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New Report: Most Home Buyers Now Consider Natural Hazard Risks When Buying A Property

It’s peak home buying time in New Zealand and a new report indicates 9 in 10 homebuyers are now considering natural hazard risk when deciding on a property.

According to a new EQC Toka Tū Ake NeilsenIQ report, 89% of people who have recently bought or are considering buying a property have natural hazard risks on their minds.

“We are highly exposed to natural hazard risks in New Zealand, including a range of geological hazards like earthquakes and volcanoes. We also face increasing exposure to severe weather events and the resulting hazards such as flooding and coastal inundation,” says EQC Toka Tū Ake Chief Resilience and Research Officer Jo Horrocks.

“It is not surprising that the devastation caused by the severe weather events last year has made New Zealanders more aware of natural hazard risks.

“It is positive that people are more aware about these risks and using that knowledge to inform their decisions. This includes getting engineering advice, as well as looking at the Natural Hazards Portal before buying a new home,” says Horrocks.

The Natural Hazards Portal shows the locations of more than 360,000 claims EQC Toka Tū Ake has settled since 1997. Users can zoom on the map, and it tells them where, when and roughly why there was natural hazard damage, so the buyer can make an informed decision when purchasing a property.

Horrocks also encourages home buyers to check local council files on the property that might help buyers understand any natural hazard risks associated with the property’s location, and to ensure any building or construction work has appropriate consents.

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“In addition, investigate what features of a home might make it more at risk of damage from natural hazards, such as older chimneys, secure foundations, and structurally important retaining walls.

“Then, consider the potential cost of any construction or repair work needed and then talk with your lawyer about how this might affect your offer,” she says. “Vendors can take action before listing a home to improve the strength and safety of features that might pose a concern for would-be buyers.”

Understanding insurance and what it covers is also important for home buyers, such as knowing the total amount it would cost to rebuild the house including demolition costs, debris removal, professional fees and council fees to set your sum insured. And being aware that under legislation, EQCover for land is only intended to cover the land needed to support or access the house.

“We all have different appetites when it comes to level of risk – including risks posed by natural hazards,” says Horrocks. “We encourage all home buyers to go into a purchase with their eyes open, so they can make a decision on a new home that is right for them.”

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