Energy-efficient ratings and features have become increasingly important factors for Australians looking to rent, buy or build, according to new data from REA Group.
The group has launched its new REA Insights Energy Efficiency Housing Report, which analyses the supply and demand of energy-efficient ratings and features in homes across Australia.
The report is derived from data from realestate.com.au, which has 12 million visitors a month, as well as REA’s April Residential Consumer Omnibus Survey.
Features that can make a home energy-efficient include the use of local building materials to reduce carbon footprints, smart design insulation, energy-efficient hot water and heating and cooling systems, solar power and water recycling.
According to the report, 74 per cent of respondents in the realestate.com.au April Residential Consumer Omnibus Survey said an energy rating was important – and 48 per cent of those said it was of extreme importance.
REA’s Director of Economic Research Cameron Kusher said that energy efficiency had become an increasingly important consideration for consumers.
But despite the increasing demand from consumers for energy-efficient features, Mr Kusher said, “only a small percentage of listings on realestate.com.au advertised sustainable features”.
“Only seven per cent of listings in NSW, Australia’s most populous state, contained one or more energy-efficient key words,” he said.
Reducing energy bills was the primary reason consumers cared about energy-efficient features, followed by being more environmentally conscious.
Mr Kusher said most suburbs in which energy-efficient features were being declared were in areas with new housing.
“This is most likely due to the fact that these homes have been built to the minimum energy efficiency requirements, whereas older existing homes have not.”
He said solar was the number one searched-for sustainable home feature – accounting for 92 per cent of energy-efficient keyword searches on realestate.com.au.
Solar was also the most common feature that was included in listing descriptions on the portal.
Tasmania had the highest number of listings with an energy-efficient feature included in the listing description, at 25 per cent.
“This report highlights the untapped opportunity for vendors, landlords and builders to consider sustainable and energy-efficient features when building, renovating, and advertising to prospective house hunters who are clearly placing importance on these aspects,” Mr Kusher said.