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FIGCovered Bonds

ECBC: Energy-efficient mortgages are less risky

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Based on an analysis of 470,000 real estate valuations and 72,980 Italian mortgages, the European Covered Bond Council has published a report showing that energy-efficient mortgages present less credit risk than normal mortgages.

Under its Horizon 2020 Energy Efficient Data Protocol & Portal Project, the report demonstrated “a negative and significant correlation between the buildings’ energy efficiency and the probability of mortgage default,” said the ECBC on Monday. 

The hope is that this study will provide policy makers with the evidence they need to consider attaching a lower risk weight to energy-efficient mortgage loans.

The report comes after two years of data collection and market analysis

According to Monica Billio, a professor at Ca' Foscari University in Venice who undertook the analysis, the report fundamentally shifts the energy efficiency financing debate “towards an accurate analysis of correlation between credit risk and building energy performance, offering a solid quantitative basis for future policy reflections”.

The ECBC said that payments on energy-efficient mortgages are less likely to be disrupted, partly because they are secured on properties with an enhanced property value. As a result, these loans present less credit risk for banks and financial institutions to hold on their balance sheets.

The results also indicate that the degree of energy efficiency also matters — that is, more energy-efficient buildings are associated with relatively lower risk of default. “These findings highlight the role of energy efficiency in reducing the default probability of a borrower,” said the ECBC.

The ECBC’s Energy Efficient Mortgages Initiative aims to promote energy efficiency investments in buildings, create a standardised energy-efficient market and to evaluate energy-efficient mortgage data across the European Union.

In this way, the ECBC hopes to gather large-scale datasets to further investigate the link between buildings’ energy efficiency features, their market value, and probability of default and loss-given-default.

The ECBC and European Mortgage Federation are also in the process of fine-tuning their energy-efficient mortgage label, which will facilitate data collection and should further help to substantiate the correlation between energy-efficient mortgages and lower credit risk.

“We believe these results are of great significance in relation to the current policy agenda,” said EMF-ECBC secretary general, Luca Bertalot, citing the EU’s action plan on sustainable finance, the European Green Deal and the implementation of Basel III.

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