Energy efficiency increasingly a priority for prospective homebuyers

Energy efficiency increasingly a priority for prospective homebuyers

Nearly half of people hoping to buy a home in the next 10 years believe that a property’s Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating will be a very important factor in their decision.

According to the latest NatWest Greener Homes Attitude Tracker, one-in-four prospective homebuyers aged 35-44 said an EPC rating of C or above was 'essential'. Younger buyers see it as less of a priority, with only one-in-seven of those aged 18-24 seeing a rating of C or above as essential. Across all age groups, one-in-five said they saw a C rating as essential.

Many homeowners are taking steps to make their homes greener or have plans in place to make changes. Between April and June this year, 66% of homeowners said they planned to make home improvements so their properties would be more environmentally sustainable, up from 63% in the first three months of the year.

However , homeowners are under no illusions as to how long it will take them to recoup the cost of these improvements, estimating that they will have to wait around 15 years to save enough on their energy bills to offset the estimated installation cost of £34,500 for retrofitting a typical UK home. This is the rough amount it would cost to fit a heat pump, cavity wall insulation, loft insulation, double glazed windows, and solar panels.

Many people simply cannot afford these costs, particularly given the current cost of living crisis, with the NatWest report revealing that a smart energy meter and composting bin were the two green home features most likely to be installed by homeowners over the next 12 months. These are both inexpensive ‘quick fix’ solutions which can have an impact on overall energy efficiency.

Over the longer term, looking ahead to the next 10 years, nearly half of people (40%) said they planned to fit an electric car charging point in their homes. Nearly three-quarters of those who said they weren’t planning to make any green home improvements in the next 10 years said that cost was the biggest barrier.

However, more than half of homeowners are already taking steps to reduce their energy consumption, especially given soaring energy bills, with 61% of households reporting that they’ve made effort to minimise their energy use over the past three months. Switching off devices that are normally left on or on standby is the most common action taken, along with not over-filling the kettle.

There is also growing interest in green mortgages, with 19% considering taking one out, and 5% stating they already have a green mortgage, up from 4% in the first quarter of the year. A spokesman for NatWest said: “It was a similar story for all of the green financial products surveyed in fact, with data showing across-the-board, albeit slight, increases in the attractiveness of green home-related loans, green savings and investments and green current accounts.”

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