UPDATED: After years of waiting for “consumer education” to kick in and encourage housing buyers to demand more sustainability features in new housing, there are some interesting green shoots emerging, according to realestate.com.au.

A high performance energy rating is now a key factor for consumers thinking of buying off-the-plan, according to new survey from real estate site realestate.com.au.

The online survey conducted by the real estate company with its more than 10,000 users across Australia asked what features were important for them in purchasing a home off-the-plan (they could select more than one option).

According to the market research, a “5 star energy rating” is the most important sustainability factor for all types of buyers (59 per cent), followed by noise cancelling technology (54 per cent), solar powered common areas (51 per cent), green common areas (41 per cent) and water harvesting features (40 per cent).

“Downsizers” – defined as buyers who’ve owned property before, intend to occupy and are over 50 years old – are the most attracted to sustainability features, with 86 per cent of respondents in this segment considering a five star energy rating important.

Other priorities still rate highly with many buyers

A BBQ, landscaped garden and deck emerged as the most popular amenity (30 per cent), above storage cages in car parks (28 per cent), outdoor pools (24 per cent) and gyms (24 per cent).

Sustainability and energy efficiency features are considered a benefit to buying off the plan to 29 per cent of all respondents.

This fell quite far down the list of benefits, with modern features considered the top benefit to buying off the plan at 40 per cent.

When shortlisting projects, 25 per cent of buyers said that sustainable features were important. This compares to 57 per cent of respondents who look for price and 47 who look for location.

Around 42 per cent look for access to public transport, however.

–A previous version of this story referenced the NatHERS energy rating scheme whereas this survey used “five star energy rating” as a generic consumer-focused term meaning a generally high level energy rating.

Join the Conversation


Your email address will not be published.

  1. Whilst it is good that energy performance is high on the list of sustainability features, I find it disturbing that only 29% of buyers considered sustainability and energy features important. Yet when they move into the home find they are spending thousands of dollars each year in additional energy costs in an effort to keep the home comfortable, due to poor orientation or overuse of thermally inefficient glazing. Hopefully one day the penny will drop, but glad to read this article it is a positive step forward.

  2. Thank you for alerting us to this Sam, there should not have been a reference to NatHERS. The use of a “5 star energy rating” was used as a consumer term to denote a highly performing rating.

  3. I’m not sure if I’ve misread the article but if off the plan is new homes, it strikes me as odd that the expectations of buyers for NatHERS ratings is at or below the minimum NCC requirement which is currently 6 stars, or for apartments an average 6 stars with minimum 5 stars for any one dwelling. If that is the case (that buyers expect the minimum requirement) then that is not really a sustainability feature that buyers want – it is what they will get under current building regulations.

  4. We provide prefabricated houses from Europe and achieve NatHERS ratings of 7,5 stars. Insulation standards are simply so much higher in Europe and it’s refreshing to see that it’s now also an item on consumers wishlist here in Australia.

  5. Thank god, the message is finally getting through. All we need now is the industry bodies to read this and maybe start promoting efficient housing instead of bagging the idea.