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Get set for do-upper boom

Sales of houses described as "a renovator's dream" look set for a boost: The four couples chosen for the first season of The Block NZ have been named.

By Susan Edmunds

The show will follow the couples as they compete to renovate four run-down houses in Takapuna, on Auckland's North Shore.

The houses were bought for $635,000 each, less than their council valuations of $740,000.

In Australia, the programme has been shown to lead to a noticeable spike in renovations and the sales of do-uppers.

An economist for the Housing Industry Association, Andrew Harvey, has been quoted as saying: ''In quarters in which The Block is aired there is, on average, a  A$251 million boost to quarterly renovations investment two quarters [or six months] following the airing.''

There's also markedly increased interest in unrenovated homes. 

''I've been selling for 22 years and I saw a change in the market when those shows came on,'' the director of sales at McGrath Estate Agents, Matt Lahood, told the Sydney Morning Herald.

But it came with a warning for Aussie would-be renovators: Some buyers were paying more than they should be for homes they planned to exercise their DIY skills on.

'I see that quite regularly - people paying 5 to 15 per cent more than they should [for unrenovated houses], but not to that extreme,'' a buyers' agent for the Chatswood sale, Patrick Bright, told the paper.

The four couples chosen in New Zealand are Hamilton student Sarah Adams (20) and former chef-turned-landscape designer Richard Boobyer (24), intensive care nurse Ginny Death (22) and electrical linesman Rhys Wineera (23) from New Plymouth, Christchurch advertising agency designer Libby Crawford (29) and her brother Ben (31), a marketing manager based in Auckland, and Wellingtonians Rachel Rasch (35), a former radio producer, and her partner, bricklayer and musician Tyson Hill (36).

The Block NZ starts next week.

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