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Homeowners fail to make green changes amid cost concerns 

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Three in five home sellers have not made green improvements to their properties, new research has revealed.

And their reasons for doing so are either because they don’t know what changes to make, or that the improvements are too expensive, according to Rightmove.

This is despite buyers expecting discounts on homes with poor energy ratings in the future.

Buyers are increasingly searching for eco-homes, according to Rightmove with this two-bed Hayling Island detached version for sale for £650k via Hugh Hickman & Son

Buyers are increasingly searching for eco-homes, according to Rightmove with this two-bed Hayling Island detached version for sale for £650k via Hugh Hickman & Son

It comes after the introduction of new government regulations with an emphasis on an increase in the energy efficiency requirement of new homes.

The Future Homes and Buildings Standard means that new homes built from 2025 must produce 75 to 80 per cent less carbon emissions than those delivered under current regulations.

Buyers are also faced with increased energy bills and are increasingly looking at homes that help to reduce these bills – such as those with solar panels.

Rightmove said 41 per cent have already made changes to improve their home.

The remaining 59 per cent said the biggest reasons for not doing so was that they don’t feel the need – at 40 per cent – and the costs being too high – at 33 per cent.

Meanwhile, the overwhelming biggest motivator among homeowners to make changes was to reduce their energy bills.

Buyers are facing increased energy costs, but the property helps with its solar panels - the six-bedroom house is in Great Cornard, Sudbury, and is for sale for £675k via Fenn Wright

Buyers are facing increased energy costs, but the property helps with its solar panels – the six-bedroom house is in Great Cornard, Sudbury, and is for sale for £675k via Fenn Wright 

Rightmove suggested that sellers who have already made changes that have improved the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of their home are pocketing as much as 16 per cent extra on average when selling their home.

It studied more than 200,000 homes listed on Rightmove that had sold twice, with an improved EPC rating the second time.

Those who had upgraded their rating from an F to a C added an average of 16 per cent to the price achieved for their home.

At the same time, those moving from an E to a C banked sellers an extra 8 per cent on average and moving from a D to a C resulted in an average of 4 per cent extra.

This five-bed detached house in Sutton Valence, Kent, also has solar panels and is for sale for £1.15m via Savills estate agents

This five-bed detached house in Sutton Valence, Kent, also has solar panels and is for sale for £1.15m via Savills estate agents

Buyers are already becoming more conscious of green features when looking for their next home, with features such as solar panels and heat pumps proving popular in Rightmove’s keyword sort tool.

Searches for solar panels have risen from position 500 in November 2020 to position 98 in June 2022, and heat pumps have risen from 1,000 to 190.

In addition, there are now 73 per cent more green terms such as ‘sustainable’ and ‘low carbon’ being used by agents as selling points in their property descriptions on Rightmove compared with the start of 2020.

There are also early signs that better rated homes could sell more quickly than poorly rated ones. EPC B-rated houses were the fastest type of home to sell in the last few months – at 30 days -, overtaking EPC D-rated houses for the first time – at 31 days -, although the difference so far is only one day quicker.

The average EPC rating of a home in Britain is a D, so the homes with the lowest ratings of an E to a G are likely to be the first to start seeing buyers trying to negotiate discounts.

However, Rightmove added that the experience of finding and falling in love with a home is an emotional one, with a sale also depending on other features of a property that attract buyers.

In the rental market, there are proposals from the Government to introduce legislation to make landlords improve their homes up to an EPC rating of C.

If this happens it is likely to exacerbate the already severely stock constrained market in the short-term as more landlords sell up, and increase rents for tenants, according to Rightmove.

However, it said this will help to improve the quality of rental homes in the long-term.

HOW TO IMPROVE AN EPC RATING 

There are several ways that you can boost the rating on your property’s Energy Performance Certificate.

Some are cheaper options than others such as replacing light bulbs with LED versions.

They also include more expensive options, such as installing an air source heat pump.

These look like an air conditioning unit on the outside of a building, and work a bit like a fridge in reverse, using electricity to extract energy from the outside air to provide heating and hot water for homes.

They can be expensive to install, costing around £10,000, but families will be encouraged to install the low carbon systems from April with grants of £5,000 being provided.

Here are five ways to improve the rating on your property’s Energy Performance Certificate:

1. Upgrade your lighting to LED light bulbs

2. Insulate the walls and roof

3. Invest in double or triple glazed windows

4. Install an air source heat pump

5. Install a smart meter

Restricted mortgage deals? 

