As we see our cities tackling air pollution, we understandably first turn to the health of their citizens. Katie Morley writes in The Telegraph about another concern, the impact on house prices. Have you experienced this?
High pollution is reducing house prices by 15pc as buyers reject ‘unhealthy’ homes
Property listings will include traffic light-style pollution warnings in the near future, experts have predicted as they said poor air quality can knock up to 15 per cent off house prices.
Pollution has become a top concern among potential buyers, who are snubbing “unhealthy homes” and have started using sophisticated pollution websites to track air quality.
The trend has prompted calls for new rules which force estate agents to publish traffic light style pollution warnings alongside energy efficiency ratings in property adverts.
A toxic air alert was issued for the first time in London over “very high” pollution levels, sparking major public concern over the health impacts of living in congested areas.
Nearly 9,500 people died early in a single year as a result of long-term exposure to air pollution in London, a Kings College London report claimed.
It is the first time in modern history that air quality has become so important to home buyers that it is significantly affecting the price they are prepared to pay, property professionals told The Telegraph.
Concerned buyers have started actively researching granular data through websites which let them track air quality at individual postcodes, they said.
Henry Pryor, a professional home buyer and property agent, said: “Home buyers used to have a blaze attitude to air pollution but now this has completely changed. People are very concerned and they are suddenly discovering that they can look at two homes at different ends of a street, and one will be more polluted than another.
“I get asked about pollution levels so regularly that I now check it as standard before suggesting a property to clients. If a house is in a highly polluted area, such as near a train line, it might go for a 15 per cent less than a similar property in a less polluted zone.”
In a national effort to reduce pollution in urban areas local councils are introducing penal charges to drive and park diesel cars in high pollution areas.
Meanwhile, the Conservative manifesto is expected to include a “targeted” diesel scrappage scheme to get older, more polluting vehicles off the roads.
Mark Hayward, director at the National Association of Estate Agents, which represents estate agents, said air quality was now “at least as important” as energy efficiency ratings, which are compulsory in residential property listings.
He added: “I don’t think it will be very long before it becomes compulsory to display pollution information on listings. This is already at the forefront of buyers’ minds, particularly if they have children or health problems, and it would be a logical next step. High levels of pollution could depreciate the value of a home by at least 10 per cent.”
Paula Higgins, chief executive of the Homeowners’ Alliance, said: “Giving buyers information about pollution would help them think with their head and not with their their heart. People need to look at pollution levels in a prospective area just as they would when they look at crime rates.”