Home Inspection News – Issue 11

September House Prices Down on August 2017 Figures

Nationally across New Zealand September house sales dropped significantly from August figures which were already down 20% compared to last year. The fall was another 8.5%. The reason almost certainly was people waiting for the result of the general election. Median prices showed no change in Auckland, Canterbury / Westland and Otago.

Gains in value were recorded in Wellington, Taranaki, Northland and Central Otago. Median prices fell in Hawkes Bay, Manawatu / Wanganui, Nelson / Marlborough, Southland and Waikato / Bay of Plenty. There are many changes in government policy that are projected by the new Labour government that will impact on house prices.

Higher wages– should tend to favour house price increases, banning overseas buyers– should favour lower house prices, building more houses– should favour lower prices. Cuts in immigration– may lead to lower house prices or it may not if it means that there are less builders to build new houses.

Talk about uncertainty?! More clarity and detail on policy is required if any sensible forecast is to be made.

Home Safety and Building Code Changes

As time passes the code or requirement for building a house changes. What was acceptable in say 1960 or 1970 is no longer acceptable under the present building code. The following changes which will impact on your homes safety aspects are (just a few examples):

Balustrades on Decks:

In the 1960’s for example it was OK by the then building code to have much bigger gaps than the present 100mm, so much so that a toddler could squeeze through and fall.

Smoke Alarms:

Are now compulsory in any new house being built and in any rental property.

Asbestos:

This was extensively used in houses but stopped being used from 1987 onward. Asbestos is only a problem as a dust so avoid sanding, drilling or waterblasting asbestos containing products such as asbestos cement weatherboards. 

Lead:

Was extensively used in house paints up until 1979. Lead is a serious health problem if sanding dust is inhaled. It is especially bad for children as their system is more vulnerable.

RCD:

An electrical Residual Current Device was introduced in 2003 and the code was updated in 2010. This prevents electrocution and is especially required in wet areas such as bathrooms, kitchens, outdoor sockets etc.

Safety Glass:

Wherever glass is subject to human impact, safety glass had to be used from 1999 onward. The code was again updated in 2016.

Seismic Resistance:

As we know New Zealand is subject to earthquakes. A lot of new rules in the building code now relate to securing building items that can fall over and cause injury. Hot water cylinders now have to have 2 metal straps secured to the wall as a minimum seismic resistance measure.

Methamphetamine (Meth or P):

This year a new standard NZS 8510:2017 was introduced to set out the procedure for testing for Methamphetamine contamination and process to follow for remediation of contaminated properties. For houses that are older and may not conform to the latest building code it would be worth considering some of the safety issues above.

*All A Buyer’s Choice Home Inspectors can access any of the above matters and are able to test for Asbestos, Lead, RCD and Methamphetamine contamination.