With energy costs rising, it’s unsurprising that home owners are increasingly looking to make energy-efficient upgrades, or better yet, to buy one with existing features.
As a result, advertising featuring terms like “solar”, “battery” and “off-grid” have been rapidly increasing in marketing campaigns, both as a result of more properties boasting these features, as well as the industry catching up to their desirability.
Nerida Conisbee, Ray White’s chief economist, explained: “All terms saw a significant increase in the 12 months to May 2020 and the 12 months to May 2022. ‘Solar’ was the most popular term. The significant occurrence of this word is driven by significant take up of solar panels over a prolonged time period, at times boosted by generous government incentives.”
But what many agents may not realise is that the specifics of energy efficiency systems are becoming more of a selling point.
“The term that had the biggest uptick however was ‘battery,’ increasing by 85 per cent over the two year time period. This no doubt reflects that while solar panels are good for energy efficiency, being able to store that energy is an even better outcome,” Ms Conisbee said.
Self-sufficient properties similarly seem to be becoming increasingly prized.
“Off grid is still not all that common but also saw a decent pick up over the two year time period,” she added.
The frequency in appearance of these terms also provided some insight into where and why Australians have been more likely to take up energy efficiency measures, as well as perhaps the areas where savvy agents have caught on to the popularity of these modifications.
Properties with advertised solar showed up most frequently in the Melbourne suburbs of Tarneit, Sunbury and Perth’s Baldivis area. Melbourne was also the most popular spot for homes with battery storage, with the city’s locales of Officer, Berwick and Clyde North being the most likely hotspots for homes with the capacity to store generated power.
Meanwhile, regional areas were more likely to play host to off-grid homes. Glenwood and Daintree in Queensland proved to be popular areas to find self-sustainable properties, as was Mudgee in NSW.
“The suburbs in which we see the highest number of these terms being used shows how much government policy to ensure energy-efficient new homes is working,” Ms Conisbee noted.
“The suburbs with the most listings containing the terms ‘solar’ and ‘battery’ are all areas where we see a large number of new homes being developed. In most states, there are strict requirements for energy efficiency inclusions in new homes.”
But Ms Conisbee warned that while these features are getting people in the door to view homes, they’re not necessarily make-or-break at this point in time.
“As to whether being energy-efficient results in a higher price is more difficult to work out, given that many things like solar panels and batteries can be added to homes at a later date,” she said.
At the moment, the fundamentals are still king: “[Energy efficiency] is unlikely to be as big a factor as location, number of bedrooms or land size.”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Based in Sydney, Juliet Helmke has a broad range of reporting and editorial experience across the areas of business, technology, entertainment and the arts. She was formerly Senior Editor at The New York Observer.