About 170,000 rental properties across the country need to be insulated to meet the Residential Tenancies Act and the clock is ticking.

"The urgency to insulate has not yet been realised by rental property owners," says Barfoot & Thompson director Kiri Barfoot.

Landlords have until July 2019 to insulate their rentals, which seems a long way off - but not if everyone leaves it until the last minute.

"The situation is reaching the point of no return, where insulation installers won't be able to meet demand," Barfoot says.

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She says 170,000 homes don't have any, or the required level of insulation, and Auckland and Northland account for about a third of those (60,000).

The company is offering floor or ceiling insulation for new landlords, with up to 50 per cent paid for by the real estate firm.

"We want landlords to think seriously about insulating now. We also know from tenant feedback that it is a drawcard for rental properties, making them warmer, dryer and cheaper to heat." The installation scheme is running through Mitre 10.

Going green
Five-storey high "green" walls have earned St Mark's apartments New Zealand's first Homestar Innovation Point from the New Zealand Green Building Council.

Currently under construction on the corner of St Marks Rd and MacMurray Rd in Remuera, the St Marks development will feature more than 5000 predominantly native plants.

Natural Habitats Landscape architect Mel Robinson says apart from visual benefits, the green walls will have ecological benefits.

"The increased biodiversity provides additional bee and bird food, absorption of contaminants from the atmosphere and the production of oxygen," she says.

Rates steady-ish
ASB economist Kim Mundy is not expecting any increase to the Official Cash Rate before 2019. However, that doesn't mean interest rates won't change.

Mundy says shorter-term interest rates could rise due to increases in bank funding costs or earlier-than-expected progress with US tax reform could see modest upward pressure.