The concept of sustainability is here to stay and its effects will be far reaching. For residential property owners this represents an opportunity to profit from long-term trends and develop skills that enhance both liveability and investment characteristics. Up until recently, sustainability was not necessarily recognised as long-term change. But sustainability will be enduring, with dramatic changes to building regulation, the introduction of emissions trading and rapid technological change. Stuart McAuliffe
Guest Blog: Associate Professor Stuart McAuliffe from Bond University’s Faculty of Society & Design
Sustainability is changing business
We are already seeing the effects of the sustainability trend on the types of consumer items being produced. Companies and businesses that adapt as change is taking place have the advantage. The car industry, for example, has rapidly adapted by producing hybrid and electric vehicles; from novelty to orthodox strategy in under five years.
Energy costs are going up and this has affected choices for consumer items. For example, demand for big energy-using plasma televisions has decreased; who would have thought this hot consumer item would fall out of favour so quickly? There will be winners and losers, making good advice and a proactive attitude of paramount importance.
Sustainability will become the law
Rising energy prices are a long-term trend that is being reinforced by sustainability policies including regulation, legal requirements for power companies to provide 20% of their power from renewable sources, and a carbon tax. However, energy was rising rapidly anyway due to depleting resources and very high infrastructure costs of refurbishing old power stations and building new ones.
Sustainable living will lower energy costs
Ironically, the sustainability regulations are likely to result in lower power costs over time as we adopt new measures and strategies to reduce power use and adopt renewable technologies. Many of the new technologies are likely to be on-site including solar, wind and fuel cells. The breakthroughs are impressive in terms of efficiency and cost, and this trend is also likely to continue.
Sustainability encourages home ownership
Many of the changes that are occurring will support and favour home ownership and reinforce the home as the primary investment. This is a worldwide trend and supported by other social trends that are observable. These include a greater likelihood to work all or part of the week from home.
This is readily apparent from the changing retail landscape, and in the scaling down of expensive office space and the use of smaller offices and open plan work desks. Sustainability reinforces these changes, making the home the likely beneficiary of these far-reaching changes. Sustainability is focused on reducing duplication and increasing efficiency.
A reduction in office and retail is likely to result in an increased allocation of capital to residential property. This is because individuals, families and other groupings of people require a residence and they are likely to be spending more time there, reinforced by technology and lifestyle choices. This may well mean that buyers will not be driven to downsize and despite claims to the contrary, larger homes are a long-term trend that has been going on for a century. Additionally, rising costs will favour adaptation to efficiency and adoption of new energy sources as they become available.
Sustainability changes represent an opportunity to future-proof your property investment, increase your property’s value and enhance liveability.
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