Searches for eco-friendly homes surge as energy bills rise

Borrowers now consider green mortgages

Searches for eco-friendly homes surge as energy bills rise

As gas and electricity prices continue to soar in the UK, searches for mortgages which consider a property’s EPC rating grew by 34% in July, according to new data from Legal & General’s SmartrCriteria tool.

“This data shows that some buyers are considering eco-friendly products and making greener choices,” Kevin Roberts, director of mortgage services at Legal & General, commented. “We are still very much in the early stages of the green revolution, but it seems safe to assume that rising energy bills have prompted more buyers to consider the financial benefits of opting for greener homes.

“While volumes remain low for now, brokers and lenders have a key part to play in raising awareness of green products and educating borrowers about EPCs, retrofitting, and other associated factors.”

Read more: Green mortgages in the UK – why 2022 is a breakthrough year.

Legal & General noted that brokers also continued to see high demand from overseas buyers. Searches for expatriates or EU citizens in the UK increased by 25% in July, while searches for borrowers with foreign income also went up by 14%. As in June, most searches were also made on behalf of applicants with a visa. Searches for expatriates that aren’t based in the UK also rose by 17%.

Demand for niche products also remained high in July, with searches for buyers looking to purchase retirement properties and second homes climbing by 26% and 17% respectively. With Help to Buy drawing to a close in spring 2023, searches for those looking to purchase a home under the scheme rose by 18%.

Legal & General’s data also confirmed that family members continue to play a crucial role in supporting first-time buyers, with ‘joint borrower sole proprietor’ becoming the sixth most popular criteria point in July.

Roberts said it was reassuring to see the market retain its momentum despite wider economic pressure.

“In some areas, such as the overseas market, demand is even rising,” he pointed out. “This includes an increasing number of expatriates and EU citizens seeking UK mortgages.”