Rightmove went on to suggest that those homes with poor EPC rating could miss out on the best mortgage deals in the future.

Rightmove’s Tim Bannister said: ‘Improving a property’s green credentials is critically important as the UK strives to hit Net Zero. The immediate challenge is the sheer number of properties that are currently below an EPC rating of C and the costs involved to fix this.

‘There has been much debate about what could happen in the future to homes with poor energy efficiency, and the Government has said it will make sure these homes can still get mortgages.

‘But I don’t think it would be a surprise if in ten years’ time we see that people taking out mortgages or remortgaging a home with the lowest EPC ratings find that they miss out on the best mortgage rates.’

 We can already see the green price premium when improvements are made

Mr Bannister added that buyers will become more aware of the green improvements that are needed and will factor this in when they consider how much to offer.

He said: ‘It’s likely to be a gradual rather than a swift change, but we can already see the green price premium when improvements are made.

‘Of course, improvements that make a home more energy efficient often also means the condition improves, such as installing new windows. But the end result of making improvements is not just a refurbished home worth more money, it’s often also a greener home.

‘It’s clear that many home-owners want to make improvements, but the complexity and costs of the changes means that people need more help and financial assistance to know which changes to make and when.

We know saving on energy bills is the biggest motivator to make changes, and in future we’ll need to consider costs for cooling our homes as much as heating them, as we found during the recent heatwave. This opens up more questions about the best systems that people should be installing to futureproof their homes.

Solar panels are also popular on bungalows, with this three-bed property in Tedburn St Mary, Exeter, for sale for £550k via Burgoynes estate agents

Solar panels are also popular on bungalows, with this three-bed property in Tedburn St Mary, Exeter, for sale for £550k via Burgoynes estate agents

Kate Eales, of estate agents Strutt & Parker, said: ‘Where poor broadband became a common deal-breaker in recent years, good sustainability credentials are rising up the consideration list, especially in the face of rising energy prices.

‘That said, houses are ultimately homes and character continues to hold huge value for many.

‘What remains to be seen is how affordable and straightforward sustainable changes to period properties will become in the longer term, as this will ultimately help preserve the value of historic homes.

‘If buying a home was purely a financial decision, a house with a strong EPC would be top of the list. But a purchase of a period home is often driven by the heart, and not just the head. EPCs create more transparency so buyers know what’s what when they become the custodian of an older home.

‘We’re beginning to see increasing numbers of sustainable new homes and schemes built in a period style. These sustainable character homes have seen growing popularity in recent months – perhaps signalling a confluence of the nation’s adoration of quintessential looking houses with the rise in cost of living and greater eco-consciousness.’

SERO’s CoFounder Andy Sutton says: ‘The discount that arises from the works that need to be carried out in a home could in the future be considered by a lender when they value a home.

‘If this was the case, a seller would want to know what works are going to be flagged up first, and a buyer might use it as a way to ask for a discount on the asking price.’

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Rishi Sunak’s swimming pool complex at his manor house is pictured as he tries to become the next PM

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Rishi Sunak‘s lavish private swimming pool complex at his North Yorkshire manor house has been pictured as he continues to battle Liz Truss to become the next Prime Minister.

The former Chancellor of the Exchequer, who like Ms Truss is facing questions over how they will deal with the ongoing cost-of-living crisis and spiralling energy prices, has spent £400,000 on the new pool.

He is also building a gym and tennis courts at the £2million Georgian manor near Northallerton, with reports from earlier this year estimating he would have to pay £13,000-a-year to keep the new pool warm. 

However, this figure may have risen dramatically over the last few months as energy prices have continued to surge, putting millions of people in the UK at risk of not being able to pay their bills.

Yesterday Mr Sunak, who has been criticised for building the pool while his local swimming baths in Richmond are forced to close due to rising energy bills, pledged to spend billions more to help people with the cost-of-living crisis.

The former investment banker, who made a fortune before becoming a politician, said there was a ‘moral responsibility’ to offer extra help, while also taking a swipe at Ms Truss’s plans to cut taxes.

He pledged to give more help to pensioners and those on benefits, while also vowing to cut VAT on energy bills – which he said could raise total support for families to around £700 to £800 – while energy bills look set to reach an eyewatering £4,400 after Christmas.

