Home buyers in small-town markets are being frustrated as well-funded investors beat them to the post, snapping up more and more of the few properties listed for sale there.

The Wall Street Journal relates the frustration of Dominic Pollock from Bethlehem, Pa., who said he and his fiance have so far viewed more than 50 houses in the city and made offers for at least 20 in the last nine months. And yet, not a single offer was accepted, as they found themselves outbid again and again, despite offering more than the asking price on most occasions.

Just last week the couple bid $20,500 above the list price of one home, also waiving the right to a home inspection to make their offer stand out. But it wasn’t enough, and theirs was one of 13 other bids on the home that were rejected.

Pollack’s fiance Brooke Terplan said that frustration over their inability to buy a home before they got married had left her in tears.

“A couple people…

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