Is a green mortgage really a green mortgage?

 It’s been an interesting couple of hours researching this…. So, 3 years ago I bought and renovated my loft apartment. I wanted it future and green proof, so I had new high grade windows, electric combi green boiler etc etc.  I have just had a new EPC and the is rated as E!!! best will be a D.

 

So I called up the EPC man and questioned this.  His answer was very clear; EPC is not about green it is about low costs to run the property.

 

Good windows and sound insulation lower the rating, but so does a GAS boiler – as it is cheaper to run. Electric storage heaters are also great, as they use night time tariffs, so again, cheaper to run.  An electric green combi boiler adds, as they are more expensive to run even though they don’t need GSC checks and flues.

 

As we all know, a ‘Green’ car is more expensive than a dirty petrol or diesel – so green really isn’t necessarily the cheapest option, which can work against a lower EPC.

 

Now that is clear, what are these ‘Green’ Mortgages.

 

Well the industry is incentivising property owners to look at the ratings on their properties, which is a good thing.  It has to be A-C (or some high street lenders, just A-B) at the point of completion.  They will not lower your mortgage rate after that, even if you reduce the rating.  The reduction can be up to 0.25% pa, so a good incentive for a long term investor; it also covers BTLs, MUFBs and HMOs – some cover new builds, some don’t.

 

So the best option to benefit is when you refurbish your property.  I would highly recommend you getting an EPC specialist round to tell you exactly what is required to get into the lower bracket, best not to assume.  At least this way you know exactly what your options are and don’t confuse new shiny upgrades as positively effecting your EPC ratings.

 

What can you do to benefit from this:

 

It all starts with the refurbishment.  Most investors wanting to add value will go the refurbishment route.  Also, with the climate issues, the green areas will increase, so you really want to future proof your property.

As a wider topic, lender follow the competition; once a lender decides on doing something, then it really isn’t long before the rest will want to be in the party. 

 

If you are buying a property that qualifies for a term mortgage, but is sitting at the E end if the rating, it is worth considering making the changes a condition of exchange, thereby getting a new EPC before completion, therefore benefiting from the lower product rates.