Home Inspection News – Issue 6

Prices Stabilise Across New Zealand

Following the big surge in the number of house and apartment sales in March, the market saw sale volumes fall and prices stabilise across New Zealand.

The holidays and wild weather (one of the wettest April months on record) no doubt were factors in the fall offs in sales volumes. The median price for New Zealand increased by 1.0%.

Using the recently launched Real Estate Institute of New Zealand House Price Index (HPI) which is regarded as the most accurate indicator of house price activity (and now used by the
Reserve Bank), prices have increased nationwide by 0.4% and in Auckland by 0.2% last month.

Waikato, Wellington and Otago hit new record high prices in April. The market remains positive.

Monolithic Houses

A “Monolithic” house is one where the exterior cladding of the property is designed to be in one piece (one = mono) showing no joints or seams. The two main types of cladding systems employed to achieve this effect were fibre cement sheeting with an overall texture finish and what is known as EFIS which stands for Exterior Foam Insulation System.

The fibre cement sheets system of which the best known is harditex used fibre cement sheets and the joins between the sheets had a structural expansion joint sealant and a tape system over the joints. After the joints were all finished, a textured coating was applied giving a seamless looking finish.

The EFIS system used expanding polystyrene as the cladding and insulation, the joints were sealed with construction sealant and taped over. These were either then plastered or textured and a water proofing paint system applied again to give a one piece or Monolithic look.

Big Problems with Homes Built in the 1990’s—early 2000’s

The term plaster homes or Miami homes or even chili bin homes have sprung up in relation to EFIS clad homes. The early 1990’s—early 2000’s was the period where most Monolithic homes were built. One of the major problems with Monolithic homes is that the joints over time can crack and moisture can then enter the home.

During this building period early 1990’s—early 2000’s other events made matters worse and included the building of homes without a cavity so moisture could not drain out easily, the use of untreated framing timber which would more rapidly rot if it got wet and architectural details that made it high risk for moisture penetration such as no eaves and balconies with rooms below.

Despite the “fear” of possible leaky homes it is important to note that Not All Monolithic homes are leaky homes and non-monolithic homes may be leaky homes. It is true that there is more risk with a monolithic home but if the home is watertight now and is well maintained, the risk of future issues will be greatly reduced.

As part of a well monitored maintenance programme an annual building report by A Buyer’s Choice Home Inspections is recommended. Some inspection companies charge extra to inspect Monolithic homes, A Buyer’s Choice Home Inspections charge exactly the same price for a home inspection no matter what the construction type.