Christchurch homebuyers not brickaphobic

LIZ MCDONALD
Last updated 08:42 20/03/2014
Deans homestead at Homebush
David Hallett

IN RUINS: The magnificent brick Deans Homestead at Homebush was destroyed by the September 2010 earthquake.

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Timaru buyers are showing some wariness of big brick houses, but for Christchurch it's a case of been there, done that.

Real estate agents in Timaru say the elegant two-storey brick homesteads seen in the city's older suburbs are now slower to sell.

They have blamed concerns about earthquake risk, as well as top-end buyers opting for other choices.

Most double-brick and other old-style brick houses in and around Christchurch failed in the earthquakes and were demolished, such as the Deans homestead at Hororata.

Brick homes standing now are mostly brick-clad with a timber frame, or brick veneer.

Real estate agent Phil Jones, of Ray White, said brick scared off Christchurch buyers straight after the quakes, "but now it's died down. It doesn't seem an issue".

Real Estate Institute director Tony McPherson said that while buyers had individual preferences, there was "nothing noticeable in the marketplace" about bricks.

Properly tied down and mortared they performed well and repaired brick homes should not have problems, he said.

Agent David Blackwell, of Total Realty, said many Christchurch buyers still liked the look and low maintenance of bricks.

Christchurch valuer Natalie Edwards said there was now a preference for lightweight design for new homes on TC3 land, but often this meant a light roof. Modern design favoured a blend of materials and claddings which could include brick.

The city's quake-prone brick homes and chimneys had been "dealt to by the earthquakes", Edwards said, and people's concerns now were how houses moved and whether they were watertight.

Consulting engineer Gary Littler said two-storey brick houses were not as safe as single-storey brick houses, which were not as safe as light timber-framed houses, but there was no need to be concerned about the structural safety of the brick houses.

"The only thing is to have a good look at the chimney," he said.

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- The Press

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