House buyers prioritise energy efficiency when looking for a new home

A growing number of property buyers are prioritising energy efficient features when looking for a new home, as the energy crisis concerns grow.

House hunters have become increasingly interested in sustainability, leading them to look for energy-efficient homes that offer green features, according to new research carried out by the Home Builders Federation (HBF).

The study, to mark New Homes Week 2022, has revealed the extent to which energy efficiency is now guiding the way Brits are now making home-moving decisions.

Around three in four respondents – 73% – to the HBF’s recent survey stated that they are worried about the energy performance of their current home, with almost a quarter – 24% – saying energy efficiency will be ‘crucial’ to their next home move.

Being ‘eco-friendly’ and ‘having a good EPC rating’ are now the second and third most desirable features in a new home, behind outdoor space, the study found.

The HBF says that housebuilders offer the key to unlocking UK electric car industry as over 70% of Brits state they would be persuaded to buy an electric vehicle if their home had a charging point, according to the study of almost 2,000 people.

The trade body also claims that the results place the UK’s residential developers at the forefront of meeting public demand for more energy-efficient living and show that when it comes to selecting a new home, sustainability is now a firm fixture at the top of our criteria.

‘Eco friendly’ and ‘Having a good Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)’ were rated as the second and third most important factors respectively, behind ‘private outdoor space’.

This survey is published as a new report from HBF shows that buyers of new build homes are saving more than £400 per household on their energy bills, and emitting almost 600,000 tonnes less carbon than if last year’s new build homebuyers has chosen an older property.

The report – ‘Greener, Cleaner, Cheaper’ – published today by the Home Builders Federation finds that:

+ Owners of new build houses and flats will save homeowners an average of £435 a year, rising to £555 for new build houses alone, equivalent to the cost of an average Premier League season ticket or a coffee from Pret every working day of the year*

+ The average new build home emits 2.38 tonnes less of carbon each year, around one-third of the carbon produced by the average older property

+ The research shows that despite new build homes being, on average, 7.4% larger than older properties, new homebuyers are still generating valuable savings every month

And with more lenders beginning to offer green mortgages – such as lower interest rates for buyers of more energy efficient homes – and stricter requirements for landlords renting out domestic properties, home builders are urging lenders to go further, faster to assist homebuyers in making the right environmental choice. Factoring into mortgage calculations the lower bills paid by new build buyers would enable even further savings to be made by buyers.

Stewart Baseley
Stewart Baseley

The improved energy efficiency standards have a significant impact on household carbon emissions. The report finds that new build homes in this sample accounted for 15.4% of EPCs, 16.4% of the floorspace, but just 6.4% of the total annual CO2 emissions.

Stewart Baseley, executive chairman of the HBF, commented: “‘Location, location, location’ has been the driving mantra of the UK home-movers for as long as we’ve known, but these results suggest we’re now entering the era of ‘location, location, insulation’, with energy efficiency becoming an ever more crucial factor in how we select our next home.”

“And with energy bills rising it’s never been more important for homebuyers to weigh up these costs as they consider their next move.

“This research highlights the crucial role that residential developers play in not only making UK housing stock more sustainable and energy efficient overall, but also meeting the demand of an increasingly eco-savvy public who want to cut down their energy bills and live in more sustainable homes. As an industry we have made major steps forward year-on-year in making all elements of housebuilding as sustainable as possible, with many developers well on the way to reaching net carbon zero throughout their operations.”-

Baseley added: “Mortgage lenders have a vital role to play in helping homebuyers to make the cost efficient and carbon saving steps that households are increasingly keen to make.”

The new homes industry responds to the Home Builders Federation’s research findings:

Ian Heasman, director of sustainability at Taylor Wimpey: “We announced our environment strategy in March 2021, which outlines our commitments to making our homes and developments more sustainable, and to lessening our impact on the environment. We know that people want to live more sustainably and to reduce their carbon footprint, and we want to make it as easy as possible for our customers to do just that. Our homes have many features such as energy saving lighting, zoned heating and water saving taps which make them energy efficient, and we’re encouraging more sustainable transport choices.”

Jon Di-Stefano, chief executive of Telford Homes: “COP26 has brought into sharp focus the pressing need for the property industry to accelerate their efforts in relation to the climate crisis and we’re delighted to play our part by being ranked as the UK’s most sustainable housebuilder in the Next Generation benchmarking report for the second year running.”

Ben Stone, head of sustainability Keepmoat Homes: “Building a more sustainable future is at the core of Keepmoat Homes, for the environment, for our customers, and for the future generations. We are proud to build homes for eco-conscious buyers, and have taken a number of steps to ensure we continually strive to build the best sustainable homes possible. Recently, we have introduced a number of green initiatives including low carbon concrete blocks, timber frame construction, low temperature asphalt, as well as reusing soil and aggregates. Reacting to the recent shift in home working, we have also given all customers on new developments a gigabit of broadband, allowing more people to work from home.”

Nicola Barclay, chief executive of Homes for Scotland said: “Scotland’s home builders are already well on the path to net zero – with a 75% reduction in carbon emissions from new homes built today compared to 1990 baselines. There is more to do, of course, which will be challenging, not only for builders in terms of skills, grid capacity and supply chain readiness, but also for consumers in terms of behaviour change as new technologies are introduced, so the recognition of this shift in consumer demand in the survey findings is very welcome.”



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