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Spanish Property Market Report – Q2 2016

q-reportThis is our 10th Quarterly Report. We have kept it brief and specifically relevant to the locations where Survey Spain is especially active.

As part of the research we have identified a number of wider and national property comments.

Votes and Results

  • Brexit is the biggest item to have hit the market. Prior to the vote on 23rd June 2016, the £ sterling fell slightly, but the principal effects were in potential buyers waiting for the vote before purchasing or committing themselves to purchase, some with a clause permitting them to pull out of the contract in the event of the UK voting to leave the EU.
  • Since the vote there has been a marked drop in British interest, evidenced in this office by 3 pre-acquisition building surveys being cancelled the day after the vote.
  • Foreign exchange companies report that they have experienced a considerable drop in enquiries from UK, but many enquiries from Costa del Sol to transfer funds into sterling.
  • After the vote, the exchange rate dropped by approximately 10% and has maintained that low-level, making property purchase here by sterling buyers that much more expensive.
  • However, for sellers wishing to go back to the UK, they are now going to achieve 10% more sterling when they sell. Accordingly, some sellers indicated that they are prepared to drop their asking price and/or permit negotiation on that price.
  • Whilst the British market is the major one in some areas, it is not by any means the only one and thus buyers from other currencies will have found more bargains.
  • The end result is likely to be a continuing reduction in UK buyers, both due to volatility in the exchange rate, but also, for those intending to take up residence, uncertainty with regard to health care, working rights, tax levels, etc.
  • The political situation in the UK has stabilised slightly with the appointment of a new prime minister who has stated that “Brexit means Brexit” and therefore the perception in the market will be that it is something that we have to deal with. However, there could still be legal and political challenges to it so in addition to the uncertainty regarding the eventual economic environment for UK passport holders, there is continued uncertainty as to whether the UK will pull out of the EU and when that might be.
  • Within Spain, there was also an election 3 days after the Brexit vote, which, as in December last year, was inconclusive in not appointing one party with sufficient votes to govern independently. As before, there is considerable negotiation between the parties, but as of this date there appears to be no conclusion in sight and the Popular Party continues to govern in absence of any decision.
  • This is likely to continue the uncertainty within the Spanish economy and, whilst there are reports of increased demand and resultant property development in the principal cities of Spain, this is unlikely to spread out to the country as a whole due to the continued indebtedness of individuals, banks and the Spanish national economy.
  • Given that the property markets of the Costas are so heavily influenced by international buyers, the areas where these buyers predominate are largely unaffected by Spanish national politics.
  • The exception to this and significantly affected by Brexit, are the areas where Gibraltar residents, workers and investors catering for them have traditionally purchased. These areas are likely to be significantly affected by Brexit, with concerns that the economy of Gibraltar will be severely hit and even the gates to Spain closed as they were in 1969. The Popular Party is also the most strident in its demands for the change of sovereignty for Gibraltar and in continued harassment of businesses, tourists and general personnel travelling to and from and connected with the British colony.

Continue reading

Focus on the bigger picture as uncertainty marks the lead-up to Brexit vote

THE international Spanish property market is now certainly feeling the Brexit effects, writes Campbell Ferguson.

Agents, lawyers and surveyors are noticing that potential buyers and clients are putting off their commitment to purchase until after the result.

FX companies are reputedly expecting a 20% drop in value of the pound against the US dollar if Britain does leave.

It will be large against the euro too, though the EU will have such problems with the UK’s pending departure that the euro could fall just as steeply.

And it will continue to be uncertain for a further two years as apparently there is a ‘cooling off’ period for negotiation, after a decision has been made, during which there is the possibility of any decision being reversed and the UK being ‘permitted’ to stay in.

Can any benefits be worth all that hassle? Some obviously believe so and, as I write, the certainty of the vote deciding to leave, based upon betting money placed, has risen from 15% to 25%. Continue reading

Property bargain or snare in Spain?

WHEN we carry out valuations, we check many sources for information.

We are members of multi-listing websites; we scan the free ones; we check for the address on Google; we check our sales records and other relevant information.

We do include valuations that we’ve done in the past, if at the same urbanisation or pueblo, as they have been prepared based on market information and it also helps with consistency.

We keep our searches to as tight a location as possible and ensure that we are comparing like with like as much as feasible, while accepting that each property is unique in its size, accommodation, services, age, aspect, character and the host of other objective and subjective items that are all put in the valuer’s mind.

