Only an estimated 30% of buyers believe a property’s Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating is important, according to research by NatWest.
The latest survey from the Greener Homes Attitude Tracker, based on responses from 4,500 people in the third quarter of 2021, found that just 15% of households said having an EPC rating of C or above was essential when selecting a property.
NatWest found that the EPC rating ranked below other environmental factors, such as air quality, which 37% said was very important, local green space (38%) and noise pollution (41%).
Out of all the environmental factors listed, risk of flooding was considered by far the most important (55%), even beating internet speed (46%) in terms of importance.
The tracker also found that only one in seven homeowners were ‘very confident’ of being able to replace their gas boiler with a more sustainable alternative, at an estimated cost of £5,000, while 57% were either ‘not very’ or ‘not at all’ confident.
On a regional basis, NatWest found that 20% of Scottish households looking to buy a house in the next 10 years said an EPC rating of C or above is an essential feature.
Conversely, 10% of Scottish households said it was not at all important, the highest of any region or nation.
10% of those in the North of England who are looking to buy a house in the next 10 years say an EPC rating of C or above is an essential feature.
By region, homeowners in the North of England (57%) are the most likely to have plans to make property sustainability changes in the next decade compared to 51% in Scotland.
Looking to age groups, 18% of 35 to 44-year-olds looking to buy a house in the next 10 years said an EPC rating of C or above was an essential feature, dropping to 11% of 18 to 24-year-olds.
More than half of UK homeowners were planning to make improvements to the environmental sustainability of their property in the next decade, according to the third quarter results.
Whilst this proportion (55%) has only changed slightly since the previous quarter (54%), the percentage of respondents expecting to make these changes in the next 12 months has risen to 16%, compared to 14%.
Lloyd Cochrane, head of mortgages at NatWest, said: “Making sustainable choices in the home can often be complex and expensive.
“The Greener Homes Attitude Tracker is designed to give the bank, and the wider market, a better understanding of consumer attitudes so we can ensure we support our customers in the best way.
“It’s one of a number of ways that we can contribute to raising consumers awareness around sustainability as the UK government works towards net zero target by 2050.
‘But with COP 26 fast approaching, the tracker shows that there is a noticeable proportion of homeowners who firstly don’t consider an EPC rating or energy efficiency as important and secondly, have no plans to make improvements in the next decade.
“Alongside the products we provide to support customers make greener choices and the information to inform those choices there is much more we all need to do across industry and government to raise consumer awareness, provide relevant information and appropriate support.
“The switch to greener lives and homes should be accessible to all – not just those who can afford it.”