New Zealanders are increasingly in favour of modern houses, putting energy efficiency and sunny rooms before the character of old villas.

A survey by and Homestar showed that the most preferred style among more than 5000 Kiwis was a modern design, built in the 1980s or later.

It also found people wanting a brand new home had increased to nearly 10 per cent (up from 7.6 per cent last year) and more people sought apartments (2.6 per cent, up from 1.8 per cent).

Last year's survey showed 10 per cent of people favoured a villa, down to 8.4 per cent this year.


Aucklander Kerryn Adamson remains a fan of the character home. She said her 1920 villa suited modern family living.

"We just love the old style and living in Grey Lynn, where there are mainly villas."

She and husband Stuart have lived 15 years in the house.

"Some of these old ones without insulation can be cold but we recently renovated ours and fully insulated it."

The family moved back into the house in September after six months of building work and thought double-glazed windows and insulation made the house much warmer.

The house has a northwest aspect and gets plenty of sun.

Auckland builder George Levick says clients who settle for character also want to "up-spec" with double glazing, insulation and making the home flow better.

"The insulation is important because an old villa can leak heat and have condensation problems ... some roofs were put up without using building paper."