These are then ‘sifted’ through and eventually we arrive at an opinion as to what the prudent person in possession of all the facts would pay for one property as against another.

In carrying out all that research we come across a great deal of widely varying information, from inaccurate, fictitious and negligent, to helpful, factual and true.

No one source can be opinion-free as even a cold banking website is there as a selling tool. Sometimes what’s being sold is not just the property, as it can be just an attraction to draw the buyer into another matter.

Banks use the property to attract customers for all their services, such as insurances, monthly income deposits and the like; with the loss the bank might make on selling below the original mortgage level, being balanced by the benefits of bringing in a new, financially sound client, who can be encouraged to take on a high mortgage, perhaps at 110% of the selling price so that all costs are covered too.

At this time of a bottomed market it’s much safer to do that with the potential for values to rise being stronger, we all hope, than for them to fall.

It’s always been one of those strange and illogical occurrences for banks to be tight on lending when a market is down, but splashing their money about when the market, and the risk, is high. The buyer in these circumstances also has to be wary as, if they buy at above the market price and then have to sell shortly after, they are going to take a large hit as they can’t offer mortgages and they will be competing against banks who may be their next-door owner/sellers.

When all the costs of buying and selling are added, would they have been better looking for a non-bank property at a realistic market price and having a choice on the mortgage they could get?

First published in Olive Press, 28th May 2016

Triple threat for supply and demand in Spain’s property market.

Brexit isn’t the only thing causing concern for those looking for property in Spain. There are three items in the news now that are affecting demand and supply in the property market here.

Brexit and the Euro/Sterling exchange rate is the obvious one, the doubts as to the result and its fallout are causing UK buyers and sellers to hesitate.

In addition, the fall in the value of sterling, from the 1.40s to 1.20s/euro in the last three months has made the relative costs of property here much more expensive for UK buyers, but of course better for those wanting to repatriate to UK.

However, the latter will be concerned that there is more reduction in value to come and so may decide to hold onto euro assets until closer to the referendum in the UK on June 23. Continue reading

Quarterly Market Report – 1st January – 31st March 2016

q-reportThis is our 9th Quarterly Report. We have kept it brief and specifically relevant to the locations where we are particularly active.

As part of the research we have identified a number of wider and national property comments.

  • There are three items in the news now that are affecting demand and supply.
  1. Brexit and the Euro/Sterling exchange rate – The doubts as to the result and it’s after effects are undoubtedly causing UK buyers and sellers to hesitate. In addition, the fall in the value of sterling, from the 1.40’s to 1.20’s € euro in the last three months has made the relative costs of property here much more expensive for UK buyers – but of course better for those wanting to repatriate to UK. However, the latter will be concerned that there is more reduction in value to come and so may decide to hold onto euro asset until closer to the referendum in the UK on 23rd A recent letter received from a client confirms this situation – ‘We are concerned that if the UK leaves the EU, then we expect that property prices in Spain may fall considerably and, therefore, we should be grateful for your view as to what the property would be worth in the case of the UK leaving – and in the case of the UK remaining in the EU. If we go ahead with the purchase before the referendum, we are thinking that we need to cover ourselves regarding the price that we agree, to compensate for any likely fall.’ These particular buyer clients have agreed to pay the seller in sterling, which is to the client’s advantage as the exchange rate has changed.
  2. The risks associated with a change of Government in Spain – More than one client and acquaintance has stated that they will sell and move if a left wing Government should be elected. Again, the uncertainty could be causing buyers and sellers to pause until there is a result, which could be before the end of May or, with a new election, at whenever a new Government is established after the end of June.
  3. The Spanish banks are being obliged to update their valuation of assets practice to include regular annual or bi-annual valuations of each individual asset – This has seen Sareb, the Spanish bank rescue bank, announce a write down of their portfolio by more than 2 billion € euro, in addition to the 968 million € euro write down in the past two years. It may be that many private banks will have to do the same, which may result in them lowering the asking price for properties they are trying to sell, thus reducing the market level as a whole. The reduction of asset values also could reduce the banks’ ability to offer mortgages. It could lead to a downward spiral again. See,044-million-in-line-with-its-new-assets-valuation-accounting-standards.aspx The requirement for regular revaluations has also been quoted as one of the reasons for private equity firm Cinvin buying TINSA, the Spanish based tasadores.

