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Rising energy costs prompts interest in new homes

Over four fifths, 82%, of buyers now actively look for energy efficient features in a new home, according to research by Smart New Homes.

The vast majority of those, some 77%, said that saving money on their energy bills is their main motivation, compared to just 12% who prioritise concern over the environment.

Smart New Homes said that this demonstrates a remarkable change in attitudes since 2005, when research showed that 80.5% of buyers would not consider eco measures at all when buying a property.

Over this period, the average dual fuel energy bill has risen by 117% to £1,293, prompting a reversal in attitudes from consumers who are now far more interested in conserving energy and saving money.

The energy saving features which most appeal to homebuyers are 'A' rated appliances with low energy consumption, followed by solar panels and water butts for collecting rain water. A third of homebuyers were interested in generating surplus energy which they could sell back to the national grid, although the government's proposed cuts to the feed in tariffs, which pay households for renewable energy they provide, could dampen interest.

‘With Government legislation forcing house builders to build all new homes to zero carbon standards by 2016, it is encouraging that buyers are now more receptive to energy efficient measures,’ said Steve Lees, director of Smart New Homes.

‘Rising energy bills are a major concern for most families, with seven million households now in fuel poverty according to Consumer Focus the statutory consumer champion. Home buyers can no longer afford to ignore the opportunity to save money on their energy bills by taking into account the green credentials of any home they are considering buying,’ he added.