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REIA goes to Paris for climate change crackdown

By Orana Durney-Benson
01 March 2024 | 9 minute read
leanne pilkington jacob caine reb lcc95b

Australia’s national real estate institute is taking action on what they describe as a “golden opportunity” for both our country’s economy and the health of the planet.

Jacob Caine, Real Estate Institute of Victoria (REIV) president, will travel to the French capital in March to represent the Real Estate Institute of Australia (REIA) at the United Nations’ inaugural Buildings and Climate Global Forum.

According to REIA president Leanne Pilkington, climate action is on the minds of real estate professionals and clients alike.

“There are many challenges to adopting more sustainable practices in the built environment, but the emerging evidence is clear that it commands premium outcomes for property owners both for residential and commercial assets,” Pilkington emphasised.

“Energy-efficient homes in the ACT sell for a huge premium: in 2022 this was recorded as up to 99.3 per cent more per square metre,” said Pilkington, who also highlighted the financial benefits to owner-occupiers and tenants amid the ongoing cost-of-living crisis.

When it comes to commercial property, Pilkington noted similar enthusiasm for environmentally sustainable buildings.

She stated: “70 per cent of occupiers are willing to pay a premium to lease sustainability-certified buildings, with 72 per cent of investors believing that green certifications drive higher occupancy, rents, tenants retention and overall asset value.”

As 2025 and 2030 net zero goals continue to loom, Pilkington warned that Australia is still a long way off from hitting the necessary green targets on residential and commercial property.

She noted that consumers, government and the industry itself are all demanding that Australia steps up its game.

Caine said that “the imperative for sustainable development in real estate has never been clearer”.

“The transition to green buildings is not just an environmental necessity but a golden opportunity for Australia to lead in the global shift towards sustainability,” he added.

The REIA noted that their decision to attend the UN Forum aligns with the policy positions on sustainability outlined in last year’s Getting Real 2.0 report, where the REIA pledged to “advocate for and lead sustainable initiatives across institute, agency and asset levels”.

The REIA report particularly emphasised the importance of sustainable property in the lead-up to the national mandatory disclosures scheme.

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