New Zealand Property Investors' Federation

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Buyers want any colour, so long as it's green

Eco-friendliness, rather than appearance, is now top of the wishlist for home buyers, according to a survey.

By Susan Edmunds

The study, run by and Homestar was timed to coincide with the New Zealand Green Building Council’s Sustainable Housing Summit, which opened in Auckland today.

It asked 1700 home buyers what they were looking for in a property. chief executive Alistair Helm said the survey was the first of its kind in New Zealand.

"There is a widely held opinion that the aesthetics of a home are what matters most to home buyers. This survey shows the reality that this perception is changing, and that features that provide a warm and dry home are fast rising up the shopping list for buyers."

Helm said the survey reported the number one feature that homebuyers judged as most important was the orientation of the property to the sun.

More than half of those surveyed regarded this as of '"very high importance'', with a further one third rating it as "high importance".

Helm said: "This compares to the importance of, for example, an 'attractive gourmet kitchen', which scored just 16% on the scale of 'very high importance' with 34% judging it being of 'high importance'."

Investors wondering what to spend money on in renovations could take note of some of the findings.

Helm said:  "It is especially notable that insulation surpassed other aesthetic features such as a third bedroom, off-street parking and the ubiquitous 'indoor / outdoor flow'."

And being eco-friendly may be beneficial for sellers' pockets, too.

Helm said: "What was staggering was that of those questioned who were looking to sell their property or had recently sold, 88% believed that there was the potential for a price premium for properties that could demonstrate performance features such as energy, water and heating efficiency."

Helm said the survey then sought to find out what type of features would most affect this perception of a price premium. The big three items were high levels of insulation, efficient heating and cooling system and double-glazing.

Judged lower - on a 'importance' rating scale of 1 to 5 - were low-energy lighting, fixtures and fittings with low toxicity.

"As for signals of value for buyers and sellers, at this stage it appears to be very much around tangible items that can be seen and touched as opposed as to the environmental performance measures behind the features," Helm said.

Tags: sustainable housing summit - alistair helm