Continue reading

Why do bank valuations differ from the buying price?

propvalWITH the Bank of Spain’s proposed modification to Circular4/2004, Spanish registered banks may now be required, at least once a year, to assess the accuracy of all property valuations and reappraise if there is a significant depreciation

This is long overdue and will give many banks a clearer – and possibly scarier – picture of their current investment standings.

The mortgage process in Spain requires a valuation from a Spanish Tasador, who is instructed by the bank.

However, because Tasador valuations are regulated by the Bank of Spain this opens the door for economic ‘tinkering’, resulting in the valuations not being the true market value.  Continue reading

Quarterly Market Report Oct-Dec 2015

q-reportThis is our 8th Quarterly Report, as part of the research we have identified a number of wider and national property matters.
  • Significant expatriate demand has continued on the Costas, with the availability of mortgage finance assisting. With international terrorist incidents happening in other Mediterranean countries Spain is seen as a safe resort. However, this is a fragile situation and it would only take one major terrorist incident on one of the Costa areas of Spain for there to be a significant pause in the rate of demand. However, due to its location and whether advantages, especially with travel times from the UK, Spain is likely to continue to be the top 2nd home and expatriate destination.
  • Anticipated continued demand is evidenced by the significant increase in land sales in prime and good secondary locations. There is a notable increase in construction cranes on the skyline, both for apartment developments and individual villas. The few new developments that have been constructed during the last couple of years are reported to have been selling well, with waiting lists in areas such as San Pedro de Alcántara.
  • However, there is still a substantial amount of property available for sale in all sectors of the market and this prevented any significant overall increase in prices. There are indications, especially in prime locations with few properties available, that prices are definitely hardening and increasing.
  • The prices for resale properties have not shown any significant increase overall, with any reduction in supply due to sales being countered by additional properties coming on the market due to the perceived activity.
  • Some of the demand is coming from speculative purchasers, acquiring properties with the intention of remodelling and renovating and then selling on. Thus the property is not really removed from the market, merely moved up a level.
  • The increase in market activity is also evidenced by the number of estate agencies increasing significantly.
  • However, the costs of acquisition and sale are still high. We anticipate that there will be pressure from the authorities, possibly due to EU pressure, to increase the significance of the energy rating of properties. This is already evidenced by the indication from central government that local property taxes will be reduced for properties with better energy ratings.
  • As we stated in our reports, the Spanish government is now actively working on improving the accuracy of title deeds and tax descriptions, by ensuring that information is combined on the title deed ideally by the inclusion of a plan. Since November 2015, where there is any significant change to the property or discrepancy between the descriptions, the owner is obliged to have a topographical survey carried out both of the building and of the land with that plan then being approved and attached to the title document and used as the basis for the Catastral. Given our experience of the majority of properties having such discrepancies, it is anticipated that the requirement to carry out this work will only become evident to many sellers close to the exchange date, thus causing delays and additional costs, some of which may be negotiated to be a liability of the purchaser. We anticipate that this could slow down the market to some extent.
  • We have not noted any significant effect upon demand due to the current political uncertainty within Spain, but should there be a radical change in either political direction this again could cause some pause in demand. As it is perceived that the government sees property as a relatively ‘soft’ target for money-raising, there is concern that a more radical governmentcould increase transfer and running costs, thereby risking a diminution of demand.
  • We also refer you to comments made in the last quarter statement, many of which still apply.
  • Survey Spain is recording prices and valuations throughout our Network. Due to the limited number of properties and the even fewer number of reliable sale figures, we are only able to provide a meaningful analysis of prices and values for some Provinces this quarter. However, as before, we have commented on the majority of the areas relevant tothe Bank, with the opinion sourced from our valuers, agents and other sources in the areas.
  • In addition, where we have sufficient information, we have subdivided provinces into smaller areas.
  • As this is the area with most activity, we have been able to provide more information on the Costa del Sol market.
Analysis of Statistics
Note that the rates per square metre may be averaged from a small number of properties in some cases. We have continued to supply these as we believe that they will show a trend over a number of quarters, whilst the variation between one quarter and the next may be ‘out of step’ with the perceived trend
Value per sq m for this quarter.
  • There is a substantial range over the whole area.
    • The highest is an apartment in Marbella valued at 10,000€ euro/sq m, although there were considerable doubts as to its size and description. Lesser values of approximately 6,500 to 6,800€ euro/sq m were recorded also for apartments elsewhere in Marbella and on Majorca and Ibiza.
