No current regulations or standards for meth testing on Kiwi homes

A lack of standards or regulations for methamphetamine contamination tests on New Zealand properties has led to dozens of real estate agents conducting the reviews themselves.

Agents and property managers are now being certified to test homes for P, but questions have been raised as to whether a conflict of interest is emerging with those helping to sell property.

Real estate businesses told Seven Sharp independent parties should be testing the homes not their agents or managers, many citing a conflict of interest.

Currently there are no standards or regulations for P testing, which has led to confusing advice for homebuyers and property owners.

The Real Estate Institute of New Zealand said: "Preliminary checks by trained agents or property managers may be logical."

However, the government agency regulating the property industry said agents should stick to providing real estate and not meth testing services and the Property Institute said with such vague rules real estate professionals should steer clear of testing.

Miles Stratford, who runs a company that trains meth testers, has a network of about 300 contractors throughout New Zealand to carry out baseline tests, including agents and property managers.

Real estate professionals are well placed to perform the job, he said, adding the P problem is now so large the property market needs as many trained testers as possible.

"It is a big issue for the country because what we've got is a 15 year plus backlog of properties that've got contamination issues."

A government review is currently under way on the rules of what and how properties are tested, but it is understood the issue of who is testing is not a focus.

It's no surprise when potential buyers want a meth test done, but it may be a surprise who carries out the test. Source: Seven Sharp



Only nine resource consents lodged since council botch-up

The Auckland Council has received just nine new resource consent applications, after it revealed that it bungled more than 400 consents for home alterations.

The council admitted a fortnight ago that it misinterpreted its own rules, and property owners in suburbs like Grey Lynn and Ponsonby where special character rules apply would need new consents.

The problem affected consents granted between December 2016 and December last year.

The council said it has now contacted all potentially affected property owners.

It would now be reviewing each consent to work out whether or not the property was affected by the botch-up.

It was prioritising those consents that have also been granted building consent. It was estimated there were about 150 properties in this position.

There were five properties where building work had already started.

So far the council has received nine new resource consent applications and granted two.

It was urging everyone who it had contacted to get in touch to let the council know where they were at in implementing their consents.

The council has said it would cover the cost of the new resource consent applications.

It would also look at compensation or mediation for those more adversely affected.

The problem arose when the Environment Court disagreed with how the council was applying the extra rules that applied in special character areas.

It said those rules should not take precedence over the underlying zoning rules and both should apply when resource consent applications were considered.

Some homeowners may have to make changes to their plans to comply with the new interpretation of the rules, the council said.

The council said it would look at making changes to the Unitary Plan to clarify the rules, but that process could take at least a year.

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"New residential land under development in Auckland, New Zealand. Shortages of housing in the city means new subdivisions are quickly filled. Shortage of housing is also leading to high house prices. This is Kensington Park north of Auckland. Modern infill compact housing."
Houses in Auckland (file picture). Source: istock.com


Fletcher's terrace homes to provide solution to Kiwi housing demands

Fletcher Building has shown off a row of five terrace homes constructed in as many days and claim this could be a remedy to the the country's housing demand.

Fletcher's prefabricated method means it takes around one to four days to weatherproof a home compared to 50 days for a standard built duplex home.

The trial is a proof of concept for the construction giant's factory which will open next year, producing around 500 prefabricated houses annually.

Chief executive Steve Evans said, "we wanted to make sure that we could do it for a variety of homes."

"We've moved from a cottage industry to a production line industry," said Auckland mayor Phil Goff.

Once the basic modules are up, the homes can be finished off in six weeks, that's so all the interiors and exterior claddings can be personalised, said the company.

For now the cost of construction is about the same as conventional homes.

"What I would hope in time is that as you get scale, then the pricing should come down and that's certainly our aspiration," said Mr Evans.

"We need 14,000, 15,000 houses a year. We're struggling to do that. with panelisation, we can do it quicker. we get better quality assurance." said Mr Goff.

The company plans to set up a factory in South Auckland, the first panels coming off the line by mid next year.

The aim is to build around 500 homes a year, with the KiwiBuild market in mind.

