Lucinda Newell - Super Sleuthing Property Rental Expert - One Woman and Her Dog...

To be seen pottering along the highways and byways of Luton in her Mini Clubman, her trusted Scottie Malcolm at her side, our super sleuthing property rental expert Ms Lucinda Newell is on the case on your behalf! I’m going to have a little rant this month after I read a press release issued by the Government about energy performance. Originally I was going to report on my recent trip to Royal Ascot, Andy Murray’s success at Wimbledon, the British Lions triumph down under, the Open Golf and the Ashes but I keep coming back to the Government’s press release. Now I am very pro ensuring that everyone saves energy and improves the quality of their properties but the report from the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) just seems over the top and a blatant attempt to try and kick some life into their Green Deal policy by appealing to the “greed” of property owners. The Government has stated that for an average home in the country, improving its Energy Performance Certificate from band G to E, or from band D to B, could mean adding more than £16,000 to the sale price of the property. Energy and climate change minister Greg Barker said: “We have long known the benefits of making energy saving improvements to the home, but this study is real evidence of the huge potential rewards. “Not only can energy efficient improvements help protect you against rising energy prices but they can also add real value to your property.” They even go as far as to say that in some parts of the country property values could increase by 38%. In the North East improved energy efficiency from band G to E could increase this value by over £25,000 and the average home in the North West could see £23,000 added to its value. The DECC said the report, which took into account over 300,000 property sales in England between 1995 and 2011, is the most comprehensive research in this area to date. It believes that that energy efficiency is now a key factor influencing the sale price of most residential dwellings in England. Now I’ve spoken to a lot of people about this, including several property portfolio owning friends, estate agents and the good people at Lenwell and the consensus is that the Government’s figures, which seem excessively optimistic, are clearly designed to promote and support their flagging flagship energy efficiency policy the Green Deal which, according to some sources, has had a take up of only 200 or so properties since being introduced.. Although there is some evidence that potential buyers, and indeed tenants, are beginning to take the cost of energy efficiency into account when making a buying or renting decision, no-one I have spoken to believes that the “value add” is anywhere near that which the Government is stating. Clearly with fuel bills continuing to rise, buyers and tenants will, and are, becoming more and more conscious about the energy efficiency of their prospective new homes and are willing to invest more in a property now if they know it will cost them less to run in the future. This is, of course, a practical and sensible approach. I’m sure the Government will feel able to justify their comments via a complex argument about how the information has been gained and collated but my perception is that, whilst valid and important, the benefits on the capital value of a property will still be largely focused on its location, facilities and condition. This last point is where the waters could get muddy as a property that is well looked after and modernised is more likely to be more energy efficient too. At a time when the Government should be looking to avoid creating a “housing bubble” of rapidly increasing, and probably unsustainable house prices, its funding policies and now its comments on energy efficiency seem geared to achieve exactly the opposite. Come on Malcolm, walkies!
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