HRV’s State of the Home Survey for 2015 is here! - 15/07/2015

Each year HRV commissions a survey of New Zealanders to find out more about our living conditions, particularly when it comes to our warmth, dryness and health. Over the coming months we’ll be providing you with some great insights around NZ’s home health with some essential advice along the way.

In 2015 we learnt some really important things about Kiwis and their homes, including: 

A quarter of Kiwis have moved out of a house due to cold or damp conditions

And this trend is getting worse, with a 30% year on year increase of people moving due to this issue.

While this increase shows better awareness about the importance of living in a dry and warm home, it shows that more needs to be done to get NZ homes up to a safe and healthy standard. In fact, healthy homes are so important to Kiwis now that having insulation, double glazing, a heat pump and ventilation is more important to people than a good school zone.

Condensation

Damp, cold living is not acceptable to us - healthy living conditions are absolutely critical to enjoy a good quality of life in New Zealand. We as a country have to insist on houses that are appropriately equipped for comfortable winter living -  not just for the warmer months. It’s time we accepted that we’re not Australia; a New Zealand winter comes with a lot of challenging weather and we’ve all got to be prepared.

Much more needs to be done to bring New Zealand up to the standard required for happy, healthy home living - and it’s an issue that gets a lot of attention in media and Government.

HRV’s own Chief Executive, Bruce Gordon discussed the issue:

“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.”

41% believe they are not at all likely to own a house in the next 3 to 5 years

What’s also concerning is the number of Kiwis who can’t realistically see themselves owning a New Zealand home in the foreseeable future. With house prices increasing (especially for property that meets acceptable living standards), New Zealanders are resigned to renting for much longer than a decade ago, unless they have generous family members to assist them in purchasing - which many don’t.

It’s our job as a country to demand much more from our living standards; affordable, warm, dry housing must become the norm - not a luxury.

Renters have 4.7 sick days per year on average compared to overall average of 2.8 days

Renters are also more likely than other groups to throw another blanket on the bed, wear warm socks and thermals to bed, and sleep with their heads under the duvet.

While there’s certainly responsibility on both sides of the renter/landlord equation to maintain a clean, healthy home, landlords need to get on board with initiatives to insulate and ventilate homes they rent. A better quality home will help secure happy tenants - we think the short term costs of bringing a rental up to standard are outweighed by the much longer term benefits!

Other key findings of the HRV State of the Home Survey 2015:

  • 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 

We’ll be diving into more of the findings from the survey over the next few months, discussing some of the really important issues facing New Zealanders and their homes.