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A warm dry home is satisfaction guaranteed – housing survey

Media release

29 August, 2018

Kiwis are using more anti-mould products – and increasingly turning to heat pumps and ventilation – as awareness about the importance of living in a warm dry home increases, according to a new housing survey.

The HRV State of the Home Survey, conducted by research company Buzz Channel, found the number of people using cleaning products to combat mould increased from 12% in 2016 to almost a quarter this year.

Across the same period, heat pumps increased in importance for homeowners and renters from 51% to almost 60% this year, and the importance of a ventilation system has risen dramatically from 38% to 50%.

The survey of more than 1000 respondents, which was commissioned by HRV and done in association with AUT Professor of Sociology, Charles Crothers, is now in its fifth year and aims to gain an insight into housing issues facing New Zealanders.

Professor Crothers says results over five years of the State of the Home Survey show people are far more aware about the need to have a warm and dry home.

“There is a heightened awareness around the benefits of a home that is free of mould and dampness – and the significant increase in people using things like anti-mould products is just one example of this.

“People realise the harmful impact mould and damp conditions can have on their health, and their family’s well-being, and increasingly they are doing something about it by having better heating and ventilation or cleaning mould off surfaces.”

All I want is … a home without mould

Mould and dampness continue to be a big problem in many New Zealand homes with:

• Almost two fifths saying mould ruins carpets, furnishings and curtains

• 35% said it worsened the health of adults living in the house

• 34% said it increased the cost of heating during winter

The survey found mould is most predominant in homes around window sills (44%), in bathrooms (39%), and a quarter said mould was visible in bedrooms.

Professor Crothers says the prevalence of mould and dampness impacts greatly on the level of satisfaction people feel about their current home and living situation.

“People with lots of mould are more likely to be unsatisfied with their current home – it’s as simple as that,” he says.

“New Zealand homes are actually suffering a little less from the effects of winter in comparison to this time last year. However, with more than a quarter of renters and 16% of homeowners still suffering from damp and mould more has to be done to improve overall home satisfaction both for homeowners and tenants.”

The survey findings reflect the three essentials for a healthy home outlined by EECA Energywise in its “warm it up, dry it out and air it out” campaign.

A warm home is good. Somewhere close to work is better

Professor Crothers says the survey found having a warm home is a key driver of overall housing satisfaction among home owners and renters. However, for renters a home without dampness and mould is key when it comes to satisfaction with where they live.

But while the prevalence of cold damp conditions plays a major role in why people move homes – with 17% moving because it was too cold and 12% due to dampness – many people just want to be closer to work.

“Almost a fifth of Kiwis have moved house to a better location in relation to their work,” says Professor Crothers, “which is understandable given traffic congestion and transport issues in our bigger cities.”

The survey also found 15% have moved because of the need for a bigger house, almost 1 in 10 moved to a “better” community or neighbourhood, and 7% – that’s around 240,000 Kiwis – have moved out because they didn’t like their neighbours.

“Moving home, and out of the community you have grown up in and established friends in, can be very disrupting especially for children. Kids are forced to move to another school and unsettles families who have a great sense of support from their community.”


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