Janusz Hooker

28 March 2012 – Real estate agency network LJ Hooker has taken a major step into sustainability by launching an informative website on the concept pitched to consumers with content from a variety of partners including Bond University School of Sustainable Development, the Australian Institute of Architects and the CSIRO.

The site runs a number of articles on practical information.

The Sun Can Help, is a 32 downloadable booklet prepared for the site by the Alternative Technology Association.

There is a free SunLocator App (bundled with the free LJ Hooker App) “to track the path of the sun and find the best orientation for your home, room, solar panels, solar hot water or garden.”

And in news on the new American Dream,  there’s an item reporting that a survey in the United States of 1545 people found that “half the respondents said their new dream home would be an energy efficient one. …the so-called American dream home isn’t a super-sized McMansion – it is a green, energy efficient home built with sustainable materials that yield a lower carbon footprint.’”

Other findings included:

  • 50 per cent of people consider green/energy efficient appliances/materials are a requirement of their dream home – it is more popular than perennial favourites such as “building a custom home” (38 per cent), “water views” (38 per cent) and “mountain views” (32 per cent)
  • 60 per cent of those in the market say that green/energy-efficient appliances are amenities they’d like to have in their next home
  • 27 per cent of those in the market say that looking for a greener, more energy efficient home is a significant reason they want a new home

Chief executive of LJ Hooker, Janusz Hooker said the website was intended to “help consumers break down the barriers and have the best information on what matters to them and their home.”

The company sold 40,000 properties a year, he said.

“We believe public awareness on issues affecting Australian property buyers, sellers and renters such as home energy efficiency are important and need to be addressed.”

LJ Hooker and its agents nationally now had access to the latest information on sustainability in the home through its partner network of leading not-for-profit, private and government organisations – all accessible in one place, he said.

Director of the Bond University Institute of sustainable development and professor of real estate, Dr George Earl said the collaboration with the agency would fund research investigating issues relating to the Australian property market, including housing affordability.

Mr Hooker said the partnership was a long term investment in helping the next generation of agents and consumers develop an understanding of the current trends and behaviours of property owners and investors including the growing importance of sustainability, energy efficiency and the impact on real estate.

“The partnership covered a number of components including research collaboration, the exchange of academics and industry experts and a higher level of professional development programs for agents,” he said.

“One of my goals is to improve the professionalism of the real estate industry. Through the partnership with Bond University, LJ Hooker will produce degree qualified agents with invaluable expertise of the growing importance of sustainability, energy efficiency and the impact on real estate,” he said.

In one article posted on the site, Stuart McAuliffe of Bond University School of Sustainable Development says the effects of sustainability will be far reaching and was focused on reducing duplication and increasing efficiency.

“Up until recently, sustainability was not necessarily recognised as long-term change. But sustainability will be enduring, with dramatic changes to building regulation, the introduction of a carbon tax and rapid technological change,” Professor McAuliffe says.

“Many of the changes that are occurring will support and favour home ownership and reinforce the home as the primary investment. This is a worldwide trend and supported by other social trends that are observable. These include a greater likelihood to work all or part of the week from home.

“This is readily apparent from the changing retail landscape, and in the scaling down of expensive office space and the use of smaller offices and open plan work desks. Sustainability reinforces these changes, making the home the likely beneficiary of these far-reaching changes. Sustainability is focused on reducing duplication and increasing efficiency.”

Controversially, Professor McAuliffe challenges recent findings of trends to smaller homes to say that the move to work from home could stimulate demand for bigger homes, but with more sustainable features than in the past.

“A reduction in office and retail is likely to result in an increased allocation of capital to residential property. This is because individuals, families and other groupings of people require a residence and they are likely to be spending more time there, reinforced by technology and lifestyle choices,” he says.

“This may well mean that buyers will not be driven to downsize and, despite claims to the contrary, larger homes are a long-term trend that has been going on for a century. Additionally, rising costs will favour adaptation to efficiency and adoption of new energy sources as they become available.”