Home Inspection News – Issue 45

New Zealand Real Estate Market

Congratulations to Aaron McDonald for achieving the top international award, Presidents Club!


It seems that every month new real estate residential sales and price records are being set. December 2020 once again set more record median house prices across New Zealand. Prices increased by 19.3% from December 2019 to a new record price of $749,000.

Auckland’s median price increased by 17.4% in the same period to a new record high of $1,040,000. House prices increased everywhere in 2020. Here are the increases:

The number of sales for the last 12 months is up 36.6% in the past 12 months and Auckland was up a massive 66.0% year on year. Sales would no doubt be higher still if there were more properties to sell.

The time taken to sell is also getting shorter with an average of 27 days across New Zealand and 29 days in Auckland. Despite a lack of properties for sale the number sold in December 2020 was the highest number ever for a December month.

With a shortage of properties, super low mortgage rates, a shortage of construction workers and strong and continued net migration prices are likely to continue to rise throughout 2021.

Why Asbestos in houses is becoming a bigger issue 

Most people know that Asbestos is a material that can cause serious health issues and death from Asbestos dust. The first death in New Zealand due to Asbestos was in 1958. Since then New Zealand’s Asbestos death toll has passed 5,000.

It can take many years after exposure for the Asbestos related lung cancer to appear so deaths will keep happening for many years to come. There are tens of thousands of New Zealand houses that have Asbestos containing material in them.

Asbestos Regulations

This presents an ongoing risk of new exposures to Asbestos dust. The government introduced Health and Safety at Work (Asbestos) Regulations 2016 in April that year.

The regulations only cover places of business but class rental properties as a PCBU (Place Conducting a Business Undertaking) so all properties that are rented fall under these regulations.

Rental houses suspected of containing Asbestos must be tested. Properties containing Asbestos must keep a register of where Asbestos is present. Any repairs / maintenance or work of any kind has to be done under the regulation restrictions.

Removal of Asbestos and repairs can only be carried out by qualified workers wearing appropriate PP equipment. Disposal of Asbestos has to be in sealed plastic bags and only to approved dumps.

The costs can be very high. Home buyers are becoming more aware that if they buy a property that contains Asbestos it may not just be a health worry but a financial worry too.

Textured ceilings were popular in the 1960’s and 1970’s and some contained Asbestos fibre. As an example removal could cost between $65 – $150 per square meter on top of which would be the cost of an independent assessor.

There are tens of thousands of fibre cement (Asbestos cement) sheets and weatherboard homes across New Zealand. Repair, replacement and disposal of such products will prove much more costly than non-Asbestos containing products.

The buying public are beginning to realise they should have a potential home tested for Asbestos not just because of health reasons but for financial reasons too.

All A Buyer’s Choice Home Inspectors can test for Asbestos and provide an accredited laboratory report.