Consumer research findings challenge sustainability thinking

Consumer research findings challenge sustainability thinking

The long-held claim that customer demand for purchasing sustainable homes is limited has been challenged in new research by housebuilder Redrow. 

On the contrary, 63% of the 1,730 prospective new homebuyers surveyed by Redrow indicated a desire to purchase a sustainable home and 38% actually said they intended to. In fact, 82% said they were willing to pay more for such a home, with more than a quarter prepared to pay at least a 6% premium. 

As well as being questioned on their purchase intentions the research also delved into the factors that influence homebuyers’ decisions. 

Those surveyed ranked lower energy bills as more important than a garden, parking space, amenities, external appeal/design of home, and fittings & appliances when choosing a home; while 78% agreed the purchase of a ‘greener’ home was likely to have a positive environmental impact; and 92% had a positive attitudes towards making such a purchase. Interestingly, more than two thirds believed that ‘significant others’ in their lives would approve of the decision to opt for a greener home. 

The data was analysed for an academic research project by Redrow Homes’ sustainability manager Nicola Johansen.

Nicola said: “Our findings challenge the long-claimed, but previously under-researched, assertion within the industry that there is limited customer demand for sustainable homes. It also offers new insights into the factors that influence purchasers’ decision making. Redrow customers

“As a responsible business, the drive to reduce the carbon footprint of our developments is high on our agenda. However, we also want to build the homes our customers want to live in and this research helps us to fully appreciate what purchasers are looking for from their home and their homebuilder. 

“We hope the findings will also help the housebuilding industry to better understand the extent of customer demand for sustainable homes and, by doing so, put more effort into communicating these benefits to potential buyers.”

With 60% of respondents agreeing or strongly agreeing that they would be more likely to buy a new home from a company building sustainable homes, the evidence suggests that constructing more environmentally friendly properties, and promoting their credentials, can add value for the wider business.

The study also highlighted some areas that can be addressed by housebuilders to assist homebuyers with their purchasing decisions. 

While the majority of homebuyers were confident that a more efficient home would save them money (65%) and that it would be more comfortable (62%), a quarter indicated they thought it would be difficult or very difficult to buy a sustainable home and almost half of respondents weren’t confident of how sustainability features work. 

Nicola added: “This new research will hopefully provide a benchmark for homebuilders to gear their building methods and marketing strategies towards catering for what is clearly a significant demand from consumers for sustainable homes.”

Redrow is one of the UK’s leading housebuilders and aims to be one of the most sustainable and socially responsible construction businesses by 2018. In 2015 the company’s developments continued to reduce their impact upon the environment, with carbon emissions down and more recycling facilities included.

The amount of public open space created by Redrow almost doubled to 209 hectares last year and £128m of funds were committed to local communities for affordable housing, local education, highways improvements, public transport and other amenities.

For more information on Redrow Homes visit www.redrowplc.co.uk/sustainability.

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