The state of the housing nation: what EPCs can tell us about the UK housing market

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The Department of Communities and Local Government have just released some statistics about Energy Performance Certificates completed in 2013 (source 1, below). The results make for some interesting reading, and shed some light on the state of housing in the UK at the moment.

Here’s what we picked out:

one – there’s been a huge increase in EPCs

A total of 2,113,571 Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) were lodged on the EPC Register in 2013. This is an increase of 36% on the previous year. We’d put such a large jump in EPCs down to the reviving housing market we’ve seen over the past twelve months: houses are selling again (thus needing EPCs before they can go on the market) – and at the moment, they’re selling fast.

two – the majority of properties changing hands are for residential rather than business purposes

Domestic properties accounted for most of the EPCs lodged: 64% were for houses, 21% for flats, 9% for bungalows and 2% for maisonettes, leaving only 4% for non-dwellings. This also indicates that houses are still king in the UK market: unlike our continental neighbours, the majority of the dwellings being bought and sold are still houses rather than flats.

three – our houses are getting more energy efficient…but slowly

In 2013, 7% of domestic properties received a rating of A (the highest) or B; 70% were given a rating of C or D, and 23% were given a rating of E, F or G (the lowest). This is roughly the same as the results for 2012 (8%, 72% and 20%, respectively). In comparison to 2008, the earliest year on the EPC register, a larger percentage of properties moved from the bottom category into the middle (in 2008, 10% received an A or B rating, 58% received C or D, and 32% received E, F or G). (See source 2, below, for the figures in full.)

However, these Energy Efficiency Ratings are based on fuel costs, which have also increased significantly since 2008 (see source 3, below). It seems as though our houses – particularly new build homes – are becoming more energy efficient in an effort to keep up with rising energy prices. With energy efficiency technology developing so rapidly, and efficiency legislation demanding more from our properties, we hope that the industry can tip the balance in favour of sustainable housing and lower energy consumption in years to come.

Sources:

1.

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/307149/EPB_Certificates_-_Experimental_Official_Statistics_Release_April_2014.pdf

2.

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/monthly-domestic-energy-price-stastics

3.

http://www.parliament.uk/briefing-papers/sn04153.pdf‎

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