Young people living in regional New Zealand have a better chance of owning their own home than their counterparts in the bigger centres, according to new figures.
Mortgage data showed 4.2 per cent of people with mortgages in Auckland were aged under 30 as were 4.4 per cent in Wellington.
That compared to 8.3 per cent in Southland, 7.6 per cent on the West Coast, 6.5 per cent in Northland and 7.5 per cent in Manawatu-Whanganui.
The data has been provided by Credit Simple - a website which calculates credit ratings and offers credit deals with banks, telcos or energy companies.
Credit Simple chief executive David Scognamiglio said the data clearly showed young Southlanders were the best placed in New Zealand to get a foot on the property ladder.
"The idea that salaries and job prospects are only good in major centres such as Auckland and Wellington deserves much closer scrutiny," Scognamiglio said.
Statistics on the median weekly income around the country from the June quarter showed Southland was at $903 per week, while the South Island median was $880 and Auckland was $983.
"This data suggests an obvious question: should young New Zealanders start thinking outside the Auckland box when it comes to jobs and buying property?"
LJ Hooker Whangarei chief executive Paul Beazley said KiwiSaver, low interest rates and affordable homes were contributing to under-30s looking to buy in Northland.
KiwiSaver house price caps recently increased to $400,000, so plenty of properties in Whangarei were accessible to them, he said.
"If you went to Auckland and bought a house for $400,000, you're going to get something down a right-of-way in a back street that probably needs a lot of work.
"Whereas, you come to Whangarei and buy a $400,000 home, you're going to get a reasonably good home," Beazley said.
With interest rates the way they were, people in the under-30 category were reasonably safe investing in their own home rather than paying rent, he said.
"Whangarei's still very affordable for first home buyers and for under-30s who've got a good cashflow and get the deposit together. It's a viable option for them to buy rather than rent."
Further south, Property Brokers Whanganui branch manager Philip Kubiak said more young people were noticeably buying homes in the city.
"It's been building as the market's picked up over the past 12 to 18 months, maybe even going back 24 months, you've just seen that trend developing."
Young people had been teaming up with mortgage brokers and banks to get things organised. Those in their mid to late 20s had also been able to access their KiwiSaver funds to buy a home, Kubiak said.
"It still holds true that owning your own home, for many Kiwis, is a dream that they want to realise and the affordability in the provinces makes that more of a reality than in the bigger centres."
Buyers coming to the provinces from the main centres was also a developing trend over a wide age group, Kubiak said.
Figures released by property valuation website Myvalocity for September show the number of new residential mortgage registrations declined by 21 per cent.
Auckland saw the largest reduction in the number of new mortgage registrations, down 26.2 per cent on the same time last year.
The North Island's metro centres were also down 15.6 per cent compared to September 2015.
Meanwhile, the most popular search among those aged 24-44 from Auckland and Wellington is Manawatu-Wanganui, according to realestate.co.nz.
Views for properties in the Manawatu-Wanganui region increased by 50 per cent over the past year, while searches for houses in Auckland has dropped by 9.6 per cent.