Let's say in a conical flask, you have CH3COOH and in burette you have NaOH.
Within the conical flask,
Before equivalence point: CH3COOH and some CH3COO- salt
At equivalence point: CH3COO- only
After equivalence point: CH3COO- + NaOH
Hence, buffer region happens before equivalence point due to presence of CH3COOH and CH3COO-Na+.
However, in order for maximum buffer capacity occurs, [CH3COO-] = [CH3COOH] and this occurs half way before equivalence point. It makes sense to be half way as at equivalence point you get CH3COO- only, and at half way before equivalence, you get [salt] = [acid], resulting in pH = pKa + lg 1 = pKa.
However it is not always at halfway before equivalence. If you are titrating NaOH with CH3COOH, you get pH = pKa occurs at twice the volume of the equivalence point volume.