RICS: ‘Considerable’ Importance Placed on Sustainability

Sustainability is on the minds of most real estate clients. That’s according to the fourth quarter Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors Global Property Survey, which found that the vast majority of real estate agents believe that their clients place “some to considerable” importance on the topic.

March 22, 2010
By Allison Landa

Courtesy Flickr Creative Commons user joka2000

Sustainability is on the minds of most real estate clients. That’s according to the fourth quarter Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors Global Property Survey, which found that the vast majority of real estate agents believe that their clients place “some to considerable” importance on the topic.

Chinese, South African and Japanese clients were found to place particularly heavy importance on sustainability issues. The Chinese were most concerned about transportation issues and energy efficiency, as did the South Africans. The Japanese reported most interest in energy efficiency and land contamination. Client demand was the prime reason driving Chinese clients’ sustainability agenda, while the business bottom line was the prime reason for the South Africans and marketing purposes was the most important reason for the Japanese.

Overall, most respondents – 28 percent – cited the business bottom line as most important for driving sustainability, followed by client demand (16 percent) and marketing purposes (14 percent). The least important considerations were the natural environment (8 percent) and ethical/moral issues (7 percent), unchanged from the third quarter survey.

The survey noted considerable country variation within issues, particularly amongst that of the business bottom line. It was found to be least important in Germany and Japan, while it was most prominent in Poland and New Zealand.

On average, oil companies and government departments reported willingness to pay higher premiums to occupy sustainable buildings, with the highest premiums offered to occupy sustainable properties paid by Japanese and Mexican oil companies. Amongst government departments, those in the U.S., the United Arab Emirates and Canada were willing to pay the highest premiums. Russian and Mexican investors and occupiers reported willingness to pay the highest premiums to acquire and occupy commercial properties.