    • At the other end of the scale, the lowest value of just less than 500€ euro/sq m was registered for a townhouse in poor condition in Alhaurín el Grande, Costa del Sol.
    • Analysis of all the Asking Prices, Buying Price and Valuations over the period from the start of our record for you in 2014 has shown a steady decrease and currently indicates the following-
      • The % difference between Asking Prices and actual Buying Prices –
        • 3rd Quarter 2014                      -15.80%
        • 4th Quarter 2014                      -11.41%
        • 1st Quarter 2015                     -18.64%
        • 2nd Quarter 2015                     -10.73%
        • 3rd Quarter 2015                      -8.72%
        • 4th Quarter 2015                      -8.93%
  • The % difference between Asking Prices and our Valuations –
    • 3rd Quarter 2014                      -20.65%
    • 4th Quarter 2014                     -19.43%
    • 1st Quarter 2015                      -16.55%
    • 2nd Quarter 2015                     -17.09%
    • 3rd Quarter 2015                      -14.26%
    • 4th Quarter 2015                    -22.64%
    • (The variation in the trend is most likely due to its relating to only 4 properties where we have carried out valuations AND are aware of an asking price. One of these properties had substantial problems, which may not have been reflected in the asking price, but was in our valuation.)
    • Over the entire period our valuations average 93.29 % of the Buying Prices, which is a poorer result than we would have hoped. It may be that it is a reflection of increasing market demand, with our valuations continuing to be cautious.
We are of the opinion that the above two records showing the difference between asking prices and buying prices and valuations are the most significant information relating to the market. As last quarter, it appears to confirm that buyers are less able to obtain significant discounts from asking prices, combined with the probability that sellers are becoming more realistic in their prices in order to see a sale. Again, we are of the opinion that the falling values overall in the international market in the Costa areas of Spain has come to an end, but there are still many areas where value reductions are continuing with buyers still expecting to obtain ‘bargains’.
The market in individual areas.
  • San Roque and La Linea, including Sotogrande.
    • The evidence only relates to villas within Sotogrande and the surrounding areas.
    • Rate per square metre for all property types – 2,056 euro per sq m.
    • Within this ranging from 1,464€ euro per sq m to 2,626€ euro per sq m.
    • There has been an announcement that the owners of the high prestige urbanisation of La Zagaleta are proposing to carry out a development within Sotogrande. This will maintain the prestige reputation of Sotogrande in general. It will increase interest at the top end overall, but blight areas near the construction for a few years and add competition for sellers of existing properties, with subsequent forced reductions countering any perception increase.
    • Gradually, the substantial amount of properties available both on and off the market are being taken up, with competition for the better locations.
    • Other than those mentioned above, we believe that interest in property in Sotogrande will continue with it eventually causing prices to rise slowly, though this will happen more quickly in the fashionable areas.
  • Manilva
    • Insufficient evidence for statistics and the properties here have been combined with Estepona and Casares.
    • See comments last quarter as they are still appropriate.
  • Estepona/Manilva/Casares
    • This general area contains a wide variety of locations, property types and values. The area east of Estepona is known as the New Golden Mile and contains many valuable properties, and principally between the coastal road and the shore. The area west of Estepona gradually reduces in value, with the exception of one or two pockets of development, one being from the aforementioned Taylor Wimpey. Manilva has been seen as a lower value area, principally due to over development during the boom years. However, the Puerto Duquesa and Sabinillas areas, with a good supply of essential shopping and leisure services, have recovered their popularity and could be growth points in the future.
    • Rate per square metre – 1,655€ euro per sq m from a relatively small number of properties.
    • Ranging from 857€ euro/sq m for a studio apartment to almost 3,000€ euro/sq m for a hotel suite.
  • Benahavis
    • La Zagaleta is the prime location and there appears to be a continuing strong demand gradually taking up surplus property.
      • There are also indications that individuals are proceeding with developing new properties on vacant sites within the urbanisation.
      • Obtaining comparisons for properties at this location can be very difficult due to the difficulty of obtaining detailed information required to justify a very wide range of rates per square metre, which has been found to be from 2,000€ euro/sq m to 10,000+€ euro/sq m.
    • Elsewhere within the municipality, whilst there is still a substantial amount of property available, due to the prestige of the addresses, there is a steady supply of buyers who are reducing the supply overhang.
      • Rate per square metre – 2,149€ euro per sq m. From a small number of transactions and therefore not comparable with previous quarters.
  • Marbella
    • The market in Marbella had been proceeding steadily until it was dealt a savage blow by the Spanish Supreme Court declaring that the general plan for the town was null and void and that all planning arrangements being negotiated in order to regularise planning in the municipality could not take effect. The core of this decision is that developers and investors cannot be held liable for any payments required to bring illegal developments into line, and that it is the current owners who have the liability.
