Don’t Judge a House by its Cladding

December 14, 2013

Cutting the capital value of a property on the basis of its appearance – how fair is that?

If a house is soundly built under improved codes and showing no signs of leaking, why should valuers paint it with the brush of suspicion?

The short answer is that council rating valuations reflect market selling prices, and valuers must take note if the market is discounting a certain style of property, even if the buyer logic is flawed.

But John Gray, champion of people caught up in the leaky home saga, thinks such a “blanket approach” is unfair.

He calls rating valuations “a waste of time” because the true value of a property cannot be set until its condition has been established through a proper building inspection.

In his view, up to 30 per cent of homes that are leaking now, or will over time, do not involve monolithic cladding.

“It is incredibly unfair to start valuing homes on the premise that Mediterranean homes with monolithic cladding are leaky or potentially leaky, when other homes which may not have that appearance may pose a greater risk,” says Mr Gray.”This [the valuer-general’s directive] is going to perpetuate that myth.”

Mr Gray says there is nothing wrong with monolithic cladding if it is properly used and installed.

“Buyers may be turning on their heels when they see a monolithic home, but that home may be well built and watertight – and the home they eventually buy down the road made of some brick veneer, say, could be poorly built and slowly rotting.”

Greg O’Sullivan, a principal of Prendos, the building consultancy which first spoke out against the leaky home problems, himself owns a sound monolithic-style home and accepts the market reality of dropping capital values.

“It may seem unfair,” he says, “but rating valuations are driven by market forces and fairness and rating valuations are not always mutually compatible.”

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