A million substandard homes are each up for a $22,000 bill to meet recommendations from a new national housing performance report.
This report goes hand in hand with the New Zealand Houses series I have been writing about and this is one of the major things factors about the older New Zealand House. Houses built before the 1970’s transitional period weren’t fitted with insulation when they were built.
The survey found one in four Kiwis say the poor quality of their home has made someone living in them sick, and indicated the severe cost of poorly performing homes. The survey of 3526 New Zealanders, conducted in October and November, is the culmination of a two-year $300,000 research project by the Business Council for Sustainable Development.
Council chief executive Peter Neilson said the country was paying $54 million to admit to hospital 50 people a day with respiratory illnesses, losing 180,000 worker days to illness, and spending $475 million a year more than it needed to on household power bills. Proposing a mandatory rating system to apply to all homes when they were sold or rented, the report estimates the cost of bringing homes up to minimum health and efficiency standards would be $20 million over a decade, or roughly $22,000 a household.
Two-thirds of New Zealand’s 1.6 million homes were built between 1900 and the 1970s, before insulation became mandatory in 1979, Mr Neilson said. Registered Master Builders Federation chief executive Warwick Quinn said the report wrapped up a widespread issue, but solutions were fragmented across disparate pockets of the community and industry and had little government support. “Having a consolidated approach would be very helpful,” he said.
Most homes built before 1979 would not meet current building code regulations, he said. “The [suggested] efficiency rating would help bring that to the surface.”
While there were 80,000 homes renovated every year, Mr Neilson said the odds were stacked against New Zealanders doing up their homes for their own good because the benefits were largely unknown.”Most people assume the cost is much more than it is and the benefits are much less,” he said.
The survey showed 69 per cent of people thought they could not afford to upgrade their home and half said they were too uninformed to do it. Mr Neilson said the residential real estate market did not value “invisible” improvements like insulation and water efficiency, so house owners’ priorities lay with marketable benefits such as decorating, improving fixtures or adding a deck.
The estimated average $22,000 bill to make a home energy-efficient and warm was realistic, and might become more palatable if householders could see the long-term benefits as energy prices rose.
“There is a limited number of householders who are driven by eco-thoughts – pricing issues are a major motivator.”
The report was admirable but ignored the need to improve home-heating solutions to battle dampness, a greater health threat than cold, she said. Research showed the worst places for ill health caused by living conditions coincided with poor local populations who avoided using electric heating because of the cost.
I believe this is a major issue that has now been bought up in a timely time. At a time when people pockets are being crimped this news from this survey is a real nail in the side. If you do own an older home in New Zealand look into putting insulation into your home or a DVS system or anything else instead of major flash renovations.