March 9, 2021

Green mortgages, an unknown product with discounts for the client



Sustainable financing is taking off in Spain and with it green mortgages, a little known product that links the interest rate with the energy rating of the property and offers cheaper loans to promote a new work or to reform real estate already built.

These loans are aimed primarily at promoters, with the possibility of subrogation to the buyer of the home, and reward low consumption of buildings with an interest rate below the normal market, but can also be requested to carry out reforms in homes already built and make them more efficient

For that, the energy rating, which is validated by the autonomous communities, is key, but there are also several sustainability certification companies, such as the British Breeam or the German Passivhaus.

The requirements to acquire these seals are still much more demanding and evaluate, above all, the demand for both heating and cooling, insulation, materials and waste treatment, among many others.

At the moment, in Spain there are a total of 566 buildings certified with the Breeam seal, and more than 100,000 square meters certified by Passivhaus in 350 homes and public spaces.

Breeam was the first sustainable building certificate in the world and assesses 49 different requirements with which it gives a score between 1 and 5 to a property, although it is not necessary to comply with all of them in order for the property to be classified as sustainable.

However, there is no conclusive data on the number of green mortgages in Spain, partly because it is an incipient market that is expected to increase taking into account the greater commitment to sustainable buildings and the delay with respect to Europe.

The fundamental requirement to access a green mortgage is based on the energy rating of the building, issued by a technician and mandatory according to current regulations, although it is not clear that all financial institutions require a seal of sustainability such as Breeam or Passivhaus .

The Dutch bank Triodos Bank was the pioneer in Spain in the commercialization of this type of loans in 2013; Since then it has formalized 1,684 green mortgages and last year granted 182 million, 36% more than the previous year.

But it is not the only entity since BBVA and Bankia, for example, have recently taken out financing lines with these products, which in the case of the first entity sells both variable and fixed rates.

For its part, Bankia offers credit to developers with an interest between 0.1 and 0.2 points lower than a conventional mortgage, provided that the building has a Breeam certificate, indispensable with the entity to access this financing.

In the year since its launch, the entity chaired by José Ignacio Goirigolzarri has financed nine real estate developments.

However, the vice president of Asprima, Carolina Roca, has explained to Efe that green mortgages are being used more to make improvements in efficiency and not so much for new construction, since, it has affirmed, if the Technical Code is complied with, the qualification energy is already very high.

In addition, he added that houses with these stamps are quite expensive to build, and although it is fostered more in tertiary buildings and offices, it is not so common in buildings for residential use.

Regarding the profile of the client, the director of the department of sustainability and energy efficiency of the Lobe promoter group, Clara Lorente, has assured that there is no specific buyer profile, but they tend to be young at around 30 years of age.

At European level there are several proposals to encourage green mortgages, such as the plan to promote energy-efficient mortgages (EeMAP), which aims to standardize green mortgages in the continent.

Several banks operating in Spain, such as the aforementioned BBVA, ING and Triodos Bank, or the consultancy CoHispania, are registered with this initiative and also have the support of several institutions such as the European Commission, the World Bank and the European Bank of Investments, among others.

Currently, buildings account for 40% of energy consumption and 36% of CO2 emissions in the European Union, but by 2020 should be zero or almost zero.

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