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Kiwis falling out of love with the draughty old villa

17 December 2013

Kiwis falling out of love with the draughty old villa

New Zealanders increasingly favour modern houses over old character homes, with a rise in those who prefer brand new homes or apartments.

A recent survey carried out by and Homestar showed that the most preferred style of home among more than 5,000 Kiwis was a modern design, built in the 80s or later.

It also found that the number of people wanting a brand new home had increased to nearly 10% (up from 7.6% last year) and an increasing number of people sought apartments (2.6%, up from 1.8% in 2012).

In 2012 the research showed around 10% of people favoured a villa – a preference that dropped to 8.4% this year.

Homestar Director Leigh Featherstone said the growing desire for modern homes reflected Kiwis’ increased focus on home performance and the value of warm, energy efficient houses. The same survey found that good orientation for the sun and a well-insulated home were the two factors most sought by potential home buyers, even more important than the number of bedrooms.

“It looks like New Zealanders are falling out of love with the villa. While older homes might have character features, our housing stock has traditionally not performed well – the prevalence of cold, draughty houses is well known. The move away from desiring an old style home to a newer build undoubtedly reflects a 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.”

A modern design home (post-1980s) was consistently the most preferred housing type, at 43% compared to 42% last year.

Nationally, 65% of people said that making their home more energy efficient and sustainable was a priority, with 28% planning to do this immediately and another 25% planning to take action within two years.

There were some interesting regional variations in the data:

• Aucklanders are the most likely to prefer an apartment (3.5% compared to 2.6% nationally)
• Otago residents (13.8%) and Wellingtonians (12.4%) are most likely to prefer villas (and at 63% Wellingtonians are also most likely to upgrade their homes within the next two years)
• Bay of Plenty homeowners are the most likely to want a modern home (55%) followed by Christchurch and the Waikato (both 45%).
• Bay of Plenty residents are also the least likely to favour a villa (3.9%) followed by Christchurch (6.4%) and Waikato (6.8%).

For a full regional break-down of homeowner preferences in Auckland, Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Manawatu, Wellington, Christchurch and Otago, see the table below.

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.

Practical advice and information on improving home performance, including a tool to rate home performance, is available at

About is the official website of the New Zealand real estate industry, and provides the most comprehensive selection of licensed real estate listings across all categories of real estate. lists more than 130,000 properties each year, representing more than 95 per cent of all listings currently marketed by real estate professionals.

About Homestar
Homestar is a comprehensive, independent rating tool that measures and rates the performance of New Zealand homes taking into account energy, water, waste, ventilation, health and comfort, and other environmental factors. Homestar provides professional certified ratings and a tool for homeowners to rate and improve their own homes. Advice, information and product offers are also available through myHomestar membership.

2013 - and Homestar survey - regional breakdown

What type / style of house are you most interested in? (Select one)

NZ 2012NZ 2013AkldWgtnChchOtagoWaikatoBay of PlentyMana-watu
Villas (1870 - 1920)9.93%8.41%8.60%12.39%6.38%13.81%6.78%3.82%8.63%
California Bungalow (1920–1940)7.47%7.12%8.48%9.58%4.96%9.21%4.80%4.17%8.12%
Art Deco (1925–1950)1.81%2.99%2.67%1.41%2.84%5.86%2.54%3.82%3.55%
State house/mass housing (1930–1970)5.50%4.73%5.03%7.61%3.55%3.77%7.06%3.82%5.08%
Pre 1980s home12.89%13.62%14.29%15.21%11.35%15.48%14.69%9.38%13.20%
Modern design home (post-1980s)42.28%42.74%41.61%32.96%45.21%36.82%45.48%54.86%41.12%
Brand new home7.64%9.85%8.90%9.01%13.30%6.28%10.45%9.03%12.18%
Other, please specify10.67%7.95%6.90%9.58%9.93%7.95%6.50%9.72%6.60%

Is making your home more energy efficient and sustainable a priority for you?


When do you think you will take action to make your home more energy efficient and sustainable?

1 year16.47%14.29%31.11%13.50%15.63%17.65%15.48%17.65%
2 years8.75%11.48%11.11%7.36%7.81%6.86%9.52%5.88%
Within 5 years22.30%23.25%15.56%22.70%26.56%27.45%17.86%20.59%
Within 10 years4.46%3.36%5.56%7.98%3.13%4.90%4.76%4.41%
Prob won’t20.41%21.29%15.56%14.11%20.31%20.59%28.57%23.53%


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