Martin Roberts discusses the rise in house prices
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Retrofitting Britain’s ageing housing is likely to become a nightmare for homeowners, who could see bills in the tens of thousands of pounds over the next decade and beyond to ensure their home meets environmentally friendly standards. By 2035, all homes will be required to meet an EPC rating of C, but one result could be homes that are depressed in value and impossible to mortgage if homeowners attempt to sell with the works not completed.
It also means homes that require bank-breaking upgrades will attract higher mortgage rates and will be harder to remortgage.
The hardship will affect the buy-to-let sector first, as all new rental properties must meet EPC band C requirements by 2026, and existing ones by 2028.
All UK homes will need to meet the requirements in time for 2035.
But according to mortgage broker and lender Habito, an estimated 59 percent of UK homes have an EPC rating of D or below – meaning huge costs could be coming for homeowners before 2035.
How much could the renovations cost you?
According to Habito, for one-bed flats or properties measuring under 55m², the cost will reach up to £3,653.
For a small mid-terrace house (under 100m²), it increases to up to £6,400.
For a large family detached home (100-200m²) the potential cost rises to £12,540 – more than double the national average.
To make matters worse, research conducted by specialist lenders Together found more than half of British homeowners know they need to make their property more eco-friendly, but don’t know where to begin.
The problem is particularly pertinent for those who own older and period properties.
The survey found the average period homeowner would only be willing to spend just £5,480 in total on their sustainable home improvements – a far cry from some of the costs discovered by Habito.
For example, the results revealed 20 percent of period homeowners want to install a heat pump and are aware these can reduce a household’s carbon footprint by at least 2.5 tonnes of CO2 per year – but the installation cost of £10,000 to £18,000 is a barrier for the majority of UK households.
The annual cost of retrofitting three quarters of homes built before 1900 would cost roughly £6.4billion by 2050, according to Together – most of which will fall on the homeowner.
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This isn’t to say the pay off isn’t absolutely necessary to help the ailing planet recover from the worsening effects of global warming.
According to Historic England, retrofitting detached Victorian homes could reduce carbon emissions by up to 84 percent, 62 percent in a Georgian terrace, 58 percent in a 1900s terrace, 56 percent in a Victorian semi-detached and 54 percent in a Victorian terrace.
Scott Clay at specialist lender Together told Express.co.uk: “Meeting the net zero target by 2050 and tackling climate change is one of the greatest challenges we face today.
“England has some of Europe’s oldest housing stock and is well-known for its high concentration of period homes, and while this is a gift for house-hunters and property investors, it can be a curse when thinking about carbon emissions.
“What’s clear from our survey is this glaring awareness gap between period property-owners who know there is a problem and those who know how to fix it.
“There is no overnight solution, but there are methods to help turn the tide.”
Daniel Hegarty, founder and CEO of Habito, said the UK is sitting on a ticking time bomb, and the Government needs to act urgently to make the necessary changes reasonable for UK households.
Mr Hegarty told Express.co.uk: “Collectively, we, and future generations, can’t afford for that not to change, so its great news that sustainability in the home is being prioritised by the government.
“But it’s a huge problem that awareness is so low and that remedial costs are so high: the UK’s retrofitting bill should not just fall on the shoulders of consumers to settle.
“For too long sustainable products and services have carried a ‘green premium’. Saving the planet can’t be the preserve of the rich or the super-fans.
“And simply focusing on banks and lenders to provide the solutions could put those least able to afford retrofitting measures at a disadvantage: down valuations, negative equity, even a new type of mortgage prisoner, trapped in homes with unfavourable EPC ratings.
“The government is in danger of creating another have vs have-nots policy.
“What is needed is radical collaboration to create innovative and accessible green financing and home-improvement solutions.”
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