Solar tops the list of features home buyers seek, according to Pam Golding Properties survey

Dr Andrew Golding, chief executive of the Pam Golding Property group

As ongoing loadshedding starts to bite deeper and electricity tariffs rise inexorably, interest among home buyers in properties with energy-saving features is picking up considerably. This is according to a survey (with 384 respondents) recently conducted among its agents by national real estate agency, Pam Golding Properties.

Not surprisingly, says Dr Andrew Golding, chief executive of the Pam Golding Property group, given the severity of loadshedding, the most popular ‘green’ feature buyers are currently looking for is solar, with more than a third (35.4%) of all votes.

Says Dr Golding: “This was followed by boreholes and JoJo tanks, which is a pertinent reminder that water remains an issue in much of the country.

Source: Pam Golding Properties survey

“The survey also clearly indicated that for sellers, having alternative power and water storage will sway the decision their way when a buyer is weighing up two similar properties.

“The result is that we are seeing that properties with ‘green’ features such as these sell quicker than those without. Buyers tend to prioritise by viewing these properties first – they welcome the fact that all the work is already done, which adds considerable appeal.

“Notably almost a quarter of the respondents in our survey indicated that more than 50% of their home buyers are asking for solar and other green features when buying a home.”

Adds Dr Golding: “Encouragingly for sellers, the survey also revealed that 68.8% of home buyers would pay a premium for a home with green features, making green solutions like solar an increasingly important driver of the price that sellers are able to achieve for their properties.

Would pay a premium:

Source: Pam Golding Properties survey

“In addition, the survey showed that 55.2% of our agents stated that home owners were adding green features not only for their own benefit, but also in order to make their homes more marketable when the time comes to sell. While it is difficult to quantify the actual value-add in monetary terms, having back-up power and water supply solutions certainly makes homes more appealing and more sellable.

“While going off the grid is the ideal situation, it is apparent, however, that affordability is an issue for many consumers, and understandably so, particularly in the instance of first-time home buyers. As a result, currently the focus for home owners is primarily on offsetting the effects of loadshedding, with water a secondary concern for most.”

Interestingly, in line with international green financing trends, some banks in South Africa now extend preferential terms loans by offering lower interest rates on green-certified home loans.

Concludes Dr Golding: “For high-end buyers, being as far off the grid as possible is a key imperative, while in the middle price ranges, the buyer is happy if the alternate energy keeps them free of loadshedding for most of their needs. Needless to say, green features are a big plus for any home.”

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