Banca Nationala Romana prepares a green mortgage product

August 12, 2011 at 1:56 pm | Posted in Legislative Outreach | Leave a comment
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As we have advised our members in the past, the RoGBC has been very active in promoting a “green mortgage” product to the financial industry to dramatically improve the financial case for green building solutions.     This recent article and discussions with the BNR make us very optimistic we will have a very effective tool in helping homeowners get better quality homes and lower energy costs.     Our proposal to BNR and the banks is simple….consider treating scientifically proven monthly energy savings as equivalent to an increase in a person’s income when calculating available loan amounts.

For more information on our efforts, read the article below and check out a past RoGBC event blog post.

Translation of article from http://www.media.imopedia.ro (http://media.imopedia.ro/stiri-imobiliare/bnr-lucreaza-la-un-credit-mai-ieftin–creditul-verde-17127.html )

BNR is getting ready to launch a new type of credit line: a green mortgage for energy efficient buildings. The National Bank of Romania has been approached for a long time by different investors who supported this proposal and according to specialists on the market this product should be ready in only a few months. The main advantage of a green mortgage consists of easier payment of the installments due to reduction of energy costs.

With a green mortgage, the client can afford to pay half of an installment extra.

The idea that a family cannot spend more than  a third of their income for the monthly installment determined The National Bank of Romania and the real estate developers to offer new financing solutions. Thus the idea of a green mortgage came up, initiated by the Romania Green Building Council. The pilot-project implies the existence of a consortium  between a bank, a real estate developer, client and an energy auditor. The bank will provide additional financing for  the energy efficiency features. Such a consortium creates a mechanism that allows for the energy efficiency savings to be transferred from the developer to the home buyers without any financial impact. The banks role is to allow the energy efficiency improvements to pay for themselves and to reduce both the initial financial risk of both the developer (who gains certainty of a market for the higher performing building) and the home buyer (whose upfront investment is minimized).

“To put it simple, if a family earns 500 euro/month, they can’t afford an installment higher than 150 euro/month. The main reason for this consists of high monthly expenses. They have to warm up during the winter or to cool down their dwelling during the summer. For a regular 2 room apartment, the utilities cost is as expensive as the installment or the rent is, more precisely it can get up to 150 euro/month. For a green building, utilities and  maintenance cost  should not exceed 75 euro.”, says Andrew Prelea, CEO Ozone Homes and member of Romania Green Building Council.

This being said, instead of being able to pay 150 euro to the bank, a client should be technically capable of paying 225 euro. The house becomes cheaper due to the difference made by energy savings and the client can pay more every month for buying a house, because saves him money on the long term. As a consequence it is possible to buy a better house and a sustainable one with the same income.

The green mortgage product can be a stimulating solution for the economy during the financial crisis

In case this plan is going to be successful, more and more developers will be more involved in high energy efficiency residential buildings. The banks are open to such a product as the European  trend is to strenghten the regulation regarding the energy performance.

“Of course, this kind of product implies a change in the banking policies. Romania Green Building Council has been working on this project for two-three years and we have a very positive feedback from BNR. They understand that changing the legislation is a must when times are changing. We are looking forward for an answer in the next few months.”,  continues Andrew Prelea.

However, as any pilot-program, this one has its risks. The first main issue might be the lack of demand, on one side because of the economic environment and on the other side because of the new products skepticism. Also, the energy savings can be over evaluated by the energy auditors. When the loan is contracted, the client doesn’t know for sure how good the performance of the devices is. The equipments and the selected materials play an important role. A far away risk is the fall of the energy price, but at the moment where the oil price is constantly rising, this perspective seems to be unlikely. The advantages of such program working properly are generating energy for the whole economy.

“We need legislative  changes with a positive impact. Introducing a change without a negative impact as the green mortgage is, it helps the government. Moreover, it encourages other constructors to build green, because it is cheaper. This system will encourage more people to contract loans, which will stimulate the banking system, will increase the productivity, construction market, and all these together will give a boost to the economy” (Andrew Prelea)

Read the entire article in Romanian here.

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