Next week, Lara Stephens and Chris Kenny will celebrate their youngest daughter's first birthday.
But instead of being caught up in the preparations and enjoying what should be a happy time in the young couple's lives, they are left grappling with housing insecurity.
Like so many other families priced out of the housing market, they are struggling to find a home to rent in the local area after receiving notice to vacate.
"We have applied for every rental that has come up but we're up against a lot of people," said Ms Stephens. "We have nowhere to go."
"Chris's parents' house is overcrowded, my mum lives in a tiny two bedroom and is about to move away, and my sister, there's four of them in a four bedroom house already, and the emergency accommodation here is not the best place. It's the last place I'll be taking my kids."
With two children under three, Ms Stephens wanted the same as any parent in her position - a house with a safe backyard for her girls to play.
"I love cooking, I really want a big kitchen, that's something I always look for in a house. But really just something safe for the kids."
She also wanted to stay in the area where she has lived for seven years, to be close to her partner's work and day care for her oldest daughter.
"My daughter, after waiting two years on the waitlist for day care, has just been put in one day per week," she said.
Ms Stephens said her family was meant to vacate by May 6, but even though she had applied for properties since January and budgeted up to $600 per week for rent, there's nothing available.
Understandably, she's frustrated by the process.
"They will give us an extension if we have a rental to move into, but if we don't have a rental to move into, they won't."
Local agent Ben Bate, principal at Ben Bate Real Estate, said he hadn't seen a situation like this in his 34 years of working in real estate.
"It's not just Narooma. It's the whole Far South Coast," he said.
"It's not just Narooma. It's the whole Far South Coast."- Ben Bate, principal Ben Bate Real Estate.
Multiple factors have impacted the local housing market, from the demand for rentals following the 2020 Black Summer bushfires to an increase in local paramedics applying for houses when Narooma's ambulance station jumped from eight staff to 25, said Mr Bate.
But he said the biggest impact had been the COVID housing boom, which brought a lot of people from cities to purchase holiday homes on the South Coast and drove prices up.
"Property prices appreciated so much, we got to the stage where investors started to drop out of the market. They weren't getting a proportionate return on their investment anymore," said Mr Bate.
Fewer investors meant fewer houses available for long term rental.
"We've had so few rentals available over the last six to 12 months," said Mr Bate.
"I'm buggered if I know what the solution is. It is a huge problem for people, especially those on lower incomes or welfare who can't afford to spend more than $200-$300 per week on rent."
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