The Greener Homes Attitude Tracker found that only a small percentage of homebuyers considered the EPC rating of a property to be a ‘very important’ factor if purchasing a home in the next 10 years, the fourth lowest among the 12 factors surveyed. Only 15 per cent of households said that having an EPC rating of C or above was essential when selecting a property.
The tracker is based on responses from 4,500 people across the UK in the third quarter of 2021.
Lloyd Cochrane, head of mortgages at Natwest, said: “With COP 26 fast approaching, the tracker shows that there is a noticeable proportion of homeowners who firstly don’t consider an EPC rating or energy efficiency as important and secondly, have no plans to make improvements in the next decade.”
The EPC rating also ranked below other environmental factors, such as air quality, of which 37 per cent said was ‘very important’ and amount of local green space which 38 per cent said was important to them. Some 41 per cent expressed concern about noise pollution.
Out of all the environmental factors listed, risk of flooding was considered by far the most important with 55 per cent of respondents saying this was vital, even beating internet speed which 46 per cent said was essential to them.
The recent rises in wholesale gas prices are another illustration of the challenges that consumers face as they try to understand what they can do to play their part, how much that may cost and how they can protect themselves from rising energy bills.
The tracker found further need to raise awareness of what actions can be taken, with only one in seven homeowners ‘very confident’ of being able to replace their gas boiler with a more sustainable alternative at an estimated cost of £5,000 and 57 per cent were either ‘not very’ or ‘not at all confident’.
North versus South
When it came to regional attitudes, 20 per cent of Scottish households who wanted to buy a house in the next 10 years said an EPC rating of C or above was an ‘essential’ feature when selecting a property. This response made up the highest proportion for a region. Conversely, 10 per cent of Scottish households say it’s ‘not at all important’, which was also the highest segment of any region or nation.
Some 10 per cent of those in the North of England who are looking to buy a house in the next 10 years said an EPC rating of C or above was an ‘essential’ feature.
By region, 57 per cent of homeowners in the North of England were the most likely to have plans to make property sustainability changes in the next decade compared to 51 per cent in Scotland.
Attitudes by age group
The survey found that 18 per cent of 35-44 year olds who are hoping to buy a house in the next 10 years believe an EPC rating of C or above is an ‘essential’ feature when selecting a property and 11 per cent of 18-24 year olds think the same.
Additionally, more than half of UK homeowners plan to make improvements to the environmental sustainability of their property in the next decade, according to the survey. Whilst the proportion has changed slightly since the Q2 at 55 per cent versus 54 per cent, the percentage of respondents expecting to make these changes in the next 12 months has risen to 16 per cent, compared to 14 per cent previously.