Research shows energy-efficient homes can sell for more

January 28, 2020

Homes with energy-saving features attract a price premium of as much as 10 per cent, new research shows.

A review of one Australian and other international studies by a research fellow at the Sustainable Buildings Research Centre at the University of Wollongong has revealed homes can sell for noticeably more if they have a higher energy saving rating.

Researcher Daniel Daly said the price benefit to sellers showed there should be a requirement to disclose a home’s energy rating, so those who had invested in the energy-saving features could reliably benefit from increased capital gains.

In the ACT, the only state or territory in Australia to require sellers to disclose their energy-efficiency rating, Dr Daly estimates sellers with a 7 NatHERs star home could expect to take in $72,721 more than a comparable 3-star home, based on a median of $773,635.

NatHERS, the Nationwide House Energy Rating Scheme, rates the energy efficiency of a home based on its design. Energy-saving features may include solar panels, insulation, double-glazed windows, draught sealing, batteries, rooms oriented to take advantage of sunlight or efficient heating.

Dr Daly said a disclosure scheme similar to that in the ACT should be adopted nationally.

“We don’t have a rating scheme for existing buildings,” Dr Daly said. “There’s no simple way that’s regulated or verified by authorities.

“For a seller, they may not be able to adequately communicate what they’ve done to improve a home to a buyer.

“[And] for buyers or renters, it’s hard to tell if a home will be comfortable or have reasonable energy bills.”

Dr Daly said one inspection was often not enough to understand a home’s thermal characteristics.

“Energy efficiency in homes is quite complex,” he said. “Solar panels are easy to see, but it’s a much more difficult question to find out if it’s too hot in summer or too cold in winter.”

Dr Daly said the research also indicated homes that had a high energy-efficiency rating would sell faster.

If a disclosure regime were to be implemented, it would need to be simple and easy to teach real estate agents and others in the property industry, Dr Daly said.

“They need to see the value for their clients and understand what that value is,” he said. “Real estate agents aren’t going to be energy-efficiency experts, so they need something easy to understand and communicate.”

Energy Consumers Australia’s Energy Consumer Sentiment Survey from December showed across Australia residents were keen to see mandatory energy efficiency ratings on all houses for sale.

Responses varied from 66 per cent in support in the ACT to 51 per cent in South Australia.

For rental properties, the number was higher. The highest was ACT at 71 per cent and the lowest was South Australia at 63 per cent.

Chief executive Rosemary Sinclair said the survey showed an appetite for mandatory disclosure of energy efficiency.

“Energy is a very big component of household budgets these days and consumers are looking for ways to reduce their energy costs,” she said. “As part of that, consumers are telling us they want more information to help them make decisions about energy and mandatory labelling of homes is a good way to achieve that goal.

“More than half of all consumers say they want a mandatory labelling scheme for houses and only about one in 10 consumers oppose the idea.”

Original article (SMH DOMAIN – 28 January 2020) – Link to article