Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) are having no bearing on the sale of properties, according to homefinders agent County Homesearch, although the intention was to help improve the energy efficiency of housing stock.
County Homesearch, with its 26 offices countrywide, has not come across a single case where buyers have queried the energy performance of a home to negotiate a price. Furthermore, no transactions have been driven down in price because of a poor EPC since the introduction of assessment in 2007. Despite the claim of the Department of Energy and Climate Change that sellers making energy improvements to a property could boost its value by even more than the average, by as much as 38%, the independent homebuying company has not seen a single instance where a buyer has insisted on energy efficient improvements in the last five years or negotiated down the price due to a poor energy rating.
Jonathan Haward, spokesperson for County Homesearch comments: “With extensive knowledge of what is happening on the ground, it safe to say the EPC is a blunt instrument and has made no discernible difference to housing stock in the country. Aside from the fact that the reports can sometimes be inaccurate and incomplete, buyers prioritise factors such as aesthetics, transport links and security over energy efficiency. The structural survey is usually relied upon for in depth information on levels of insulation which is an indication to energy consumption within a property.
“Buyers that go for larger period properties or listed properties are least interested in energy efficiency. They proceed, aware they are likely to be drafty and have higher heating costs, ignoring the EPC report even if one is applicable.”
Richard Le Neve Foster, Director at County Homesearch Thames & Chilterns comments:
“My experience of EPC’s is that the information on the report is often inaccurate or inappropriate. I saw one recently that recommended double glazing to be installed on a listed building and a recommendation for a new efficient gas boiler when the property ran on heating oil and did not have connection to mains gas!”
Andreas Bonney, Director at County Homesearch East Anglia states:
“I tend to advise clients to treat them as a rough guide only, because they simply take a guess at the energy efficiency of a home based on its period and the typical type of building materials used at the time of the build.” Stephen Wolfenden, Director at County Homesearch Oxfordshire says:
“EPCs are never ever mentioned by agent, vendor or purchaser. Nobody has ever questioned an EPC to me since they were introduced.”
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