Young people are taking advantage of affordable homes and reduced investor activity in Rotorua, according to local real estate agents.
Mortgage data shows 4.4 per cent of people with mortgages in the Bay of Plenty region were aged under 30. That compared with 4.2 per cent in Auckland and 4.4 per cent in Wellington.
The data has been provided by Credit Simple - a website which calculates credit ratings and offers credit deals with banks, telcos or energy companies.
LJ Hooker Rotorua principal Malcolm Forsyth said a lot of young people were looking to buy in Rotorua because the area was "extremely affordable".
Reserve Bank restrictions had also reduced the number of investors and opened things up for first-home buyers.
"We've noticed more and more first-home buyers as opposed to investors that are buying the properties, which is really good to see, because it still is a bit of a dream for a lot of New Zealanders to get into their first home," said Mr Forsyth.
Statistics New Zealand figures show median weekly earnings were up 1.7 per cent to $843 in the Bay of Plenty in the year to the June 2016 quarter.
Mr Forsyth said increasing incomes would have played a part in young people getting into their first homes.
Long-term savings plans and government incentives were other factors.
"There's more confidence out there too, in the market, in the region, in jobs, everything. So for a lot of people it's a very good time and the right time to look at buying their first home."
First National principal Ann Crossley agreed Rotorua was an affordable place to buy when incomes and house prices were taken into account.
Parents were often helping young people get the required deposit together. KiwiSaver funds and HomeStart grants were also being used, said Ms Crossley.
She said the company had a first-home buyers' information evening planned for mid-November.
"Because the market's so active, I think there's quite lot of pressure on young people and it's obviously a really foreign thing to do."
Ross Stanway, chief executive of Eves and Bayleys Real Estate, said there was an increase in young people, particularly from Auckland, buying properties in the wider region.
There was also a trend toward parents in the baby boomer age group buying properties on behalf of their young adult children.
Sometimes those children were overseas but planned to return so their parents were helping them get a stake in the market, said Mr Stanway.
Credit Simple figures showed the average mortgage debt for under-30s in the Bay of Plenty was $268,253 and the average for over-30s was $258,122.
Credit Simple chief executive David Scognamiglio said the idea that salaries and job prospects were only good in major centres "deserves much closer scrutiny".