Dozens of buildings have flammable cladding

Flammable cladding spread an apartment fire up the entire Grenfell building in London. Similar cladding is being used on dozens of buildings in Auckland and Wellington.
Flammable cladding spread an apartment fire up the entire Grenfell building in London in 2017 leading to 70 deaths. Similar cladding is being used on dozens of buildings in Auckland and Wellington.

Auckland Council has   released a list of 25 buildings across the city with exterior aluminum composite cladding like that used on  Grenfell Tower in London, the scene of a fire last year where more than 70 people died.

Auckland council says  the   buildings with the flammable polyethylene cores in their aluminum claddings are not necessarily dangerous like the London block where people died because they have other means of fire protection.

Among the buildings listed are the Waitakere Stadium at Henderson, certain Auckland Hospital buildings in Grafton, Spark’s four-building campus in Victoria St, large residential blocks in the Viaduct and CBD, the huge PwC building on the city’s waterfront, TVNZ’s headquarters on Victoria St, Auckland University’s Owen Glenn Building and many apartment blocks appear on the list.
In addition, Wellington City Council has identified 113 buildings with aluminium composite panelling.

KiwiSaver cash-outs

Almost 10,000 people who have their KiwiSaver scheme with the ANZ made a withdrawal to help buy their first home during the bank’s financial year — which ended 30 September.

Commenting on figures released by the bank this week, its wealth managing director Craig Mulholland says there has been a big increase in the number of people making a first home withdrawal with the average amount taken out being $20,000. In 2012, just over 7700 people withdrew cash from their ANZ KiwiSaver plan.

More than 40 per cent of New Zealand’s first home buyers used their KiwiSaver cash to help with a property purchase last year. The median cost of a home in New Zealand is   $550,000; Auckland $855,000.

KiwiSaver is a voluntary retirement investment  plan,  but the rules were changed under the last National government so savers could use it as a deposit on a first home.

The government says KiwiSaver statements will soon show projected balances at retirement and income figures to help savers understand what they can expect to receive when they reach retirement at age 65. KiwiSaver is paid in addition to the state pension.

Wellington cools

The Capital’s dream real estate run may have ended, according to  Quotable Value.

Its head of research Nick Goodall says  residential values in Wellington  dropped  1.3 per cent in May and the average residential property value now sits at $633,759.

He says the firm’s statistics tell a very different story to the anecdotal reports of strong market performance, which just goes to show: “When it comes to real estate, there’s no arguing with the data, however much you don’t want to believe it.”

But Upper Hutt  is  enjoying  a mini boom  with 2.9 per cent  value growth over the last three months.

Goodall says: “While we’re always cautious to read too much into a one month ‘trend’ the turnaround in Wellington City is quite sharp and given there’s supporting evidence of prolonged weakness at the upper tier of the market the softness is more likely to continue through winter.”

This week’s podcast also includes latest info from the Real Estate Institute and CoreLogic’s market Pulse.

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