New homes better - Kiwi nesters

20:54, Dec 20 2013

Many Kiwis may still be loyal to old houses but research shows more than half of us prefer modern. LIZ McDONALD reports.

Many Kiwis have a fondness for character homes.

They may offer charm, craftsmanship, and solid materials, but they can also mean draughts and costly maintenance.

A new survey of 6000 Kiwis shows half of us, and slightly more than half of Christchurch residents, want a modern home.

The nationwide survey was commissioned by Homestar, an independent rating tool on sustainable housing set up by the non-profit Green Building Council.

The survey found 13 per cent of Christchurch respondents said they would like a brand new home, and another 45 per cent wanted something built since 1980.


Character homes remained the choice of about a fifth of those surveyed in Christchurch. Pre- 1920s villas and 1920s or 1930s bungalows were the most popular with this group, followed by 1925 to 1950 art deco houses, and pre- 1970s state houses.

Just a handful, 2.5 per cent, were interested in living in an apartment.

Nationally, Aucklanders were the most likely to want an apartment, while Otago and Wellington residents were the keenest on villas, and those in the Bay of Plenty were the most enthusiastic about modern homes.

Two-thirds of the Christchurch respondents said making their home more energy efficient and sustainable was a priority.

A third were keen to take action now to improve their efficiency and sustainability, while half wanted to do it within 10 years and the rest probably wouldn't at all.

The same survey found that orientation to the sun and good insulation were the two factors most sought by potential home buyers, even more important than the number of bedrooms.

Homestar director Leigh Featherstone said the interest in modern homes reflected Kiwis' increased focus on home performance and the value of warm, energy efficient houses.

"It looks like New Zealanders are falling out of love with the villa," Featherstone said. "While older homes might have character features, our housing stock has traditionally not performed well - the prevalence of cold, draughty houses is well known."

She said the move to wanting a newer build "undoubtedly" reflected concern with home performance. "A newer home is far more likely to be built for good sun and efficiency. "This is a continuation of a trend we've seen for some years." Featherstone said that much could be done to improve the performance of older homes, such as insulation, draught-proofing and efficient heating and water fittings.

The Press