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Homebuyers more focused on property’s energy efficiency rating

Nick Cheek
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Nick Cheek

Would-be homebuyers are becoming more focused on a property’s energy efficiency when house hunting, mortgage broker research has suggested.

The study from Mortgage Advice Bureau found that three quarters (74%) of those looking to buy in the next two years see properties with an energy performance certificate (EPC) rating of an A or B as being more attractive than those with lower ratings.

The mortgage adviser pointed to rising energy bills and the drive to cut household costs as pushing greater levels of interest in efficient properties.

The study found that more than half of house hunters are looking at efficient homes in order to reduce their overall bills, while a third (36%) want to keep warm in winter for less. A similar proportion are hoping that an efficient home will mean they can cut their mortgage repayments through eligibility for green mortgages. A third also argues that greater efficiency levels will add value when the time comes to move on.

Last week, the Government confirmed it was delaying the introduction of new energy efficiency rules.

Energy efficiency on the wish list

Ben Thompson, deputy CEO of Mortgage Advice Bureau, said that energy efficiency has been climbing up the wish list for prospective homebuyers, with rising energy bills “stretching budgets to the limits”.

He continued: “As our findings show, mortgage payments are also a central concern to prospective homebuyers. However, the good news is that opting for a higher EPC-rated property could make you more likely to be entitled to a green mortgage scheme. These plans reward homeowners for buying or owning an energy efficient home for example, with potentially lower interest rates on mortgage payments, or incentives such as cashback.”

However, brokers have not been convinced by the launch of green mortgages, with some describing them as little more than a “pointless gimmick”.