A gym, tennis court and swimming pool complex at Rishi Sunak's North Yorkshire manor house has taken shape after months of construction

A gym, tennis court and swimming pool complex at Rishi Sunak’s North Yorkshire manor house has taken shape after months of construction

The Tory leadership hopeful is thought to have spent in the region of £400,000 on the extension to his Georgian Grad2-II listed property

The Tory leadership hopeful is thought to have spent in the region of £400,000 on the extension to his Georgian Grad2-II listed property

It comes as Mr Sunak, pictured here in a visit to St John's Wood Synagogue yesterday, continues his quest to become the next Prime Minister

It comes as Mr Sunak, pictured here in a visit to St John’s Wood Synagogue yesterday, continues his quest to become the next Prime Minister

The swimming pool at his Grade-II listed manor house, where he typically spends his weekends with his wife and two daughters, has been under construction for several months.

The 42-year-old applied to the local council to build an L-shaped pool house, which will include a hot tub, utility and changing area and plant room, last year.

These plans, which included a 12-metre by five-metre swimming pool, were later approved by the council.

No tax payer money is thought to have been used in building the complex, and there were no objections from people living nearby. 

Reports it would cost £13,000-a-year to heat did not go down well among members of his constituency, especially after the sharp rise in energy bills.

The 42-year-old applied to build an L-shaped pool house, which will include a hot tub, utility and changing area and plant room, last year

The 42-year-old applied to build an L-shaped pool house, which will include a hot tub, utility and changing area and plant room, last year

It will include a tennis court (which can be seen in the bottom half of this picture), as well as an indoor private swimming pool

It will include a tennis court (which can be seen in the bottom half of this picture), as well as an indoor private swimming pool

No tax payer money is thought to have been used in building the complex, and there were no objections from people living nearby before it was approved by the local council last year

No tax payer money is thought to have been used in building the complex, and there were no objections from people living nearby before it was approved by the local council last year

Retired steel worker Leslie Porter, 69, told the Mirror: ‘Some people are having to choose between heating and eating. Bills are all rising and he does this. It’s obscene.’

Receptionist Hayley Hadden added: ‘He is a millionaire many times over and it looks like he is rubbing our noses in it. He doesn’t have to worry about paying his bills.’

It is one of a number of properties owned by Mr Sunak and his wife Akshata Murthy, who is the daughter of one of the richest men in India.

While he was chancellor the family lived in a flat above No 10 Downing Street, but earlier this year they moved to their £6.6 million mews house in Kensington.

The L-shaped pool house, which is under construction after permission was given last year, is set to inlcude a hot tub, utility and changing area, and a plant room

The L-shaped pool house, which is under construction after permission was given last year, is set to inlcude a hot tub, utility and changing area, and a plant room

Reports it will cost £13,000-a-year to heat did not go down well among members of his constituency, especially after the sharp rise in energy bills

Reports it will cost £13,000-a-year to heat did not go down well among members of his constituency, especially after the sharp rise in energy bills

Work has  started on construction of the swimming pool, gym and tennis court at the Sunak's North Yorkshire manor earlier this year

Work has  started on construction of the swimming pool, gym and tennis court at the Sunak’s North Yorkshire manor earlier this year

They also own a £5.5 million home in Santa Monica in California, where Mr Sunak has been tipped to live if he decides to quit politics in the UK.

Mr Sunak, who worked as an investment banker for firms California, India and Britain, including Goldman Sachs, is known to use the Yorkshire property when Parliament is not in session and he doesn’t need to be in London.

As his battle to become the next Prime Minister with Ms Truss heats up, this week the pair exchanged a series of barbs over their approach to the cost-of-living crisis.

The ex-chancellor has been accused by his rival’s camp of ‘Gordon Brown-style politics’ with a ‘socialist tax and spend’ agenda.

In a swipe back at the Foreign Secretary tonight, Mr Sunak suggested Ms Truss’s tax-cutting proposals were not ‘the moral thing to do’.

Rishi Sunak pledged to give more help to pensioners and those on benefits, while also vowing to cut VAT on energy bills to help with the cost-of-living crisis

Rishi Sunak pledged to give more help to pensioners and those on benefits, while also vowing to cut VAT on energy bills to help with the cost-of-living crisis

He also insisted that ‘starry-eyed boosterism’ would not steer the country through the inflation crisis.

