125 Wintles Road in Victoria notes the home’s design draws on sustainable principles. Picture: realestate.com.au/buy

Australian property-hunters are increasingly valuing energy efficient homes, with close to three quarters of recent buyers saying an energy rating was important to them, according to a  report by REA Group.

The report used data from the company’s real estate website as well as a recent residential consumer survey. 

According to the survey, 74 per cent of people said that an energy rating was important to them, of which 48 per cent said it was of extreme importance. Reducing energy bills was the primary reason for concern, followed by environmental impact.

When looking for a property, 81 per cent of people said solar energy was of high importance to them, followed by energy efficient lighting (71 per cent), quality of insulation and air flow (68 per cent) and energy efficient appliances (67 per cent). 

REA Group director of economic research, Cameron Kusher said that despite clear consumer demand for energy efficient homes, only a small percentage of listings advertised sustainable features.

“Most suburbs in which energy efficiency features are being declared are in new housing areas. This is most likely due to the fact that these homes have been built to the minimum energy efficiency requirements, whereas older existing homes have not,” he said.

Since 2013, new apartment developments and stand-alone houses have been required to meet minimum government mandated energy efficiency ratings. 

However a recent study found that four in five new houses were being built to the minimum standard and only 1.5 per cent were designed to meet the economically optimal 7.5 stars and beyond.

In Victoria, 15 per cent of property listings featured a NatHERS star rating, second only to 96.5 per cent for the ACT where it is mandatory to disclose the energy efficiency rating of a home to prospective buyers. 

The report concluded that property seekers wanted to make purchasing decisions based on energy efficiency, however without a nationwide mandate on declaring ratings they were forced to dig deeper to find the information. 

“This report highlights the untapped opportunity for vendors, landlords and builders to consider sustainable and energy efficient features when building, renovating, and advertising to prospective house hunters who are clearly placing importance on these aspects, Mr Kusher said. 

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