Where are you most likely to find an energy efficient home?

Energy prices are on the move and although a crisis of widespread blackouts looks to be averted for now, longer term, having an energy efficient home is going to become increasingly important. So, are we seeing more energy efficient homes? And in what suburbs are we seeing more of them?

While we can’t work out exactly how many energy efficient homes are in Australia, the number of homes advertised for sale with energy efficient features can be measured.

For this analysis, we looked at advertised homes for sale which included these terms in their listing – “solar”, “battery” and “off grid”.

All terms saw a significant increase in the 12 months to May 2020 and the 12 months to May 2022.

“Solar” was the most popular term. The significant occurrence of this word is driven by significant take up of solar panels over a prolonged time period, at times boosted by generous government incentives.

The term that had the biggest uptick however was “battery”, increasing by 85 per cent over the two year period.

This no doubt reflects that while solar panels are good for energy efficiency, being able to store that energy is an even better outcome.

Off grid is still not all that common but also saw a decent pick up over the two year time period.

The suburbs in which we see the highest number of these terms being used shows how much government policy to ensure energy efficient new homes is working.

The suburbs with the most listings containing the terms “solar” and “battery” are all areas where we see a large number of new homes being developed.

In most states, there are strict requirements for energy efficiency inclusions in new homes.

For existing homes, there are no legislated requirements to make them more energy efficient.

Instead, there have been various incentives provided over time by governments to include such things as solar panels and better insulation.

These incentives have had varying success but have not had the widespread impact the green initiatives have had for new homes.

Including energy efficient terms when selling a house is rising, in part because more people see it as a way to generate interest in a property, as well as because more homes are becoming energy efficient.

As to whether being energy efficient results in a higher price is more difficult to work out.

Given that many things like solar panels and batteries can be added to homes at a later date, it is unlikely to be as big a factor as location, number of bedrooms or land size.

At the most extreme, going off grid means you don’t have to worry at all about rising energy costs.

There are still very few properties for sale that offer this, although this too has seen a lot of growth over the past two years.

While solar powered homes with batteries are more likely to be found in new homes on our urban fringe, off grid homes are not surprisingly found in more remote regional areas.

Glenwood in Queensland is located between the Sunshine Coast and Hervey Bay.

With a median of just $370,000, buying an off grid property in this town is relatively inexpensive but would also save you a lot of money on energy bills.

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Nerida Conisbee

Nerida Conisbee is the Chief Economist at Ray White.