A law change to help make rental homes warmer and drier is a step closer having passed its second reading in Parliament.

The Healthy Homes Guarantee Bill (No. 2) will set the standard for all homes when it comes to heating, ventilation and drainage. But the bill is far from becoming law as it is yet to pass a third reading.

The proposed law change is needed, not least for the country's rental stock (including State-owned rentals). Although landlords have obligations under the Residential Tenancies Act, there is no specific standard when it comes to providing tenants with warm, dry accommodation.

The new standards outlined in MP Andrew Little's bill describe what constitutes adequate methods of heating and insulation, indoor temperature, ventilation, draught stopping, and drainage.


Bindi Norwell, CEO at the Real Estate Institute (Reinz) says: "There are significant pockets of New Zealand's housing stock that are below par by world standards, and any improvement will be of benefit to the health and wellbeing of Kiwis - particularly in relation to respiratory illnesses caused by cold and damp housing, e.g. asthma and rheumatic fever, which can have significant impacts for children and elderly people."

The World Health Organisation recommends an indoor temperature of between 18C and 21C for young, elderly or disabled people and the Healthy Homes Guarantee will outline standards to help ensure optimal temperatures can be achieved.

Just by-the-by, I was in the UK last year where thousands of homes are more than 100 years old. Still they are bone dry, warm and healthy to live in. As a nation we know how to build perfectly fine homes - it is not hard. The sooner we see the back of the Bodgit, Leggit and Run brigade, the better.

With the General Election coming up, don't forget to ask which way your wannabe representative will be voting on the Healthy Homes Guarantee Bill.

New listings drop
Statistics from realestate.co.nz shows that listings of properties for sale across the country fell by almost 18 per cent in July when compared to the same period last year.

In July, 7933 new listings came on to the market across the country, the lowest number in any July month since the organisation's records began in 2007.

Of the 19 regions across the country, all but one experienced a drop in the number of new listings compared to the previous year. The exception was Nelson, which saw no change.

Regional prices rise
Andrea Rush of Quotable Value says property values are still rising, but the growth is being driven by sales in regional and provincial centres rather than our largest cities.

Rush says: "Values continue to plateau in Auckland, Hamilton and Christchurch in a trend seen since October last year."

It's worth remembering that when Auckland prices went up the regions took time to catch up, that lag may be in play again.

QV's Auckland valuer James Steele says the city's property market is still cooling, with sales volumes down more than 30 per cent below the same period last year. He says people are waiting for spring and the election to pass.

Interest rates
The Reserve Bank is likely to keep the official cash rate at 1.75 per cent until at least 2019, say economists at Westpac. Banks of course are free to change their interest rates.