This is going to sound very politically incorrect, but I’m going to put it out there anyway. When I look at a property, my concern is not how ‘green’ it is.
BY VANESSA DE GROOT
To be quite frank, it’s not even something I would consider at all, unless it was specifically brought to my attention. Now I understand the environment is important and I appreciate that having ‘green’ features to a property can mean the costs to run it are decreased, but it’s just not something I look for and I really don’t think I’m willing to pay for it. At least not at this point in time.
I’m sure there will be people reading this that are shocked by this, but I don’t think I’m alone. I think there are lots of people out there who also aren’t willing to pay more for a property simply because it’s more environmentally friendly than another.
So when I heard the news recently that the government intends to introduce a scheme that will make it compulsory for homeowners to get a ‘green rating’ for their property before they sell or lease it, I wasn’t over the moon.
And what’s more, it’s expected to cost up to $800 to get this rating.
First of all, in this climate of economic uncertainty, where the property market has already considerably slowed, I don’t think it’s a good idea to add yet another cost to transacting a home.
I also question how much attention people will pay to the green rating. I really don’t think it’s going to play a huge part in people’s decisions to buy a home or not. And what if it does? Does that mean every property owner is going to have to upgrade their home to make it more green to sell it? That’s going to cost even more money, most likely heading into the thousands of dollars. And will those properties that aren’t particularly green lose a significant value? I really can’t see people valuing ‘green’ qualities in this day and age over proximity to the city, transport or amenities. Or even the status of an area.
While I appreciate we’re moving towards being a more environmentally-friendly and aware nation, I’m not sure we’re quite ready to make a move like this. And especially one that could cost so much money.
Perhaps if the government is so keen to promote the environmentally friendly message it should actually be paying for each and every home to get this green rating?
I also have questions about how beneficial to the environment certain ‘green’ characteristics of homes really are.
I was recently having a conversation about solar panels with someone who informed me that they take more energy to manufacture than they will ever generate. Now, this may well be a myth… If anyone out there knows, please tell me!
Either way, I’m just not so sure that requiring a mandatory ‘green rating’ for properties is the way to go at the moment. Where does the rating system stop then?What about making owners and landlords pay for a ‘safety rating’ of their home? I think that would be far more worthwhile! I’d rather know how likely I am to injure myself from something amiss in the property than how much energy I’m likely to save. Or how about an ‘enjoyment rating’ to tell me how much I’ll enjoy living in the property, based on specific attributes of both it and its proximity to services? That would also help!
What do you think? Do people really care about how ‘green’ a property is in this day or age, or is it still low on their list of priorities? Or does it vary from area to area – are people more concerned with it in certain parts of Australia, and not in others?
Vanessa De Groot is the deputy editor of Australian Property Investor magazine, www.apimagazine.com.au