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Bond, S (2015) Residents’ perceptions of risk towards residential property in Canterbury NZ subsequent to the earthquakes. International Journal of Disaster Resilience in the Built Environment, 6(03), 234-67.

  • Type: Journal Article
  • Keywords: risk reduction; earthquakes; built environment; risk analysis; disaster response
  • ISBN/ISSN:
  • URL: https://doi.org/10.1108/IJDRBE-03-2013-0008
  • Abstract:
    Purpose – This paper aims to investigate residents’ perceptions of risk towards owning and living in residential property in Christchurch subsequent to the 2010 and 2011 Canterbury earthquakes to identify how these perceptions impact on the price residents are willing to pay for affected property. Such market behaviour can motivate homeowners to adopt risk mitigation measures. Design/methodology/approach – An online survey was developed and the Web link distributed to Canterbury residents via the media. This method of distribution was adopted, as a postal survey was not possible due to the number of homes that had been destroyed by the earthquakes and the highly transient nature of the community as a result. Findings – The results indicate that with the recent earthquake experience, residents are demonstrating risk mitigation behaviours through an aversion to investing in properties affected by, or with a risk of, liquefaction. Specifically, the majority of respondents had strong reservations about buying Technical Category 3 property, and would be prepared to pay 20 per cent (or > 20 per cent) less for it, indicating some stigma towards affected property. Further, most respondents would now prefer the construction of their home to be of a type that fared better in the earthquakes: lightweight, single-storey, with a concrete slab foundation. These housing preferences will likely drive the market towards the adoption of risk mitigation measures in the retrofit of existing homes as well as in the design and construction of new homes. Research limitations/implications – Due to the number of homes that had been destroyed by the earthquakes and the highly transient nature of the community as a result, probability sampling was not possible. This, together with the low response rate, means that the respondents surveyed may not be representative of the Christchurch population. Practical implications – The outcomes of this research will be of interest not only to homeowners wanting to know how their home’s value has been impacted by market perceptions towards earthquake and liquefaction damage, particularly in the worst-affected areas, but also the rating valuers tasked with assessing property values for rating purposes. Property developers and builders involved in the repair of existing homes and construction of new homes will also want to know current market preferences. Government bodies will find the results informative of how the media has, and can be used, to motivate market behaviour towards risk mitigation, particularly in regard to “material risk” (as described in Solberg et al., 2010), that is risk from a scientific and technical viewpoint of probability of future risk, and as related to what has become known about these risks in terms of building structure, height, age, soil type/land categories and flood zones. Further, the results provide a gauge of how the community perceived the handling of the recovery process, so that the weaknesses highlighted can be addressed, which will help restore community trust. Originality/value – This study fills a research void on the impact of residents’ perceptions of risk towards home ownership in a city impacted by significant earthquakes and resulting liquefaction.