A start-up mortgage broker is pushing for major lenders to bundle home loans with finance for solar panel and battery storage installation.
Digital mortgage service Uno Home Loans said the move would boost property values. CEO Vincent Turner said banks currently see solar and batteries as distinct from home buying.
“There’s nothing stopping home buyers from asking banks to include solar installation in the mortgage,” he said.
“It’s just that banks won’t treat it any differently to you going and buying a new plasma TV or a jet ski. Banks view it as an expense, rather than as something that potentially increases the value of a property.”
High energy prices and low-interest rates mean new home owners can save through solar panel and battery storage installation.
Uno calculated the costs using NSW feed-in tariffs and energy costs, plus current record low-interest rates. They concluded that a homeowner with a $600,000 mortgage who borrowed $16,544 to install solar and storage would be more than $1,800 better off each year.
“Our argument is that lenders should treat solar differently, given it adds value to the home and improves the cash flow,” Mr. Turner said. “This is how negative gearing is treated, for example.
“This has come about because we’ve reached a tipping point of high energy costs combined with low-interest rates,” Mr. Turner told One Step Off The Grid this week.
“Solar now makes sense financially even for those people who need to borrow to fund the installation. Solar and storage mean the cash flow of house will be better. So why wouldn’t they factor that in?”
Mr. Turner described solar installation as “home improvement” for home buyers. But there is a negative side to increase the size of the mortgage that could put off some buyers.
“People who are already at an 80 per cent Loan Value Ratio; that is, they have 80 per cent of their property’s value against a mortgage, might be hesitant to add the cost of solar installation to a mortgage because they’ll be subject to mortgage insurance.”