1940's - 1960's houses in New Zealand


The 1940’s-1960’s era of housing in New Zealand was greatly influenced by the housing shortage following the depression in the early 1930’s. Building materials such as copper, steel, zinc, electrical cable and conduit, which were all required for the war, were largely unavailable during this period. Only necessity construction was permitted during this time, for example; a family in need of housing, and it was known that not many couples or single people were able to build houses due to the lack of materials.

Style of Building

‘State housing’ which is what 40’s - 60’s homes are usually referred to as are very basic. Construction of these houses had to be economical, which explains the style of which these houses were constructed, being simple and usually as a square or rectangle with one roof line. They required to be built on a concrete ring foundation to prevent termite infestation, it was also known to be the strongest foundation at the time and greatly earthquake resistant. These houses were required to be constructed of different materials such as cladding, as well as be painted different colours. The government wanted to create a sense of difference between the houses, while using the same basic idea but portraying it in unique ways.

state houses

Common Problems

  • State houses were built with only the intention of housing people in the most cost-effective way. Therefore, they are often of quite an impractical layout and don’t make great use of natural light and energy efficiency.
  • The floor plans in these homes usually provide a poor relationship between spaces, for example the kitchen and lounge might be at opposite ends of the house to each other, being closed off and not a very social environment.
  • There is usually only one power outlet in each room, which back then was ok due to limited electronics, although now it is considered very impractical in the technology focussed world we live in today.
  • Roofing – these houses were built with heavy weight concrete or clay tile roof’s which are known to crack or break over time, causing leaks.

State Housing Today

We often inspect older houses built during this era, and usually find that they are very structurally sound and when maintained, can be great little homes. Although, we recommend if you are looking at buying a house from this era that you contact us for a building inspection first, as we are able to identify if the house has had poor maintenance or historic issues that are causing ongoing issues. We often find these houses have been altered and these alterations have not always been permitted/consented, we check the council records as a part of our Silver or Gold reporting process and have the ability to bring to light anything that has been done to the house that we think is of concern. For a pre-purchase inspection and report for your next investment, contact us on 0800 4 TRUTH (0800 487 884).

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