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Mould and damp driving people from homes

Mould and damp driving people from homes

A nationwide survey has revealed more than a quarter of New Zealanders have moved out of a house because it was cold, damp and mouldy.

The second HRV State of Home Survey, conducted by independent research company Buzz Channel, also found the doom and gloom of home ownership is becoming even more desperate with 62% of Kiwis saying it will be difficult to buy a house without financial support from family or friends.

The drive behind the survey, commissioned by HRV, is to gain an insight into what issues people face when it comes to their homes, to help address the poor condition of New Zealand’s housing stock, and to increase awareness about the importance of having a dry and warm place to live.

Most notable was the 30% year on year increase in the number of people who have moved out of a house because it was cold, damp and/or mouldy – with more than a quarter of respondents having done so.

While this increase shows an increased awareness about the importance of living in a dry and warm home, it also highlights that more needs to be done to get New Zealand homes up to a safe and healthy standard.

The levels of condensation and mould inside homes, which are triggers of respiratory diseases such as asthma, continue to be widespread with 82% of homes experiencing condensation. A third of Kiwis are concerned about the impact a damp, cold or mouldy home has on their family's health.

Other findings from the survey include:

• Just over a quarter would like to be living in a warmer, drier, healthier home in the next five years
• 25% of those who suffer from asthma or allergy say their living arrangements aggravate symptoms
• Half of renters experience condensation every morning in winter
• More than half of New Zealand households are affected by asthma and allergy
• 41% believe they are not at all likely to own a house in the next 3 to 5 years
• 62% believe it will be difficult to buy a house without financial help from family or friends

HRV chief executive Bruce Gordon says the results highlight the fact there are still serious issues with much of New Zealand’s housing stock that need addressing.

“Homes are mouldy, cold, and damp which means households get sick, are forced to miss work and school, which then impacts on productivity, earnings and education. The burden on these people, and the country as a whole, is considerable.

Mr Gordon says the pleasing aspect of the survey was a greater awareness of the link between the state of a person’s home and the health of the people living inside it.

“Across the board there is a desire to live in a warmer, drier and healthier home with more than a quarter of respondents wanting to live in a better home environment. For instance, having insulation, double glazing, a heat pump and ventilation is more important to people than a good school zone.

“There’s also a willingness to improve living conditions with more than a quarter wanting to renovate and improve their current home rather than moving. That’s great news because a big part of renovating is about improving the standard of a house, and at the same time making it a healthy place for a family to live.”

The home ownership plight

Home ownership continues to be a major hurdle with 62% of Kiwis saying it will be difficult to buy a house without support from family or friends and just over 40% believing they are not at all likely to own a house in the next 3 - 5 years.

Yet owning a home is still very much the Kiwi dream with 86% of Kiwis aged between 18-34 years old having a goal to own their own home.

“The reality is very different,” says Gordon, “with 44% of those surveyed believing their parents are now expected to help their children buy their first home.”

“Something needs to be done to help first home buyers, but at the same time there needs to be a focus on improving the condition of New Zealand’s housing stock in general.

“New Zealanders may also need to look at long term renting as an alternative to home ownership, which makes it even more essential that the country’s rental housing is in safe and good condition.”


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