Stamp duty reduction could isolate homes with poor EPCs
Homeowners of properties with poor EPCs (Energy Performance Certificates) could be left behind if new stamp duty reductions rewarding ‘green homes’ are introduced.
Recent proposals by the Energy Efficiency Infrastructure Group (EEIG) have suggested people who buy eco-friendly homes should benefit from paying less stamp duty.
They have written to the Chancellor calling for an Energy Stamp Duty Incentive which they believe could lead to more sustainable new homes and a substantial increase in retro-fitted owner-occupied homes. The higher the EPC rating, the higher the rebate, meaning the lower the stamp duty that is paid.
Experts at Dice welcome incentives around sustainability, but say this idea might destabilise elements of the housing market.
Raj Somal, Director at Dice said: “While it is always good to try to come up with ideas surrounding incentives for sustainability, this idea misses the mark a little.
“Encouraging people to buy a home with a good EPC to qualify for a reduction in stamp duty does not necessarily solve the problem of homes with ‘poor’ EPCs. It may leave the owners of these homes struggling to sell, when competing with homes that are greener - leaving them trapped in the housing market.
“And if people can’t afford to make the necessary changes to their homes to improve the EPC rating, this incentive does little to help them out.”
Dice feels that a better solution would be to introduce specific grants for home improvements, giving all homes the chance to be more sustainable rather than furthering the market gap between ‘green’ homes and others.
Homes contribute an estimated 20 per cent of carbon emissions in the UK, and older homes lose a lot of energy. Homes without proper insulation may need to produce more carbon emissions to keep the house warm, so insulating your home is vitally important in keeping those energy emissions low.
Dice feels that money and legislation is needed to help bring existing homes with poor ‘green credentials’ up to scratch, so they are at a similar level as new builds which are now being built to the highest environmentally-friendly standards.
The company cites its current work with Trent Basin, where its engineering expertise is helping to develop a sustainable neighbourhood in Nottingham, utilising MMC, and made up of low carbon homes and apartments, with the complex also set to be car free.
It says existing homeowners can boost insulation, update their heading systems and explore sustainable energy tariffs as a way to boost energy efficiency. If budgets make this difficult, lifestyle changes such as switching off appliances rather than leaving them on standby and washing clothes at cooler temperatures can all help in the battle to save the planet.