Home Inspection News – Issue 14

House Prices in January 2018 

January saw the median house price across New Zealand increase by 7.1% compared to January 2017. For the first time in over 1 1/2 years the number of properties sold increased compared with the corresponding numbers a year ago.

It took 5 days longer to sell than in January 2017. The number of properties sold by auction was up almost 4.5% compared to January last year. Otago and the Hawkes Bay set new record
median sales values in January 2018, Otago $475,000 and Hawkes Bay $438,000.

There was no OCR announcement in January and the official cash rate of 1.75% is in place. Net migration to New Zealand was down slightly from December to 70,100 in January 2018 but is still a strong driver of demand for housing. Despite the Australian economy improving over half of the migrates arriving from Australia are returning Kiwis.

House Fires 

In New Zealand there are around 120 house fires every week. As expected most fires start in the kitchen. The lounge is the second and the bedroom is the third most common area where fires start. In a typical year 12 people will die in a house fire in New Zealand.

Most fires occur because of unattended frying or cooking but there are many other causes too. Electrical fires are quite common and can occur particularly in older properties (1940’s or earlier) where the electrical wire can short circuit due to the failure of the rubber sheathing used at that time.

Even in newer homes accidental cuts in the electrical wiring can have the same effect and cause a fire. The building code for more modern houses (1960’s on wards) provides the use of various building materials that are required to have a level of fire resistance to help slow down the spread of a house fire.

House fire hazards

Storing “rubbish” or spare containers of vehicle fuel especially in a garage attached to the house adds to the problem should a fire start. Badly wired domestic appliances or damaged electrical sockets can easily cause a fire. Clothes dryers are a significant cause of fires as the “fluff” from the clothes builds up in the vent pipe and can ignite if it becomes too hot.

Christmas tree fires are not uncommon since tree lights can easily become damaged and cause a fire. If it is a real Christmas tree these are ready fuel for a fire. There are some simple precautions to help keep you and your family safe from a house fire:

  1. Don’t build up a store of combustible material—waiting too long for the recycle collection and keep any spare petrol / fuel outside.
  2. Keep clothes drier vents free of fluff.
  3. Always have smoke alarms in working order— smoke detectors are available for as little as $5.50 each or $18.50 with a 10 year battery.
  1. Because they are cheap, a small fire extinguisher kept close or in the kitchen is worth while investing in. The 1.0kg dry powder ones are as little as $19.95 each.
  2. Having a regular home inspection which will include all aspects of the home including electrical, plumbing, heating and ventilation and all other parts of the building.
    Call 0800863636 for an inspector near you.