More than three-quarters (79%) of UK adults think additional information beyond the property particulars currently provided by estate agents would be helpful when it comes to purchasing a property. According to the 2015 Homeowner Survey* conducted by BLP Insurance in conjunction with the HomeOwners Alliance, prospective buyers would like to be able to measure the affordability of running their new home in advance of making an offer on a property.
Almost three-quarters (72%) said they would be interested in knowing what the estimated annual cost of their energy bills would be and more than half would be interesting in having the estimated annual cost of maintaining the property (56%).
Second on the wish list for UK adults was having access to information to help them decide whether the property will meet their lifestyle needs. Knowing the amount of outside space, including garden and off-street parking, was important for more than two-thirds of the public (69%), and the amount of storage space would be of interest to more than half (56%).
Wayne Tonge, Head of Sales at BLP Insurance, says:
“Property is without a doubt the biggest investment most people will ever make and with house prices in the UK on the rise, consumers are becoming savvier about how much it is going to cost to maintain and run their new home. It is important that aspiring homeowners are armed with this information so that they can make the right decision when looking for their dream home.
“Perhaps more significantly is the long-term industry merit of driving standards higher by providing this information at the point of sale. With activity in the construction industry on the up as local authorities and developers attempt to meet the housing shortfall, there is a real risk that building standards will slip. Accurately labelling the property in terms of its output will not only provide consumers with a better route to quality, but will also encourage developers to boost the sustainability of the new-build housing market.”
Ben Derbyshire, Managing Partner at HTA Design LLP, says:
“The time has arrived for Home Performance Labelling. The question is no longer whether it is worth going to the trouble of informing consumers of the performance they can expect from their homes. The revolution of consumer information available in just about every other walk of life means the clamour can no longer be ignored. The question now is how best to introduce it to the market place.”
One initiative taking significant strides towards bridging this gap is the Housing Forum’s Home Performance Labelling Scheme, a joint venture between BLP Insurance, HTA Design LLP and others. This comparison website compares different aspects of new and existing homes against benchmark performance, ranking each property according to a set of measures, including broadband speed, storage space, estimated energy costs and estimated annual maintenance costs.