AUSTRIA - Environmental credentials and energy efficiency are influencing property decisions increasingly, according Austrian estate agent EHL Immobilien.
An analysis by the estate agent found that offices in Vienna that performed above average in those criteria were significantly more in demand and had lower vacancy rates than similar properties that were less sustainable in 2010 and particularly in the first half of 2011.
Around 70% of new properties that came onto the market in 2010-11 were already classed as green buildings, according to LEED, DGNB, ÖGNI and/or BREEAM standards.
This is in stark contrast to less than 5% of old properties that can be classed sustainable.
Michael Ehlmaier, executive partner of EHL Immobilien, said: "The era of paying lip service is over. In the past, energy efficiency - but also other sustainability factors such as spaces for bicycles ¬- only tipped the scales when properties were equal in all other criteria.
"Today, however, tenants are to a certain extent also willing to pay more rent in return for energy and ecological excellence. In this regard, a modern image is just as crucial as energy cost savings."
However, Ehlmaier said the triggers behind the development had been sharply rising energy costs, which nowadays have a higher impact on operating costs, and the ecological consciousness of tenants who are willing to pay as much as 10% more rent for sustainably certified properties, thereby reimbursing the costs of certification or other measures for property developers.