Energy-efficient home features now as important as looks
Energy-efficient home features now as important as looks says Realestate.co.nz survey
Perceptions changing as homebuyers add sustainability to shopping list
AUCKLAND, 27 June 2012 – A new survey suggests that environmentally friendly features, rather than aesthetic aspects, may now be among the top priorities for homebuyers searching for the perfect home.
The survey – undertaken by Realestate.co.nz in association with Homestar™ for the NZ Green Building Council’s Sustainable Housing Summit, which opens in Auckland today – asked about the home searching priorities of more than 1,700 New Zealand home seekers.
Alistair Helm, CEO of Realestate.co.nz, says the comprehensive survey is the first undertaken in New Zealand into this area of home buying, and that the results revealed a significant insight into buyer perception around what adds value to a home.
“There is a widely held opinion that the aesthetics of a home are what matters most to home buyers. This survey shows the reality that this perception is changing, and that features that provide a warm and dry home are fast rising up the shopping list for buyers.”
Helm says the survey reported the number one feature that homebuyers judged as most important was the orientation of the property to the sun. More than half of those surveyed regarded this as of ‘very high importance’, with a further one third rating it as ‘high importance.’
“This compares to the importance of, for example, an ‘attractive gourmet kitchen’, which scored just 16% on the scale of ‘very high importance’ with 34% judging it being of ‘high importance’,” says Helm.
After orientation to the sun, Helm says the next most important feature was a high level of insulation, which scored 46% on the scale of ‘very high importance’ and 35% of ‘high importance’.
“It is especially notable that insulation surpassed other aesthetic features such as a third bedroom, off-street parking and the ubiquitous ‘indoor / outdoor flow’,” says Helm.
Helm says the survey also investigated to what extent buyers had inquired or inspected for aspects of environmental or energy-efficiency performance.
“In this case, the three ‘visible’ features that were top-of-mind for buyers more than 70% of the time when making enquiries about homes were presence of insulation, inquiring about heating and asking questions about dampness,” says Helm.
“This certainly indicates that buyers are front-footing queries on performance features that impact the warmth and comfort of the home.”
Helm says perhaps most significantly, the survey also looked at whether environmentally friendly features of homes created the potential for a price premium on homes.
“What was staggering was that of those questioned who were looking to sell their property or had recently sold, 88% believed that there was the potential for a price premium for properties that could demonstrate performance features such as energy, water and heating efficiency.”
Helm says the survey then sought to find out what type of features would most impact this perception of a price premium. The big three items were high levels of insulation, efficient heating and cooling system and double-glazing.
Judged of lower opinion – on a ‘importance’ rating scale of 1 to 5 – were low-energy lighting, fixtures and fittings with low toxicity.
“As for signals of value for buyers and sellers, at this stage it appears to be very much around tangible items that can be seen and touched as opposed as to the environmental performance measures behind the features,” says Helm.
“Time will tell if these performance measures move up the priority list and start to surpass things like the granite bench top. For now though, this survey has certainly established that energy performance and the warmth andhealth aspects of a home are very much on the minds of home hunters.”
More analysis of this survey and the wider New Zealand property market can be found on www.unconditional.co.nz, the news and information website for New Zealand real estate.
Realestate.co.nz is the country’s most comprehensive property listing website profiling listings of licensed real estate agents with more than 110,000 real estate listings covering residential, commercial, business and farms for sale.