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Deferred Maintenance Harms Affordability

MEDIA RELEASE

Deferred Maintenance Harms Affordability

12 February 2008

Choosing to defer maintenance on property or opting to purchase housing in poor condition carries with it significant affordability risks, according to BRANZ Research Strategy Manager, Chris Kane.

With the issue of housing affordability emerging as a priority for many New Zealanders, home buyers need to think carefully about the implications of investing in poor quality dwellings or any decision to defer maintenance.

“Poorly maintained buildings will continue to deteriorate increasing the cost of maintenance in the longer term and potentially even pose risks to occupants’ health in the short term,” says Kane. “We are already starting from a poor position. The national housing stock requires around $6b spent on urgent and serious outstanding maintenance items.
It is likely that as affordability of housing becomes a more urgent concern for potential home owners, the decision to opt for a dwelling which requires a lot of maintenance, which is then indefinitely deferred, becomes tempting.

“This will doubtless lead to significantly higher downstream costs, in terms of maintenance and be a factor in reducing longer-term affordability of a property,” says Kane. “We recommend that people think about what maintenance a property requires, that they realistically factor this into the up-front purchase price – and then bite the bullet and do the maintenance work.”

The BRANZ Helpdesk and advisory services is available to help potential homeowners with technical queries about building maintenance. The BRANZ Helpdesk numbers are 0900 5 90 90 for members of the public and 0800 80 80 85 for trade enquiries.

More information is available from BRANZ’ research documents, House Condition Survey (Study Report SR142) and the Study Report on Changing Housing Need (SR 183) which can be downloaded from the BRANZ website.

ENDS

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