When Martin and Leanne Lambert realised they could never afford to buy a house in their home city in Auckland, they set about doing some research.

And Rotorua came out tops.

"We did the process of working out what we wanted out of where we lived."

Martin, an osteopath, and Leanne, who works in a funeral home, needed to live somewhere where their careers could develop and their 4-year-old son, Ben, could go to school and make friends.


They hopped on the Stats NZ website and researched populations, median incomes, investigated fact sheets on different region's industries and job opportunities.

"We needed a decent population, access to the outdoors, a reasonable town centre where we can get everything we wanted and Rotorua was like 'wow, okay. Let's go check out Rotorua'."

There were lots of reasons Rotorua won them over.

"It seemed a bit more laid back. We considered Hamilton and Tauranga and it was 'no', it didn't feel as comfortable and homely as Rotorua."

Born and bred in Auckland, they wanted to settle down and own their own home.

"We're not millionaires and options and opportunities were nil in Auckland. Cheap houses don't exist there any more. Even for half a million you only get a one bedroom apartment close to nothing."

The family arrived in Rotorua in June last year and rented to get the feel of where they wanted to buy.

Martin said they noticed the prices had risen in that time, but they were pleased they waited.


Their new home is in Kawaha Point and they moved in on Wednesday this week.

"The price we paid is doable and reflective of the market now but we had to offer at the very top of our budget to get it."

He said he was aware of the low stock levels but they had "got lucky".

"We found it, put in an offer and got it. We noticed at some open homes there were 50 people and heard investors asking 'what's the market rental like?'. We felt the pressure as first home buyers wanting a family home."

And after officially being locals for a year, the Lamberts couldn't be happier.

"We've got no regrets, and no we're not going back to Auckland."