Home Inspection News – Issue 53

Real Estate August 2021

With all of New Zealand in Covid level 4 lockdown for half of August residential property sales numbers were well down. Nationally numbers were down 21.6% compared to July 2020 and down 26.5% on August 2020.

Prices however have continued to rise to a new national record high of $850,000, a 25.5% increase in the last 12 months. With construction stopped in level 4 the shortage of houses will have increased.

The number of houses available for sale in New Zealand in August was the lowest number ever. The time taken to sell nationally was 30 days, 3 days less than August 2020 and for Auckland 32 days, 2 days less than last August.

The Reserve Bank is likely to increase the OCR (official cash rate) on the 6th of October. This will increase mortgage payments and will slow house price growth. With big shortages of supply
however don’t expect prices to fall, only to increase less quickly.

Price Changes in the Last 12 Months

Area Price Percentage Change
Nationally $850,000.00 Up 25.5% new record
Northland $650,000.00 Up 8.9%
Auckland $1,200,000.00 Up 26.4% new record
Waikato $780,000.00 Up 23.8% new record
Bay of Plenty $840,000.00 Up 26.3%
Gisborne $500,000.00 Up 8.7%
Taranaki $565,000.00 Up 25.0%
Manawatu/Wanganui $610,000.00 Up 35.3% new record
Hawkes Bay $700,000.00 Up 17.6%
Wellington $875,000.00 Up 21.5%
Nelson $670,000.00 Up 13.1%
Tasman $800,000.00 Up 21.2%
West Coast $300,000.00 Up 16.6%
Marlborough $585,000.00 Up 18.8%
Canterbury $619,000.00 Up 24.3% new record
Otago $670,000.00 Up 18.6%
Southland $405,000.00 Up 8.6%

Is the Home Prone to Flooding?

Not many weeks go by that we don’t hear of bad weather causing flooding somewhere in New Zealand. Both the house buyer and existing house owner should make themselves aware of the flood risk of the property they own or are considering buying. The local council will have Geo maps (geological) that show areas that are prone to flooding. The once in 100 year flood seems to be happening a lot more frequently these days.

Buying a Home?

Check the Geo maps, the LIM (land information memorandum) and the property file. These will show the flood risk of a property. The house may be on a natural flow path and building restrictions may have been applied when the house was built. For example the house may be built on polls, or sheds and/or fences are not to be erected (these could dam the water flow).

Apart from the obvious risk of flood damage to the property, insurance premiums for properties of higher risk will incur higher premiums. A home in the same street at the bottom of a hill could have a higher insurance premium than one higher up. Keep flooding risk in mind especially when close to a river, the beach, lake or water dam or when the property is in a low lying area.

Already own a Home?

Again check the Geo maps, the LIM and the property file. Knowing that a property is prone to flooding means measures can be taken to prevent or at least limit flood damage. Some sensible mitigation measures include the following options:

  • Landscaping – try to have permeable (water can soak in) areas such as lawns. Use pavers (impermeable) rather than concrete for paths. Have slopes slopping away from the house whenever possible. Leave a clearance at the bottom of fences for water to flow under.
  • Gutters – keep them clean. Dirt, leaves and plant growth drastically reduces the water flow from the roof and can cause overflow.
  • Drains – keep them cleaned out. Silt, dirt, stones and leaves collect in the drain sumps. If a heavy storm warning is forecast check the drains before it arrives.

More things to keep in mind..

  • Sump pump – a sump pump (submersible pump) is worth installing to pump out and help remove water before it gets into a home. These should be battery operated as power is frequently out in bad storms.
  • Basements – seal any cracks that occur. These will rapidly let in water to a basement.
  • Water tanks – consider installing a rainwater collection tank. A permit may be required but the tank can collect and store thousands of litres of rainwater which can be discharged when the flooding risk is over.
  • Check valves – it is prudent to install check valves on pipes entering the house to prevent flood waters and sewage entering the house via basins, showers, baths and W/Cs.
  • Keeping water out – there are a whole range of devices available instead of just sand bags. Quick dam sandless bags (super absorbent powder swells and acts like a sand bag) are available for doors and windows. Water diversion systems now can keep the whole house protected from water – leaving the whole house like a dry island in a flooded area.

Climate change happens. Whether is made worse by humans or not is not important if you are facing flood damage or risk to your property. Preparation and insurance can improve your outcome.