete in the second-hand market as well.”
In one case, Nicola said she was the only bidder out of four who wanted to buy it as a home - with the other three looking to invest.
She said the process just gets "more and more frustrating" every time you're outbid.
She said: “It consumes so much of your life - you spend your mornings, your lunchtimes, your evenings searching Daft and cold-calling auctioneers.
“At the beginning of the year, I would have said by summertime I’d be in my own place. At least at the end of last year there were properties coming up.
“Now suitable properties are coming up so rarely… I don’t think I’ll have a property by the end of the year. I’ll keep trying, but I don’t think I will.”
She added that she has contacted several of her local representatives about her concerns and situation, but hasn’t even received an acknowledgement in response.