After the 1st January 2011 an energy performance label will have to be included in descriptions of French properties offered for sale or to let (loi Grenelle 2). The label - rated from A to G - is similar to that already applied to domestic items such as a refrigerator and to new motor vehicles, and is designed to highlight whether a house or apartment is rated as 'energy efficient' or one that is likely to be expensive to heat. The French government emphasises that buildings are responsible for 21% of CO2 emissions and 43% of energy consumed.
Estate agens are already asking whether a poor rating will have an effect on the saleability of a property, and note that vendors will have to organise and pay for a 'diagnostic de performance énergétique' (DPE) before putting their property on the market.
Low ratings - E, F, G - indicating that a property is costly to heat, due for example to poor insulation, may encourage potential buyers or renters to ask for a reduction in the asking price, according to a spokeman for FNAIM, the main body representing estate agents in France.
The new regulations may give a boost to the market for new-build properties while having an adverse effect on un-renovated older properties, including many dating from the building boom of the 60s and 70s along the French Mediterranean coast.