No compelling case for retirement

Back to Existing Homes


Retirement was weighed against upgrades which focused on providing a reasonable standard of performance (warm, dry and healthy and with reasonable levels of energy and water use) and a reasonable level of rental income commensurate with the market for the Tāmaki area (neat, tidy and safe).   

The majority of the houses were state house or mass house typology from the 1950s and 60s which is known to be relatively easy to retrofit. The costed upgrades averaged $23,251 over each of the sample houses with the most expensive individual house upgrade of $39,155.

The most likely house to consider for retirement had estimated costs for the upgrade of approximately $36,000. Given the house could be upgraded to a reasonable standard of performance and was providing relatively inexpensive (and debt free) accommodation for the family living in it, it was not a compelling case for retirement.

Two further factors weigh on the side of upgrade, rather than retirement, for these homes:

  • Given the house typologies, the houses could be upgraded relatively simply and cheaply. Upgrade offers a relatively inexpensive way to accommodate families in existing communities while addressing health and cost concerns.
  • Households had a strong connection and emotional attachment to their house and their land (“my place”), local neighbourhood, and home.

When the economic benefits of upgrades are assessed, the overall results indicate the benefits of upgrades that improve health conditions and reduce electricity use for heating are justified. The costs and benefits were not substantial enough to consider retiring the house and rebuilding. Overall the health and energy saving benefits from retrofitting insulation, extraction fans and more energy efficient heating outweigh the costs in the long term.