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Undone Maintenance: What will it cost?

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Report findings show significant shortfall in maintenance expenditure by New Zealand households

Analysis of two national surveys on the condition of New Zealand housing and reported expenditures on maintenance (the Pilot Housing Survey 2018/19 and the Household Economic Survey respectively) show a significant shortfall in New Zealand household maintenance expenditure. A low estimate of average expenditure required on maintenance of key dwelling components is $12,600 per dwelling or $13,500 per owner-occupied dwelling, for a total of $20.8 billion (NZD 2018/19), with over 90% of dwellings in need of some maintenance. This compares to less than around half of households reporting expenditure on maintenance. Furthermore, reported expenditure on ‘Maintenance’ or ‘Alterations, Additions and Improvements’, while stable from 2006/07 to 2012/13 (at around 45% to 50% households) declined to 2018/19 to about 35%, with total spend of $6 billion. The proportion of households reporting property maintenance expenditure increases with income. The majority is spent by the highest income households. In 2018/19, the top income quartile of owner-occupier households spent about 42% of the total expenditure, while the top 50% spent 70% of total expenditure. For comparison, the under-investment in maintenance is four and a half times the cost of large natural disasters 2018 to 2023.

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