In another jibe at Ms Truss, Mr Sunak claimed he would ‘rather lose’ the contest to become PM than promise ‘false things I can’t deliver’.

Both he and Ms Truss have faced calls to pledge further support during the cost-of-living crisis after energy bills for typical households were this week forecast to soar to more than £4,200 next year.

‘I do feel a moral responsibility as prime minister to go further and get extra help to people over the autumn and the winter to help them cope with what is going to be a really difficult time,’ Mr Sunak said.

‘I think that is the right priority.’

Mr Sunak suggested his rival Liz Truss's tax-cutting proposals were not 'the moral thing to do' as he took a series of swipes at the Foreign Secretary

Mr Sunak suggested his rival Liz Truss’s tax-cutting proposals were not ‘the moral thing to do’ as he took a series of swipes at the Foreign Secretary

The Foreign Secretary has faced pressure to match Mr Sunak’s promise of more direct support for families, after she previously steered away from pledging extra ‘handouts’ to ease the cost-of-living crisis.

Mr Sunak’s camp have accused Ms Truss of a ‘major U-turn’ after she today insisted she was not ruling out further cash payments.

But the Foreign Secretary has maintained that tax cuts – and boosting the economy – are her ‘priority’.

Ms Truss’s promise to cancel the National Insurance rise, scrap a planned increase in corporation tax, and remove green levies on energy bills appears to be proving popular with Tory members.

Mr Sunak has warned that Ms Truss’s tax-cutting plans will worsen the inflation crisis and cause interest rates to rocket.

He insisted he was ‘prepared to lose this contest’ rather than ‘saying the easy things’ and not staying ‘true to my values’.

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Window shopping: Stained glass or acoustic? Solid wood or plastic?

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Your front door isn’t there to keep people out, it’s there to welcome them in.

Along with the windows — those peep-holes into your life — the style and colour tell friends and strangers alike who you are and what they can expect when they set foot inside your home.

‘Windows can make or break a space,’ says luxury interior designer Katharine Pooley. ‘They often don’t quite receive the attention they should, which is a shame as with the right ironmongery and a beautiful finish they instantly upgrade the overall aesthetic.’

Inviting: Stained glass windows add colour and personality to a home and tell friends and strangers alike what they can expect when they set foot inside

Inviting: Stained glass windows add colour and personality to a home and tell friends and strangers alike what they can expect when they set foot inside

And yet we spend twice as long selecting a kitchen worktop than we do choosing windows for our house.

So what options do you have to make them pretty as well as practical?

Plastic fantastic?

First off, don’t go for those horrid brilliant white, smooth plastic frames for windows. They often look ugly.

If you have to get uPVC because you’re on a tight budget, then at least get them in off-white with a woodgrain effect — some brands are pretty convincing nowadays.

KJM does a good line — for a double-glazed casement in woodgrain-effect measuring 1,200mm x 630mm, the price is about £275 supply-only.

Heavy metal

The sleek, hip-kid-on-the-block, aluminium-framed windows look up-to-the minute.

And because metal is stronger than wood or uPVC, the frame will be much slimmer, so there’s a larger area for glass.

We’re used to a cool grey colour, but you can have the frames made in any hue you like. So you can have them in forest green, midnight blue or flame red.

The same windows as above in aluminium would be £515.

Colours: You can have window frames made in any shade you like, though grey is popular

Colours: You can have window frames made in any shade you like, though grey is popular

Picture windows

Oh, the fun you can have with stained glass. Coloured designs are usually banished to little fan-lights at the top of doors in late Victorian houses.

But why not have coloured or picture panels in your front windows. You can have a nautical theme if you live by the sea; or an abstract whirl of shapes and colours.

A window with a bespoke design from Cheam Leaded Lights of about 1,200mm x 630mm will cost in the region of £2,500 to £3,000 supply-only.

Modernist style

Crittall windows or doors feature a sharp Art Deco design with slim black steel frames divided into squares. 

They have had a style renaissance over the past few years, somehow looking both up-to-date and classic at the same time.

While the Crittall company still manufactures the official items, you can get them in the same style from a host of other firms.

Crittall’s windows range from £500 to £850 per square metre, including installation.

Upgrade your glass

You can get all sorts of special glass these days. If you live by a busy road, acoustic glass will do better for you than standard double glazing.

Double glazing has two panes of glass with a void between them, whereas acoustic glass has two panes sandwiched together with a thin plastic layer in the middle to filter out more sound waves. 

