Kirsty McLuckie on the cost of living green

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Homeowners planning to stay in their properties long-term can calculate that the cost of solar panels, biomass boilers, and ground or air source heat pumps will pay for themselves in savings…eventually.

However, for those wishing to move ahead of this tipping point, the merits of investing in such green measures are not so clear-cut, at least financially.

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It’s not tempting to pay thousands of pounds just to help the next owner, but perhaps any eco-measure could at least add value to the house by its cost if you’re selling in the short term?

This time last year, I was getting the opinions of appraisers and real estate agents as to whether replacing inefficient heating systems with green technologies would result in a property valuation increase. The answer, albeit anecdotally, was a resounding no.

One explained, “Most homebuyers have sustainability pretty low down their list of requirements.” He even hinted that some might be put off by unfamiliar technology.

But this week, a survey of UK homeowners shows attitudes are changing. FJP Investment’s research shows that, due to the energy price crisis, we have started to prioritize sustainability in real estate ownership.

The company found that 44 percent of respondents would be willing to pay more for a property with a high energy rating, with the figure rising to 59 percent for 18-34 year olds.

Research has shown that the normalization of remote work is a consideration, with many more concerned about the energy efficiency of their properties as they need to be heated throughout the day.

In addition, FJP’s study found that nearly half believe that improving the energy efficiency of their property will future-proof its value. Recent data based on average house prices in England backs this up – raising a property’s EPC from G to A could increase a property’s value by 14 per cent.

Which represents a better return on investment than a shiny new kitchen will ever be.

According to the study, only a fifth of homeowners are willing to buy a poorly-performing property and then improve it themselves, suggesting that improving efficiency could be a wise investment no matter how long you plan to stay in a home .

But cost remains an obstacle. Jamie Johnson, chief executive of FJP Investment, said: “While the solar panel, insulation and heat pump tax breaks announced in the spring statement are a step in the right direction, the measures do not go far enough to address the affordability issue facing many households who will find these energy incentives unattainable.

“Removing the affordability barriers to green renovation and sustainable home ownership must be high on the government’s agenda, which must work with the construction industry to ensure greater progress is made.”

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