A new study of more than 1,000 New Zealanders has revealed that half of those who own or rent their home have moved house in the past five years. More than one in five (21%) cited cold, damp or mould as the main reasons for doing so.

The factors are amplified further by lockdown, with one in five (20%) saying cold, damp or mould became more important to them during Covid-19 lockdowns – higher than other factors that became more important during lockdowns, such as needing a bigger house (13%) or the neighbours (10%).

The State of the Home Survey, which was conducted by home ventilation and heating company HRV, looked into New Zealand homes, the families who live in them, what housing issues are affecting them, and what matters most when it comes to their home.

Interestingly, double glazing, a garage, heat pumps and ventilation systems all fell within the top five most important factors for New Zealanders – highlighting that a warm and dry home is essential to home owners and tenants.

Helen Murchison, General Manager of HRV, says: “The results tell us that a warm tenant or home owner is a happy one. As we make our way through the winter months and some chilly days in spring, there’s nothing worse than being cold – especially in your own home. With more people working from home during lockdown, these factors are likely become even more important to ensure comfort in the home.

“A focus on dryness and ventilation is important, as well as warmth, and it’s interesting to see just how highly home owners and tenants rate these, compared to other factors like section size or school zone when considering a home.”

While we hope to start putting the cold weather behind us, spring in Aotearoa is renowned for being turbulent and so insulation is still important. Three quarters (75%) of homeowners and renters see insulation as very important when considering a home to live in, significantly higher than the equivalent for school zones at 12%. Insulation is also perceived as “very important” by a higher proportion of New Zealanders that own or rent their home compared to having a good-sized section (at 20%).

Looking at those with heating at home, the survey showed that renters with electrical plug-in heaters were less likely to turn the heat on during really cold nights compared to homeowners with the same type of heating device (72% vs 83%). However, if tenants had heat pumps installed, they were just as likely as home owners with heat pumps to turn the heating on during really cold nights (around 80% for both groups).

“The results are a really interesting indication of how owners and tenants are using heating to warm up their homes – particularly the trend we’re seeing in the use of heat pumps rather than electrical plug-in heaters. Not only is this less expensive, but more energy efficient too – so it’s great to see this uplift.

“It’s also promising to see the impact ventilation systems are having on homes. The survey tells us that 53% of owners and tenants with a ventilation system say their home does not experience any condensation in winter compared to 27% that do not have a ventilation system. This difference is significant, and shows the real benefit of using ventilation systems to help keep homes warm and dry,” Helen says.


About HRV’s State of the Home Survey

The HRV State of the Home Survey was conducted by Camorra Research Limited from 4-21 June 2021. A nationally representative sample of 1,006 respondents was surveyed (based on age, gender, and region). The margin of error on this sample is ±3.2% at a 95% confidence interval level.