Polarised glass keeps out the sun’s rays on hot days. And reflective glass turns windows into a one-way mirror so you can look out but passers-by can’t look in. 

Roseview’s Ultimate Rose windows are made from uPVC, but almost indistinguishable from wood.

A 1,200mm x 630mm acoustic glass window costs about £900 supply-only.

Choose wisely: The right windows can make or break a space, according to interiors experts

Choose wisely: The right windows can make or break a space, according to interiors experts

Solid wood

Wooden windows are becoming harder to find as vinyl and fibreglass take over, but they’re durable and can be a charming addition to a home.

Wooden Windows make bespoke timber windows and doors. It’s worth matching the two; after all, there’s nothing quite like the feel of a solid wood front door thudding into place.

It says that your castle is now secure against all onslaught. They do take some maintaining, though — you will have to repaint every four or five years, and there’s the chance of warping, which could make it more difficult to close or lock.

Old English Doors do a good line in hand-made Georgian-style, six-panelled solid oak doors from £4,320 supply-only.

Savings of the week! Rugs 

Temperatures may still be soaring. But the predicted higher fuel bills in the autumn means finding ways to make your home more cosy should start now.

A rug pulls all the elements in a room together. It also provides a layer of insulation, trapping cold air underneath.

Faded: La Redoute’s version in red and blue, pictured, is reduced by 25%, from £59 to £230 (laredoute.co.uk)

Faded: La Redoute’s version in red and blue, pictured, is reduced by 25%, from £59 to £230 (laredoute.co.uk)

Some heartwarming bargains of as much as 50 per cent off are available which, with care, should keep you snug for years. 

The abstract pattern Kista from West Elm in pale grey, blue and yellow would suit a stripped-down decor. It now costs from £112.95 to £519.95 (depending on size) down from £449 to £1,039 (westelm.com). 

The Pollo from The Rug Shop UK is in the same style. It costs from £71 to £224, reduced from £79 to £249 (therug shopuk.co.uk). At Loaf, the Tufty in cream and white is down 50 per cent from £345 to £175 (loaf.com).

The Habitat Byron in dark and pale grey, orange and teal would add zing to neutral interiors; it’s down by one-third to £119.99 (argos.co.uk).

Faded antique-style rugs continue to be fashionable. La Redoute’s version in red and blue, pictured, is reduced by 25 per cent; from £59 to £230 (laredoute.co.uk).

Anne Ashworth

 

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Liverpool ONE welcomes Tessuti (GB)

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Grosvenor has announced that designer retailer, Tessuti, has opened its new global flagship store at Liverpool ONE, demonstrating the brand’s ongoing vote of confidence in the destination. The new location on Paradise Street follows Tessuti’s consistently strong performance at Liverpool ONE and spans two floors measuring 22,000ft². Boasting Tessuti’s biggest store to date, this is four times the size of the previous Liverpool ONE site. The store interiors have been styled with a subtle nod to classic Italian architecture whilst incorporating state-of-the-art technical features, combining classic design with an industrial-chic colour palette and cutting-edge digital screens. Working with local Liverpudlian digital and production agency Liquid, the new Tessuti store has exclusive instore stills and videos showcasing exciting campaigns; the first of which is rumoured to feature Liverpool stars Stephen Graham, Abbey Clancy, Miles Kane and Chelcee Grimes.

 

Aligning with Liverpool ONE’s community ethos, Tessuti’s new global flagship will also support the vibrant community in the heart of Liverpool, championing local businesses through collaborations, pop-ups, and in-store events.

 

Alison Clegg, Managing Director, Asset Management, Grosvenor, commented: “Tessuti’s commitment to Liverpool ONE, through its relocation within the destination and decision to make the new store its global flagship, strengthens our position as one of Europe’s leading retail and leisure destinations. The impressive growth trajectory of Tessuti within Liverpool is a great indication of the potential for success and expansion of other brands that join Liverpool ONE.”

 

Chris Rowan, Director of Brand & Customer Connection at Tessuti, added: “The opening of our global flagship at Liverpool ONE is a huge moment for us. Liverpool is an urban hub for international fashion retailers, so upsizing and relocating within the city’s leading retail and leisure destination was a natural next step. We feel confident that it is the ideal home for our flagship location, and are excited to offer Liverpool ONE’s visitors our most stylish project yet.”

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