Sustainable Property Developments

Eco-Conscious Investment opportunities with pazazz…

GEORGE Clooney hangs out at an eco resort so exclusive its name dare not be mentioned. Leonardo di Caprio’s a fan (he owns an eco island), Julia Roberts and Brad Pitt too. Even Manchester United footballer Gary Neville is trying to build an eco home in the hills outside Manchester.

Yes, green has become the new luxury it seems when it comes to our homes. So fashionable have eco homes and products become, Livia Firth, wife of actor Colin of Bridget Jones and Mama Mia! film fame, has opened a shop called Eco in trendy Chiswick in west London. The 41-year-old, mother of two boys, started the business Eco-Age nearly three years ago, and it has become a de-rigeur place to shop for west London eco-aware ladies. Anwar Harland-Khan, CEO of Sustain Worldwide, which is a collective of the world’s leading sustainable property developers and professionals, said: “The sustainable homes of today are stylish, beautifully finished,
invariably with warm and light spaces for living. They are also where the smart investment money is being spent these days – it stands to reason. Not only will properties be cheaper to run – because they will require less heating, will be better insulated and fitted out with energy saving applications – they will increase in value faster because the homes are more ‘future proofed’ than a conventionally built existing house. This means costly retro-fitting to bring the property up to standard will be avoided.”

A recent survey by leading estate agent Knight Frank found that 32 per cent of the 142 senior housebuilding representatives polled, believed there will be a value premium for sustainable homes built to the highest standard. (And those guys are the ones who know what’s going on in the housing market.) But if you’re still not convinced, figure in that the house that you live in says as much about you as the car you drive and the clothes you wear. Whether you are male or female, owning a sustainable first, second or investment property demonstrates that you are socially responsible, ahead of the curve and can afford to purchase a state-of-the-art home.

What’s more, sustainable homes are the cutting edge of architectural design: they look and perform like a million dollars. Invariably constructed using sustainably sourced materials, the contemporary sustainable home is often a cool glass, timber and render edifice, which shouts stylish modernity. These homes demand to be looked at and their performance ensures they are taken seriously. Harland-Khan said: “We are at a moment in time when sustainable properties represent great value for money. Right now they don’t necessarily cost any more to buy than a conventional house because the market will not bear a price premium – much to developers chagrin – although they cost more to build and perform better. In time, I predict there will be a price uplift for sustainable homes over and above the market. It’s inevitable. And turning a blind eye to sustainable homes is not an option. It’s the future. It’s as simple as that because sustainable, eco or green (call it what you will), is the way all residential and commercial property is being developed worldwide – whether through government legislation, or because we are all slowly but surely becoming more environmentally aware. So don’t get used to it. Get ahead of it”.

Why sustainable homes are investible now

Five reasons why your next property purchase should be a sustainable new one:

1 – They look a million dollars, baby!
Sustainable homes are the cutting edge of architectural design: they look and perform like a million dollars. Invariably constructed from sustainable sources the contemporary sustainable home is often a glass, timber and render edifice, which shouts stylish modernity. These homes demand to be looked at – their performance ensures they are taken seriously.

2 – Investment uplift – show me the money!

A US study of rental rates and selling prices of Energy Star and LEED-rated (two robust, independent certification methodologies) commercial buildings versus conventional control buildings, 10,000 buildings altogether, found ‘green’ rental rates were 3% higher. Actual selling prices were 16% higher.

3 – They perform well too.
Well-constructed properties will out last poorly conceived and badly built ones, which will maintain and even increase the property’s value for longer at less ongoing expense. Furthermore, properties which are designed and fitted out with appropriately specified and procured renewable energy technologies will have a built in ‘future proofing’ of the asset, providing a competitive advantage.

4 – They save you money and hassle.
Better-constructed properties require less cost-incurring maintenance than poorly built ones. Those that are built to rigorous energy efficiency and environmental standards additionally perform better in energy efficiency and water consumption, which will furthermore save money in operational phases for property owners.

5 – They make you look good – honey traps!
Purchasing a sustainable property demonstrates that the buyer is socially responsible, and ahead of the curve – because he is attuned to sustainability issues, and can afford to purchase a state-of-the-art home. Much like driving a Prius car, owning a sustainable home is a badge of honour for the clued up, forward thinking, urban professional.

This article was written by Gordon Miller, who is the Sustainability & Communications Director of Sustain Worldwide. He also works as a journalist, writing for The Financial Times and Sunday Times, amongst other publications, and is founder of eco homes website www.whatgreenhome.com
For further information about investing in sustainable properties or any of the properties featured in the article, contact Sustain Worldwide on: +44 (0)20 7754 5557 or log on to the website: www.sustainworldwide.com

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