Morning Briefing: Are green homes the next move for savvy investors?

Despite an increase in interest, environmentally friendly homes are still treated with scepticism... Landlords warned to prepare their properties as bushfire season approaches...

Are green homes the next move for savvy investors?
Despite an increase in interest, environmentally friendly homes are still treated with scepticism according to one of Australia’s leading players in the sector.

Green Homes Australia specialises in building houses that have the smallest possible impact on the environment and is fielding a growing number of inquiries from those concerned about their environmental footprint, but with that comes an increase in people with misconceptions about their finished products.

“We do get a lot of people who think to build a green home it has to made out of some unique, expensive material and it’s going to be more expensive than just going with a normal design,” Green Homes Australia relationship manager Josh Hughes said.

“The other thing we encounter is that people think a house that is more energy efficient is going to mean a house that is less comfortable, but there’s absolutely no reason you’ll have to sacrifice comfort,” Hughes said.

While the idea of green-home may conjure up thoughts of mud-brick and a thatched roof, Hughes said a green home in Australia is more likely to look like a house that is common in other areas of the world.  

“When we talk about designing a green home a lot of it is making sure it’s orientated right on the block, looking at things like eave-length, window design and location and making sure ventilation is right,” Hughes said.

“It’s about being smarter, we want the house to help cool itself in summer and warm itself in winter. You’ll never really be able to get rid of the need for artificial heating or cooling, but we can do a lot to reduce the need.

“The reality is we’re wising up a bit. A lot of the things you’ll see in a green home are technologies and techniques that have been used for a long, long time in places like North America and Europe where temperatures can get a lot hotter and lot colder than what we get here.”

Hughes said Green Homes Australia has seen inquiries about its products triple in the past year, with a range of different people interested.

“It’s a real mix. We get a lot of younger first time buyers who might be a bit more environmentally aware compared to older generations and we also get quite a few investors who think they can take advantage of what a green home has to offer.

“The other group we get are those looking for a tree-change. They might be people looking to retire or families looking to get out of the city and save by living in a more energy efficient house.”
In depth: Why you're worth the risk 
MPA looks at the risk involved in broker-sourced loans and why lenders continue to advocate for the channel. 

Landlords warned to prepare their properties as bushfire season approaches
While it isn’t officially summer, landlords have been issued a timely reminder to ensure their properties are ready for the upcoming bushfire season.

Temperatures in some parts of Australia are expected to reach close to 40 degrees late this week, an occurrence that could become more common this year, with predictions from the Australian Bureau of Meterology (BOM) of a hot and dry summer.

The current BOM outlook from November through to January predicts a period of above average temperatures and below average rainfall for much of the country.

“The risk of bushfire increases as the mercury jumps in the warmer months, especially with the Bureau of Meteorology predicting a hotter than average summer,” Raine & Horne executive chairman Angus Raine said.

“There is very little we can do about our harsh summer climate, however there is plenty we can do to ensure our homes are safe this bushfire season, whether we live on Sydney's leafy North Shore or near a major National Park,” Raine said.

Rosemary Alexander, owner and licensee of Roses Property Management, agreed and said preparing a property for bushfire season doesn’t have to be an arduous task.

“The main thing is making sure the property isn’t too cluttered and is neat and tidy,” Alexander said.

“Things like making sure the gutters are clean, any trees or plants that are overgrown are trimmed back and there are no piles of leaves or other vegetation lying around,” she said.

While turning a property from a fire hazard into one that’s fire safe may not be the world’s hardest task, Alexander said it’s just another area where having a good property manager can make life easier.

“It’s just another thing where you’ll see the benefits if you have a good property manager,” Alexander said.

In depth: Are Corporate Retreats worth it?
Nikki Fogden-Moore explains why strategic escapes are essential for creativity, performance and leadership.