Rise in homeowners planning upgrade property to reduce energy bills: NatWest

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Almost two thirds (63%) of UK homeowners plan to upgrade their property over the next 10 years in a bid to reduce energy bills, an increase of 10% from last June, according to new research from NatWest and S&P Global.

The research found that younger homeowners in particular have plans to make upgrades, as they look to bring their properties up to standard in terms of energy efficiency and show a greater willingness to adopt newer technologies. 

Among those aged 18 to 34, 13% said they were planning to install a heat pump in the next 12 months, twice the UK average (6%).

Meanwhile, around one-in-five (18%) were intending to install an electric car charging point, compared to only 9% across the UK as a whole.

The data shows that a higher proportion of younger homeowners than older homeowners are planning to make upgrades both in the next 12 months and across the next ten years. 

NatWest and S&P Global suggest that this partly reflects ‘catchup effects’, with younger homeowners less likely to have features such as double- or triple-glazed windows, energy efficient lighting, or a smart energy meter already installed.

The survey also found that 62% of respondents are taking steps to minimise home energy use, up from 57% in June last year while 23% of homeowners said the rise in the cost of living has made them a lot more likely to implement energy efficiency measures in the next 12 months.

A further 23% of homeowners plan to make immediate improvements in the home over the next 12 months, driven by concerns over the rising cost of living and a greater focus on global energy security, a rise of 14% compared to the same period last year. 

Elsewhere, 39% of homebuyers looking to move in the next 10 years saying that a property’s EPC rating was a very important factor, an increase of 7% from 32% in June last year.  

Last year consumers placed EPC ratings as one of the least important factors when they considered buying a home however, 20% of respondents said an EPC rating of C or above was essential, up 4% from last year’s figure. 

The research also found that 61% of UK renters wish their landlords would install solar panels in a bid to reduce bills.

For those looking to buy, 13% of prospective homeowners say that solar panels are an essential property feature, an 8% increase from last year.

This year the UK government reduced the VAT on the installation of energy saving materials from 5% to zero for five years, as part of efforts to aid the transition to greener homes.

However, only 14% said this had made them a lot more likely to install or make upgrades to the energy efficiency of their main property in the next five years, while 47% said it makes no difference.

NatWest head of mortgages Lloyd Cochrane says: “Alongside a longer-term trend of increasing climate awareness, sharp increases in energy bills and the cost of living more generally has made energy efficiency much more important to consumers’ everyday lives.”

“Given this backdrop, it’s clear homeowners, in particular, are starting to think about making changes in the home, with younger homeowners the most active, and whilst this is encouraging there is more to do to support homeowners with the green transition across industry and government policy.” 

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