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Demand for sustainable homes 'massively underestimated' says survey

There are many things that buyers look for when purchasing a home. Beautiful kitchens, high-end bathrooms and plenty of garden space are all top of the list for most home buyers.

But it seems that something else needs to be added to that list: sustainability.

That's according to a new survey from UK house builder Redrow. The firm's research has found that market demand for sustainable properties has been massively underestimated.

Indeed, nearly two-thirds (63 per cent) of the 1,730 prospective home buyers surveyed indicated a desire to purchase a sustainable home. What's more, 38 per cent said they intended to buy a property with features such as thermal wall insulation, efficient boilers and renewable energy supplies.

In fact, 82 per cent of buyers also said that they would be willing to pay more for a sustainable home - and more than one-quarter were willing to pay at least a six per cent premium for such a property. 

The buyers ranked lower energy bills as more important than many other features, including a garden, parking spaces, amenities, external appeal/design of the home, and fittings and appliances.

More than three-quarters (78 per cent) believed that purchasing a 'greener' home would have a positive environmental impact and 92 per cent were positive about making such a purchase.

Commenting on the research findings, sustainability manager at Redrow Nicola Johanesn said that the findings could change how developers and property owners look at their properties.

"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," she explained.

"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 home builder," she added.

Ms Johansen also said that she hoped the research would help the wider property industry to better understand customer demand for sustainable homes.

The research also found that some 60 per cent of respondents would be more likely to buy a new home from a company known for building sustainable homes. This means that having a reputation for being environmentally friendly could add value for businesses in the property and development markets.

Most home buyers said they were confident that a more efficient home would save them money in the long run, and they also thought it would be more comfortable. However, many buyers were not so sure about their ability to actually buy a sustainable home - 25 per cent thought it would be difficult or very difficult to buy a sustainable home, while almost half weren't sure how sustainability features work.

"This new research will hopefully provide a benchmark for home builders to gear their building methods and marketing strategies towards catering for what is clearly a significant demand from consumers for sustainable homes," Ms Johansen concluded.‚Äč


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