For most, buying a home abroad remains a significant, long term commitment especially if mortgage finance is required and now some experts are predicting that the best way to future proof your purchase is to think green.
The UK has signed up to a variety of green legislation including the Renewable Heat Incentive due to be met this year, Building a Greener Future which proposes that all new homes be constructed to a zero carbon standard by 2016 and Green Deal which will provide energy makeovers to some 14 million homes by 2020.
In addition, the UK and other European Union member states including France are committed to the Europe 2020 strategy that requires 20% of all energy needs to be sourced from renewable sources.
According to Charlie Williams, business development manager of French eco friendly leaseback property developer, Terresens, thinking green has gone beyond small scale recycling and taking fewer long haul flights.
‘Housing is one of the main contributors to CO2 emissions and we have a moral and legal responsibility to consider sustainable eco friendly alternatives for the properties we own. With increasing levels of EU environmental legislation being passed, potential property buyers need to start planning now to ensure that their investments meet the criteria in years to come in order to avoid incurring heavy operating and possibly redevelopment costs later down the line,’ he said.
‘Indeed for those considering purchasing a leaseback property, where the value of the property is calculated on the income which the property is capable of producing, developments which lack high eco ratings and sustainability features and therefore have higher operating costs as a result, will start to trail behind with regards to rental growth and lead to adverse yield movements,’ he explained.
With energy costs, water management and waste disposal all becoming increasingly expensive, investors who buy sustainable eco friendly properties, such as those provided by Terresens, will see lower CO2 production, lower operating costs and therefore higher income margin and increased property value,’ he added.
Anwar Harland-Khan, chief executive officer of Sustain Worldwide, a membership organisation of global developers and professionals whose mission is to raise awareness, share vital knowledge and catalyse business growth in sustainable development, architecture, design and living, believes that eco homes are the future of residential property worldwide.
‘It stands to reason because the sustainable homes being built today are stylish, beautifully finished, warm and light spaces. Not only are they attractive, they are cheaper to run because they require less heating and cooling than a conventional house, they are better insulated and fitted out with ‘hands off’ energy saving applications. What’s more they will appreciate in value faster because eco homes are more future proofed than a traditionally built existing house,’ he said.
With environmental impact at the very heart of Terresens, each development holds an ecological rating out of 150 enabling buyers to make an educated choice. For example, La Chapelle in the traditional Alpine village of Ste Foy boasts a rating of 112 due to the use of natural building materials, water retrieval and sustainable management. Similarly the completed Les Mazets de Ventoux residences in Malaucene scored an eco rating of 89 due to use of only natural products and eco friendly building principles such as bio paint, renewable electricity and treatment of green areas.
One common objection against eco homes is the perception of a higher price point. This might be correct in some cases, but Terresens said it ensures that all properties are priced in line with the current market.