    • This decision is likely to have far-reaching effects upon planning within Spain as a whole, indicating that any general plan for any municipality to which there are objections that are likely to proceed to the Supreme Court, cannot be held to be 100% reliable.
    • The immediate result is to have frozen sales in contentious locations, but to have possibly increased the value of legitimate properties being offered in a reduced total supply. However, it is too soon to have any reliable evidence of this effect.
    • Rate per square metre – Villas – 2,457€ euro/ sq m. Apartments 3,439€ euro per sq m. This would appear to show a significant increase over values in the previous quarter. An increase is the general impression though this is bound to be affected by the planning decisions mentioned above.
  • Mijas
    • Mijas is a large municipality and covers a wide range of locations. Accordingly, average values can be misleading when related to specific addresses.
    • The best addresses, which tendto be uphill towards the Pueblo and overlooking the wide coastal plain of Fuengirola, have been developed over many years and have the continued popularity. Similarly, the coastal area is a steady interest, but in both locations there is a substantial amount of property available for sale, which is reducing the effect of any continued purchases. As elsewhere, popular properties will see considerable demand and possible price increases, whilst others in less desired areas and styles will still struggle to achieve a sale unless at a discounted price.
    • Rate per square metre – 1,880€ euro per sq m. This returns the rate to approximately the level seen in the quarter before last. There is a relatively narrow range from 1,501€ euro/sq m to 2,659€ euro/sq m.
  • Fuengirola, Benalmádena and Torremolinos
    • The properties in Fuengirola are on the east side and therefore have been included with those of the adjacent two municipalities, which are of a similar character.
    • Rate per square metre – 1,662€ euro per sq m for a mix of villas and apartments. The range is from 1,202€ euro/sq m to 2,021€ euro/sq m
  • Graada and Costa del Sol East
    • There are too few properties to provide relevant statistics.
    • However, we continue to see enquiries for building surveys for these areas indicating that there is continuing demand.It also perhaps indicates that buyers are becoming aware of the ground and planning problems especially in the area around Lake Viñuela leading to increased prudence in carrying out due diligence prior to purchase.
  • Almería and South Murcia
    • This is traditionally a relatively low value area, which is part of its attraction to purchasers.
    • Rate per sq m 1,192€ euro/sq m, ranging from 603€ euro for a country villa to 1,600€ euro for a villa within the modern urbanisation near the Mar Menor.
    • Comment by local valuer for Almería and Murcia –
      • Prime areas now going up, but secondary areas still in limbo.
      • What to watch is the Pound versus the Euro. Currently 1.36, which is Ok, but the threat of a Brexit, could affect the market, as the Brits are the predominant buyers. Also, the Spanish political situation could change the climate, so, watch out! We are in very unpredictable times!
      • It would only take a terrorist attack in Spain to change the whole environment!
      • Discounts depend on area, could be anything from nothing to up to 10%. It’s all a question of supply and demand and location.
  • Murcia and South Costa Blanca
    • The average rate is 1,146€ euro/sqm, varying from 815€ euro/sq m to 1,429€ euro/sq m.
    • There is a substantial amount of property available, much of which is in intensively developed low rise urbanisations without beach frontage. In addition, there are a number of resort developments which have only been partly completed and many without the promised common area and leisure facilities. This all provides a large overhang on the market and for any property to sell it has to have a significant unique selling feature and/or very attractive comparative price.
    • The higher values are seen in properties close to the beach and amenity and leisure facilities.
  • Costa Blanca North
    • As stated in earlier quarters, this area has a significantly different character to that of the municipalities south of Alicante city. This is reflected in the values.
    • The average rate is 1,962€ euro/sq m, varying from 706€ euro/sq m to 3,667€ euro/sq m.
    • Comment by the local valuer for Costa Blanca North –
      • Definite further improvement in the market over the last three months, but very mixed with some prime locations (especially those popular with buyers from the UK such as Javea (between 4% and 8% increase) and Denia (4% increase)) showing price increases, whilst prices in tertiary locations still falling slightly.
      • A good description might be ‘bouncing along the bottom’, if we were sure that this is the bottom and future economic problems don’t cause further market falls.
      • Overall prices in the Comunidad Valencia remain relatively stable with slight increases of between 1% and 2% over the last 12 months. Murcia, however, has seen decreases of around 4% over the same period.
      • One notable indicator of improved market sentiment is the number of new estate agents offices, with around one a week opening in the Marina Alta area, Costa Blanca North.
      • Another obvious sign of increased activity are the crane towers on the skyline, predominantly on private, individual builds.
      • Any recovery, though, is delicate and very dependent on the economic recovery Europe wide.
  • Balearics
    • As always, the islands of Mallorca and Ibiza, and to a lesser extent Menorca, have a consistently high level of value, with steady demand. Due to the previous strong planning policy, there is much less of a property overhang here and thus increases in value are probable.
    • The average rate is 3,791€ euro/sq m, varying from 1,070€ euro/sq m to 6,890€ euro/sq m.


