Ryan Gray moved back to Rotorua to buy a home.
He had been working overseas and returned to Auckland in 2012.
"In 2015 my partner and I moved back to Rotorua as we were ready to buy a home and knew we couldn't afford to do that in Auckland," Gray said.
"Unfortunately, in 2015 the real estate market was pumping and once we had settled in and also fulfilled the six months of work the bank wanted to see before agreeing to lend us the money, prices had skyrocketed."
Gray said things had got worse since then.
"When we first started looking a tidy, two-bedroom home in Lynmore was about $250,000 to $300,000 - now we're looking at somewhere between $400,000 to $500,000."
He said he had given viewing properties about six months ago.
"I know the market dictates prices but as far as the actual property goes, it's still the same parcel of land and the same bricks and mortar it was three years ago and today's prices are just unrealistic.
"As a first-home buyer, I'm competing with other first-home buyers and also investors, which pushes prices up."
Gray believes Rotorua needs a greater supply of both land and homes.