Are green mortgages the next big thing?

3/10/2019

In a world dealing with rising energy costs and increasing climate challenges, “green mortgages” may grow significantly in the near future, helping promote sustainability in our housing stock.

This is essentially the point raised by a new report from Building Research Levy, which looks into the role that NZ lenders and mortgage advisers can play in helping home owners build high-performing, energy-efficient homes.

According to the research, lenders globally are offering incentives to build high-performance homes as part of their mortgage application processes. But in New Zealand, the market for green mortgages is still in its infancy, with only one bank offering incentives for new builds and renovations that meet high energy-efficiency criteria.

The current low market demand may boil down to a lack of awareness and regulations. “This is in effect what has happened overseas, where regulation giving clear criteria for energy-efficient homes has been the driver for changes in consumer behaviour, an improvement in home quality and an increase in green mortgage provisions by banks,” the report reads.

The study also found that the majority of mortgage providers would offer “green incentives” if those were subsidised by the Government, and if improved energy efficiency led to improved serviceability or decreased default risk.

It will be interesting to see what happens in this space, and how our Mortgage Link advisers can do their part in making New Zealand a wealthier and healthier place to live.