Insulation now beating location as priority for homebuyers, new Leeds Building Society research suggests
A survey of more than 4,000 adults by Censuswide on behalf of the building society found 30 per cent listed good insulation as a key criteria when looking for a property, followed by 28 per cent wanting a good EPC rating and 25 per cent seeking double or triple glazing.
A fast internet connection – whether that’s to facilitate home working, streaming or online gaming - was the next most important criteria for buyers.
This beat being within walking distance of shops (24 per cent) and having proximity to family and friends (22 per cent).
One in five (19 per cent) of those looking to buy say that they have had to compromise on their property criteria to fit their budget.
A further quarter (23 per cent) have had to look outside the area that they’d like to live in as they can’t find anywhere in budget in their preferred location.
Richard Fearon, chief executive officer of Leeds Building Society, said the figures highlighted shifting priorities for buyers in the wake of huge rises in energy bills which are expected to continue into next year.
He said: “It’s no longer just ‘location, location, location’ for aspiring homebuyers.
"The cost-of-living crisis is having a huge impact on the type of houses that people want to buy – with buyers prioritising homes that are likely to have lower energy bills in future.
“The UK’s housing stock is the oldest and least energy efficient of any in Europe.
"As a result, not only do homeowners have to spend more to heat their homes, but housing contributes 16 per cent of all UK carbon emissions.
“If the 13.8 million homes currently with an EPC rating of D or lower were brought up to the same efficiency standards as the average new build, there would be a collective saving of £28 billion a year and carbon emissions would be reduced by more than 31 million tonnes.
“We welcome the government’s consultation on extending the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) to deliver insulation and energy efficiency measures to more households.
“But there remains a great deal of uncertainty over the Government’s response to making homes more energy efficient.
"There are question marks over the depth of impact from ECO+ funding and urgent clarity is required from the Government around the timing and scope of future changes to EPC regulations for rental and owner-occupied homes.
“Improving the energy efficiency of houses is one of the key imperatives in addressing the homeownership crisis, as we have set out in our set of public policy proposals.
"We must ensure solutions to the long-term challenges prospective buyers face are green and sustainable.”
The Energy Company Obligation (ECO) is a government energy efficiency scheme in Great Britain designed to tackle fuel poverty and help reduce carbon emissions.
The ECO scheme works by placing a Home Heating Cost Reduction Obligation on medium and large energy suppliers.
Suppliers must promote measures that improve the ability of low-income, fuel-poor and vulnerable households to heat their homes. This includes actions that result in reduced energy usage, such as installing insulation or upgrading a heating system.