In a state of national emergency, a new build property is a sure-fire insurance policy, writes Craig Fairfoull
In the midst of one of the worst cost-of-living crises that Britain has ever experienced, things have never looked so bleak.
With an unprecedented number of homeowners struggling to heat their homes and meet rocketing rates of mortgages not seen for decades; there has never been a better time to invest in a new build.
The prospect of moving house in this pandemonium may seem absurd upon first reflection, but it could shrewdly save you money in the long-term.
One such benefit of buying new can be adopting a green mortgage, bestowed upon properties which have an Energy Performance Certificate [EPC] rating of A or B by lenders.
Green mortgage rates are also currently lower than standard mortgage rates, and the expectation is that the gulf will only get wider in the future.
Based on our recent figures, a green mortgage is up to half a percent cheaper and if you take into account rates are up by five and a half or six percent, that is the equivalent of having a 10 percent discount on your rate based on your EPC rating being A or B.
Furthermore, there is an anticipation that banks may be more receptive to offering people the opportunity to fund more energy efficient properties as part of their own sustainability and corporate governance goals, and will either offer a lower interest rate on mortgage repayments or an increased loan amount.
Therefore, the incentive for green mortgages is that you are buying a house that is going to cost you less to fuel through the winter months and beyond.
Now, while you don’t necessarily have to own a new home to achieve a green mortgage, Halifax found that just 10 percent of pre-1900 homes in England and Wales meet an EPC rating of C 1 .
In fact more than 80 percent of new-build homes have an EPC rating of A or B, compared to just three percent of older homes 2.
And it doesn’t need to be Victorian or Georgian properties, my colleague recently bought a new build with a similar square footage to my 1890’s property, and he is currently spending a quarter on energy costs against my own.
Something that I can’t stress enough when speaking to potential buyers or renters is that all mortgage costs are rising – regardless if you are in an old or new property.
So, buyers can be left with a choice, stay in an old property spending more on heating your home, on top of any other refurbishments or unexpected repair bills whilst still having an interest rate hike incurring on their mortgage. Or buy new, and have a two-year warranty, with up-to-date fittings and furnishings.
All of our Dundas homes have an EPC rating of B or higher, and we have noticed a tangible increase in the number of buyers asking about EPC ratings and green mortgages.
This has been felt across the sector with a recent survey finding almost 70 percent of new-build buyers consider energy efficiency being extremely or very important to them when purchasing a new home 3.
In what seems like a constant ambush of negative news, political disorder and a grim outlook with no sign of settlement or improvement, it is easy to be scaremongered into what seems to be the safest option.
However, I urge you to really consider a financially sound investment that will cut your living costs in the long-run. In this current state of economic turmoil, there really is no better decision.
Craig Fairfoull is Head of Sales and Marketing at Dundas, one of Scotland’s largest independent developers.