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    Research shows sustainable homes are easier to sell

    Geraldine Chua

    Green homes sell faster and for more than properties without any sustainability features, according to a new study.

    A comprehensive research project by Queensland University of Technology (QUT), in collaboration with PRDnationwide, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology Germany and other industry partners, tracked 215 homes sold multiple times between 2004 and 2014 in Kelso, Townsville, QLD.

    Amongst the 215 houses with repeated sales, 22 of those had documented sustainability features, such as solar panels, insulation, grey water systems, energy efficient appliances and fittings, low-flush toilets and non-toxic building materials. These properties were found to be on the market for 13 days less than other homes, while their median house prices were at least 10 percent higher.

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    In addition, the study found that the sustainably-designed homes:

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    • Recorded more savings on utility bills and required less maintenance. The projected energy savings range from 3–14 percent in 2015. This increases to 3–32 percent in 2020 based on properties across Australia with a 6 Star energy rating or more.
    • Required less construction materials and released fewer emissions.
    • Had higher resale values.
    • Informed the decision making of potential buyers.

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    IMPORTANCE OF INFORMATION FLOW

    Although sustainable homes should be marketable based on their own merits, the study does point to the importance of communicating these benefits to both sellers and buyers by key stakeholders:

    “Real estate agents, along with property valuers, financiers, and other stakeholders in the residential property purchase cycle need to have a deeper understanding of the benefits and outcomes of sustainable housing for informing decision making practices for home owners and investors.”

    This includes providing ESD information, such as solar panels, water tanks, in real estate advertising materials; and including information about building orientation or cross-flow ventilation in architectural drawings and images.

    Builders should ensure any changes to the property’s internal layout and connection regulations are well-documented, as well as include building material specifications, such as lifespan and toxicity, in their drawings.

    Financiers too, should obtain necessary information about the durability and types of building materials. From council to developers and everyone in between, the holistic provision of information will cement the additional market value sustainable homes have.    

    “Undoubtedly, market value is affected by the supply and demand forces of willing buyers and willing sellers,” the researchers write.

    “Increasing recognition of improved market performance associated with sustainability rating schemes means that in order to achieve an agreed and accurate price estimation of sustainable housing, both suppliers and buyers need to be well-informed about the benefits and cost savings of buying such properties.”

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