New data released by Statistics New Zealand showa that where general inflation since mid-2006 is at 19.8%, the costs of ownership have risen far faster. Maintenance costs alone have gone up by nearly 35%, the figures reveal, with insurance and rates also outstripping inflation.

However, some consumer groups believe people don’t realise the likely costs of keeping their properties in good condition – spending a fortune on the home but not budgeting for the cost of keeping it in a good state.

Hobanz, the Homeowners and Buyers Association of New Zealand, is introducing a “home check” service to help the ownesr work out the true value of a property, taking into account the state of the home,

Chief executive Roger Levie says: “Our approach is to get the vendor to put the report in place because he has much more access to the property. It is a good thing for the vendor to understand the state of the property they are selling.”