As in the previous quarter, above statistics and comments appear to confirm cautious optimism in the market, with the better properties beginning to show a slight increase in value due to buyer competition and greater confidence among sellers.

New tidings we bring… but law changes present scant joy for Spain’s homeowners in 2016


NEW Year is a time to look forward to things that will be significant in the coming months … the perfect opportunity to look at recent changes in legislation and how they will affect property owners in Spain in 2016.

  1. Certificado de Eficiencia Energetica (CEE)

National law states that every property for sale or rent must have a CEE (Certificado de Eficiencia Energética) for the sale to be fully registered. The onus is on the seller to provide a copy of the energy certificate that has been registered with the Junta de Andalucía. Beware that some less-than-scrupulous arquitectos are only providing the first stage, then charging more for the Junta Certificate! Many agents, solicitors and owners are risking substantial fines by not having this available when they start marketing, as the law says they should have. Continue reading

How is Property Valued in Spain?

propvalFOR 47 years I’ve been accused of bias, ignorance or insanity. Sometimes all three! Yes, I’m a Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors-registered valuer living and working in Spain, viewing and listening, analysing and giving opinions.

Mostly, people require a valuation for a mortgage; or the taxman is chasing alleged hidden assets; or of jointly owned property linked to a divorce; or quantifying their family assets for probate. RICS valuers are trusted by courts, companies and individuals worldwide, confident that they are regulated, qualified, experienced professionals.

In the UK, valuation is easy. Sale prices for the past 10 years are available online at the touch of a button. All a valuer has to check is that the property is still there and what changes have been made since the last sale. The data go into a computer to produce a report with so many caveats as to be unactionable.

In Spain, it’s so different! Continue reading


energy_efficient_homes_1212As we predicted more than two years ago when energy efficiency certificates were initiated in Spain, in the last few days the government has announced that local property taxes are to be discounted for properties with better energy ratings. The lower two ratings F and G, which is by far the majority of buildings we encounter, receive no discount nor do those of course that do not have a rating assessed as yet. We foresee that the lowest rated properties are likely to be penalised in the near future as a further incentive to upgrade the efficiency of the property (and raise money!). Owners will now be more encouraged to balance the energy and tax savings of improvements of the property against the cost of those improvements.

A good Energy Efficiency rating CEE (EPC in UK) will bring tax rebates as well as lower energy bills.  From the 1st January 2016, the central Government will instruct the rebate of property taxes – IBI – according to the following schedule.

  • Grade A – 20%
  • Grade B – 16%
  • Grade C – 12%
  • Grade D – 8%
  • Grade E – 4%

Those in Grades F or G or that haven’t already submitted a certificate will receive no rebate.

It’s only a matter of time before the lowest grades are taxed higher, so get out the calculator to work out the cost of improving the installation through double-glazing windows, permanent draft proofing, modernising old central heating boilers and air conditioning units, etc and balancing that against the lower energy bills and now lower property taxes.