Insulation one of key must-haves

Last updated 11:16 30/11/2013

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Buyers say they value a sunny home and good insulation over a nice kitchen and open-plan living areas, writes LIZ McDONALD .

Energy-efficient homes are not just more pleasant to live in and easier on the bills.

If we believe what buyers say, they are more valuable as well.

A recent survey of Kiwi buyers, done by green rating agency Homestar and website realestate.co.nz, found that most would put a price premium on energy efficiency.

Ninety per cent said high levels of insulation and an efficient heating and cooling system such as a heat pump would justify a higher price tag.

More than half the buyers also said features including double glazing, solar panels, energy efficient fixtures and water conservation systems should add to the price of a home.

About a third considered that a house being built from sustainable or eco-friendly materials was important, with close to that number valuing water-saving features such as rain water tanks.

The annual survey of almost 6000 people was aimed at gauging what features people see as important when househunting.

"It's good news that Kiwis are taking such a strong interest in how well their home performs," said Leigh Featherstone of Homestar.

"We're seeing a real appetite for good advice and information."

Homestar, as non-profit agency run by Branz and the New Zealand Green Building Council, was set up to improve the performance of New Zealand homes and has an online tool for rating houses on their green features.

Paul McKenzie of industry and real estate institute owned website realestate.co.nz said it was clear that such features were "increasingly important" to home buyers.

Prospective home buyers surveyed rated house orientation to the sun as the single most important aspect for energy- efficiency, with 86 per cent of respondents rating it as important. Almost as many pointed to the value of good insulation.

Other than eco-efficiency, important features identified included off-street and covered car parking, which were rated important by almost threequarters of buyers.

At least half were looking for at least three bedrooms, storage space, indoor-outdoor flow, a good kitchen, a quiet street location, an outdoor entertaining area and open plan living.

BUYERS' WANTS

1. Facing the sun

2. Plenty of insulation

3. Off-street parking

4. At least 3 bedrooms

5. Garage or carport

6. Enough storage

7. Indoor-outdoor flow

8. Quiet street

9. Outdoor living area

10. Open-plan living

11. Big section

12. Nice kitchen

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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