Low pollution levels increasingly important for buyers in London

by Housesimple on 5th May 2015

London buyers get picky over pollution

According to the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA), clean air has become another box to tick on London property purchasers' wish lists, as residents seek to escape the increasingly toxic air in the capital.

The scale of the problem

Speaking to The Evening Standard, NAEA Managing Director Mark Hayward compared the importance of local air quality to energy efficiency. While it's not quite a deal-breaker, like schools or parking, two important pieces of information are likely to mean pollution is increasingly crucial to buyers' decisions:

  • Londoners aren’t moving as often, meaning buyers are looking for properties they'll be happy in for a long time.
  • Pollution levels aren't expected to start falling to safe levels until 2025.

Assessing your area

On a superficial level, properties that are close to busy roads, factories and other industrial areas will automatically fall foul of some buyers. However, the most accurate way to tell how your home value is affected by air quality is by digging into local data and comparing your area to the rest of the city. There are lots of helpful online resources for this, including:

  • HowPollutedIsMyRoad.org.uk. An overview of pollution levels across the capital, broken down by road and school.
  • Londonair.org.uk. Detailed breakdowns for major roads in the city. This site lets you check the levels of specific pollutants on a particular date.
  • Gov.uk. The official government website has a handy questionnaire that will help you get access to government-sourced data on air quality, landfills, river pollution and more.

Addressing the problem

You can't control the local traffic but, if you're worried that pollution might affect your house sale, there are other ways to reassure potential buyers, including:

  • Structural features that help seal your home against pollutants. Patrick Bullick, Managing Director of STANLEY Chelsea, recommends adequate window insulation, and door seals are just as important.
  • Local authority plans to tackle pollution. Keep an eye on what your council, and the Mayor, are suggesting and whether it might boost buyers’ optimism for your area.
  • Greenery. Trees on the street, a healthy green garden and even indoor plants, such as aloe vera, purify the air and leave a good impression. 

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