It’s hoped the use of preconstructed panels will speed up the building process, delivering more affordable homes over time. Source: 1 NEWS

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Auckland’s median house price increases for the first time in six months

Auckland’s median house price increased year-on-year for the first time in six months as the median house price outside the country’s biggest city had a 6.2 per cent annual increase, according to Real Estate Institute of New Zealand (REINZ) data.

In August, the median price in Auckland rose 1.4 per cent to $852,000, according to the latest data.

"After six months of flat prices in Auckland it is positive to see an increase as we head towards spring," Bindi Norwell, Chief Executive at REINZ, said.

"Breaking the Super City down into its old regional boundaries has shown that areas with solid annual median price increases were Manukau and Waitakere Cities with rises of 10.1% and 5.1% respectively. Whereas, North Shore City saw a fall of -14.6% year-on-year to a median price of $915,000 the lowest median the North Shore has seen since January 2016," she said.

In New Zealand, the median house price increased 3.6 per cent year-on-year to $549,000.

With the median house price outside Auckland rising by 6.2 per cent, three regions achieved record median prices with two regions equalling previous records.

The record breakers were Gisborne, where the median price went up 42.6 per cent to $335,000, Tasman where the median rose 24.2 per cent to $615,000 and Manawatu/Wanganui, where the price went up 10.5 per cent to $315,000.

Waikato’s median house price increased by 9.4 per cent to $525,00 to equal the record from June while the media price in Hawke’s Bay rose 9.9 per cent to $445,000, equalling a record from March this year.

Auckland, New Zealand - January 11, 2014: New Homes on January 11, 2014. House prices are booming around New Zealand - with the average price of an Auckland city home rocketing to $735,692.
Auckland houses (file picture). Source: istock.com


Photos: Sneak peek at the 25 new KiwiBuild homes announced today for Auckland's Onehunga

Construction on 25 new KiwiBuild apartments in the Auckland suburb of Onehunga starts today. And balloting for the highly sought after dwellings begins next week, officials announced this morning.

Apartments priced up to $600,000 are available, but the opposition says it’s not the kind of housing families want. Source: 1 NEWS

"This is a unique opportunity for those who have been locked out of the property market to buy a modern, new home in an increasingly popular area that might otherwise have been out of reach for first home buyers," Housing Minister Phil Twyford said in a statement.

An artist's rendering of the @340 Onehunga KiwiBuild development planned for Auckland.
An artist's rendering of the @340 Onehunga KiwiBuild development planned for Auckland.

The homes, which are expected to take a year to build, include six studio apartments, 12 one-bedroom apartments and seven two-bedroom apartments. They will range in price from $380,000 to $600,000, and include washer/dryers and dishwashers – "high quality fittings" described by Mr Twyford as "often hidden costs for first home buyers".

The Government has set a goal of building 10,000 KiwiBuild homes, targeting first time homebuyers or people deemed
"second chancers", by June 2021.

The planned interior for apartments at @340 Onehunga KiwiBuild, a new KiwiBuild development in Auckland.
The planned interior for apartments at @340 Onehunga KiwiBuild, a new KiwiBuild development in Auckland.

Earlier this week, the ballot began for the first 18 homes in Auckland – stand-alone dwellings in Papakura selling for $579,000 for three bedrooms and $649,000 for four bedrooms.

The 18 homes at the McLennan development in Papakura will be sold through a ballot. Source: 1 NEWS

"Our Government is opening the door to families locked out of home ownership by building affordable starter homes where the market failed to do so," Prime Minister said earlier this week.

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For more on this story, watch 1 NEWS at 6pm. Source: 1 NEWS

The latest development, named @340 Onehunga, has been praised for its central location and it's proximity to public transportation – including a planned light rail route.

Open days at 340 Onehunga Mall begin this weekend. They will remain open from 11am to 2pm daily until the ballot closes on 15 October.

Those who win the ballot will be required to pay a 10 per cent deposit while the homes are being built. Only those who have an income of less than $120,000 for a single buyer, or no more than $180,000 for more than one purchaser, are eligible.

An artist's rendering of @340 Onehunga apartments, a KiwiBuild project in Auckland.

They must also be a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident, or a resident visa holder who is "ordinarily resident in New Zealand" and must intend to own and live in the home as their primary place of residence for at least three years.

Construction has started on 25 apartments in Auckland’s Onehunga. Source: 1 NEWS