Around a quarter of mortgage lenders currently have ‘green’ products promoting improved EPCs – and the vast majority of the rest say similar mortgages are on their way.
The Mortgage Advice Bureau tested 64 major lenders – some 25 per cent currently offer green or net zero mortgages, and of the others 88 per cent say they have plans to do so.
MAB also sought to uncover how many consumers are being offered green mortgages. Of those who have either bought a property or remortgaged in the past 18 months, just 14 per cent had been offered a green mortgage product.
Research amongst borrowers has found that 69 per cent of respondents have not heard of a green mortgage, despite it potentially reducing monthly mortgage payments based on how eco-friendly their property might be.
When asked if they would pay more for a green mortgage, knowing they would be helping with sustainability and the environment, nearly two in five (38 per cent) said they would.
Two in five said they would not pay more for a green mortgage, even knowing it would help the environment. Delving into the reasons why, 24 per cent said they can’t afford to pay any more, 20 per cent don’t want to have to pay any more for their mortgage, and 12 per cent said they already pay enough.
A further 16 per cent said they shouldn’t have to pay more to help the environment and 13 per cent said they don’t know how it will help.
Ben Thompson, deputy chief executive officer at Mortgage Advice Bureau, comments: “Green mortgages are a well-intended product, but they’re only scratching the surface in terms of helping to make the housing market more energy efficient. Existing borrowers, homeowners, and landlords who have properties below a C rating are encouraged to invest their own money to make their homes more efficient and less polluting. However, grants and incentives being offered by government is comparable to a drop in the ocean.
“Retrofitting a property could cost thousands of pounds which most homeowners may not have at hand to call upon. They’re therefore reliant on potentially borrowing against their property, which is where issues bubble to the surface.
“We welcome recent moves by lenders to look more favourably upon borrowers’ affordability based on them buying more energy efficient homes. This makes good sense and we’d like to see more of this positive action.
“However, we need combined industry thinking and innovation to work out how best and who best can influence those properties not meeting A, B, or C ratings to make sure the challenge is being properly tackled. Only then will the real benefits start to be felt.”