Homebuyers in London are seeking areas with good air quality as concerns grow about pollution, estate agents said today.
They said clean air had become a “box to tick” for some people looking to buy in the capital.
With more and more Londoners aware of the toxic air problem in parts of the city, estate agents are increasingly being asked about local pollution levels by prospective buyers.
Mark Hayward, managing director of the National Association of Estate Agents, said: “Emission levels are very much on house-hunters’ radars.
"Where people are spending more time in each property, with the gaps between moves larger than ever, buyers want to make sure they are investing in an area where they can bring their children up with low emissions.”
He compared the importance that buyers were putting on good air quality as similar to a property’s energy performance, rather than factors such as schools, which were more likely to sway decisions.
He estimated that air pollution, which scientists blame for killing up to 9,400 people a year in London, was a concern for around one in 10 house-hunters.
Given the shortage of properties on the market, it was sometimes difficult for some viewers to find a suitable home away from busy roads, but Mr Hayward said of the growing focus on clean air: “It’s rising up the ‘must-haves’.”
In the past, prospective buyers’ questions about local traffic levels would have been related to concerns over noise and safety, but now they included air pollution, said estate agents.
Jonathan Hudson, founder of Hudsons Property in Charlotte Street, Fitzrovia, said: “We’re seeing buyers in central London increasingly interested in emission levels.
"Some house-hunters want to know what the levels are, which areas are better or worse, and what’s being done to reduce them.”
Patrick Bullick, managing director of STANLEY Chelsea, said: “Buyers in Chelsea and west London have always been quite concerned with emissions, particularly on busy roads, but we’re seeing this concern growing substantially.
"Those buying on busy roads are keen for properties to have features such as proper window insulation to protect themselves against air pollution.”
Sadiq Khan has pledged to step up action to tackle toxic air and is consulting on bringing forward and expanding the Ultra Low Emission Zone planned for 2020.