EPC ratings and EV charging points amid ‘growing concerns’ for house buyers, claims expert

Property market could face a ‘dire’ situation warns expert

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The property market shifted this year as buyers searched for gardens and more space to accommodate home offices. For many, this meant upsizing from a two-bedroom house with a small garden to a three-bedroom house with a large garden. While for others, this meant ditching their one-bedroom flat in the city centre for a two-bedroom house with a garden in a more rural setting. With working from home set to stay for the foreseeable future, it seems the “race for space” isn’t going anywhere.

But what else are buyers looking for in a new home?

Guy Gittins, CEO of London and international residential property specialist, Chestertons, has shared some of the trends buyers will be focussing on next year.

Sustainable homes

Mr Gittins said their data is showing an “increasing demand” for sustainable properties.

“The importance of the EPC rating I think is becoming far greater at the moment,” he said.

EPC ratings, also known as an energy performance certificate, shows how energy efficient your property is.

An efficiency grade between A and G is given with A being the most energy-efficient and G being the least.

New build properties tend to have high EPC ratings while older homes will have a D or E rating.

The average EPC rating for a UK property is D.

The property expert said EPC ratings may not have been as important in the past, but for some buyers, this has become an increasingly vital factor in their search for a home.

Mr Gittins continued: “If you were to rewind the clocks back two years ago, the EPC might not have been something that somebody would have clicked on when they were looking to find a property.

“I think that that energy performance certificate is becoming far more important for environmentally-conscious buyers as they’re looking for their next move.”

For some buyers, this could also be down to the recent hike in energy prices which has seen the energy price cap rise sharply by £139 to £1,277 per year.

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The energy price cap sets the maximum price suppliers in England, Wales and Scotland can charge domestic customers on a standard – or default – tariff.

Since January, wholesale gas prices have also risen by a whopping 250 percent.

It’s likely some home buyers could be more aware of their monthly bill breakdown and are looking for a more energy efficient home to save money in the long term.

However, as Mr Gittins pointed out, for more affluent buyers and homeowners, a rise in energy costs isn’t going to stop them buying the home of their dreams.

He explained: “The reality for the majority of our clients, is that although their heating costs may increase slightly if they buy a traditional Grade-II listed apartment with single glazed windows, because of the overall cost of buying that property for say £2million, the differential for what that cost is going to be for them out of their pocket isn’t going to stop them buying something that they want to buy.

“But I certainly can see that in lower value areas outside of London, the importance of what it’s going to cost you as an owner to heat that property is going to be something that’s keeping you awake at night because it’s a much bigger proportion of the overall cost of that property.

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“A three-bedroom property in London costs the same to heat as a three-bedroom property in Hull, essentially, if you’re paying the same energy prices.

“But if your three-bedroom property in London costs you £2million and your three-bedroom property in Hull costs you £200,000, the overall implication versus the value of your property is dramatically different.”

EV charging points

It’s not just the EPC rating of a property and the efficiency of it that will sway buyers, but off-street parking for an electric vehicle too.

Buyers who have an electric car in London will want to be able to charge their cars “conveniently”, according to Mr Gittins.

“That’s definitely a growing concern for people in London,” he added.

The property specialist believes that councils are trying their best to put EV charging points in wherever they can, but for prospective buyers who own an electric car, the convenience of charging the vehicle could be prioritised when searching for a home.

Mr Gittins explained: “Once you start to consider ‘is this convenient for me?’

“‘Do I have to drive six streets away and hope I can find a charging point on the street to charge my car’.

“‘And then, the next morning I’ve got to walk six streets and hope that my car is charged’.”

Mr Gittins said the convenience of electric vehicle charging points is “important to people”.

“There’s no doubt about it,” he added.

Chestertons is a London and international residential property specialist.

The company has one of the biggest network of branches in London, with 31 sites across the capital as far reaching as Richmond all the way over to Islington, Kensington and Knightsbridge.

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