Recent insights from NatWest and S&P Global indicate a significant trend among UK renters: as they brace for escalating rental expenses, a staggering 75% are urging landlords to adopt sustainable measures in their properties. This demand stems from a growing concern over increasing monthly payments and the desire for green enhancements to alleviate financial pressures.
The Greener Homes Attitudes Tracker, a NatWest initiative, has been instrumental in shedding light on the evolving preferences of home renters and buyers towards environmental features and energy-saving improvements. The tracker highlights that renters are not only facing continuous hikes in their monthly outlays but also reveals that a majority (63%) anticipate further increases in the coming year. Amongst these, an overwhelming three-quarters are advocating for landlords to implement eco-friendly improvements in their properties.
A notable disparity exists in property insulation, with rental homes generally lagging behind owner-occupied residences in aspects like tank and pipe insulation (42% compared to 58%) and cavity wall insulation (also 42% compared to 58%).
Homeowners, too, are considering sustainable modifications, though financial constraints and potential disruptions are cited as key obstacles. Approximately 20% of homeowners have plans for green upgrades within the next year.
The financial burden of energy bills has also come under scrutiny. Data from the final quarter of 2023 indicates that nearly a quarter of households with both mains gas and electricity spend between £100-£149 monthly on energy bills. This equates to an annual expenditure of £1,200-£1,788, or the cost of around 21 Netflix subscriptions. A further 18% of households find themselves in the £150-£199 monthly bracket, translating to £1,800-£2,380 per year.
Other findings from the tracker include a perception that the UK Government is sluggish in facilitating the green energy transition, with over half of the respondents echoing this sentiment. On a positive note, the past year has seen an uptick in environmentally conscious practices like regular use of public transport and recycling of clothing through platforms like Vinted or Depop. Additionally, the interest in solar panels varies regionally, with London leading the charge.
In response to these trends, NatWest has launched the Home Energy Hub. This platform is designed to help homeowners understand their home’s carbon footprint and the steps required for sustainable alterations, including financing options. It addresses common hurdles such as locating reliable local contractors and figuring out financing, and even features an affordability calculator.
Lloyd Cochrane, Head of Mortgages at NatWest, emphasises the significance of this initiative: “Cost and disruption continue to be major barriers for homeowners looking to make sustainable changes to their homes. We’ve also seen from latest data that renters are increasingly calling for landlords to address the energy efficiency of their properties. The Home Energy Hub is our solution to help homeowners navigate these challenges more efficiently.”