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Majority of homeowners plan green home improvements over next decade – Natwest

  • 06/07/2022
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Majority of homeowners plan green home improvements over next decade – Natwest
Nearly two thirds, 63 per cent, of UK homeowners are planning to upgrade their property over the next 10 years to combat rising energy costs and climate change, with this figure rising among younger homeowners.

According to research from Natwest’s greener homes attitude tracker, which was launched last year and collate responses from 1,500 individuals, this is up from 52 per cent a year ago.

The report added that around 23 per cent of homeowners plan to make green improvements to their property in the next 12 months, which is up from 14 per cent a year ago. It said that this showed “further evidence of a growing urgency to make energy saving home improvements”.

Natwest said that the rising cost of living was a factor, with 23 per cent of homeowner saying rising prices made them more likely to implement changes in the next 12 months.

This rises to 33 per cent and 31 per cent respectively amongst highest earning households. For lower earning households, 17 per cent said that they are a lot more likely to improve the energy efficiency of their home.

The report said that the government’s move to reduce VAT on solar panels to zero for five years had not necessarily made their installation more likely. With 14 per cent said it made them a lot more likely to install and 47 per cent said it had made no difference.

Younger homeowners were more likely to install green home improvements, but part of this was “catch-up effects”, according to Natwest.

The bank explained that younger homeowners were likely to have features such as double- or triple-glazed windows, energy efficient lighting, or a smart energy meter.

Among those aged 18 to 34, 13 per cent said that they would install a heat pump in the next 12 months, which is more than double the UK average of six per cent.

The report also noted that 18 per cent of those surveyed who were aged 18 to 34 planned to install an electric car charging point, which compares to nine per cent average.

Natwest found that 39 per cent of homebuyers looking to buy in the next 10 years said that the Energy Performance Certificate of a property was “very important”, which is up from 32 per cent last year.

There was also a rise in those saying an EPC rating of C or higher was essential, going from 16 per cent last year to 20 per cent June.

The report found that 71 per cent of those surveyed said the cost of work required was the main barrier to green home improvements.

This was followed but the level of disruption this would cause, with 29 per cent citing this, and the availability of financing options at 28 per cent.

Lloyd Cochrane (pictured), head of mortgages at NatWest said that since launching the tracker a year ago, there had been a “real shift” in people’s mindsets towards making their homes more energy efficient.

“Alongside a longer-term trend of increasing climate awareness, sharp increases in energy bills and the cost of living more generally has made energy efficiency much more important to consumers’ everyday lives,” he explained.

“Given this backdrop it’s clear homeowners in particular are starting to think about making changes in the home, with younger homeowners the most active, and whilst this is encouraging there is more to do to support homeowners with the green transition across industry and government policy.”

Cochrane said that Natwest had launched the Sustainable Homes and Buildings Coalition last year to work across the industry to understand the “practical barriers” that homeowners face ways and identify ways to address them.

He added that it was working to expand its range of products and services to help homeowners and it was engaging with the government to propose policies that can work with the industry to support changes.

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