The new generation of homebuyers is sustainably focused.
Generation Zers recognize the importance of eco-friendly building materials that are renewable, recycled, and have a lower carbon footprint. They consider sustainable home features to be attractive investments, such as energy-efficient appliances and solar panels.
Older Generation Zers (born between the mid-1990s and early 2000s) are beginning to enter the property market in increasing numbers, with a large percentage indicating that they believe homeownership to be a “high priority.”
This is according to a recent survey by realtor.com, which found that 72% of the Gen Zers surveyed are expected to buy a home in the future and that 43% of these respondents are expected to do so in the next five years. To add to this, CoreLogic estimates that Gen Zers made up 9% of all first-time homebuyer applications in the U.S. in 2022. And while homeownership remains a goal for this generation, sustainability ranks just as high on their priority list when making this decision.
“With the ever-increasing threat of climate change and the urgency to protect the planet, Gen Zers are showing a strong inclination towards sustainability in all aspects of their lives, including when it comes to looking for property,” explains Grant Smee, managing director of Only Realty Property Group. “This generation is increasingly prioritizing sustainable features in homes, ranging from energy-efficient appliances and solar panels to eco-friendly building materials.”
He attributes this focus on sustainability to a number of factors, primarily driven by the fact that Gen Z is the first-ever generation that has grown up in an era of heightened environmental awareness.
“This generation has seen firsthand the increase in extreme weather events, the loss of biodiversity, and the degradation of natural resources,” Smee says. “As a result, they are acutely aware of the urgent need to take action to protect the environment and combat climate change.”
He believes that sustainability is not just a buzzword for Gen Z, but rather a deeply ingrained value that guides all their choices, and property is no exception.
Higher levels of education and media consumption play a key role.
Gen Z is highly educated and informed about environmental issues, in part because of increased media focus on these issues over the last two decades. They also have access to a wealth of information through the internet and social media, allowing them to learn about the environmental impact of various housing features and materials.
“Gen Z is knowledgeable about the benefits of energy-efficient appliances and their ability to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and lower utility bills, and they understand the advantages of solar panels in generating clean energy and reducing reliance on fossil fuels,” Smee notes.
When it comes to the construction aspect of property, this generation also recognizes the importance of ecofriendly building materials that are renewable, recycled, and have a lower carbon footprint.
They’re willing to pay a higher price for a positive impact.
This emphasis on sustainability does not mean that Gen Zers aren’t financially savvy and cost conscious.
Instead, they are aware that sustainable features in homes may initially come with a higher price tag, but they take into account that there are long-term cost savings associated with reduced utility bills and increased property value. Energy-efficient appliances, solar panels, and eco-friendly building materials can all contribute to lower utility costs and higher resale values, making them attractive investments for Gen Zers when looking for property.
“Ultimately, this generation is motivated by a desire to make a positive impact on the world,” Smee shares. “They are not content with just talking about sustainability; they want to take tangible actions to contribute to a greener future.”
By choosing homes with sustainable features, Gen Zers sees themselves as actively participating in the global effort to combat climate change and protect the planet. They view their purchasing decisions as a way to vote with their wallets, supporting environmentally responsible practices and encouraging the adoption of sustainable features in the real estate industry.
“As the next generation of homebuyers, Gen Zers are driving the demand for sustainable homes and reshaping the property industry to prioritize sustainability,” Smee concludes.
Mighty Buildings is a major innovator that uses 3D printing, robotics, and material science to build homes that eliminate 99% of waste and are made of 60% recycled printed materials. In 2022, Mighty Buildings built the first zero-net-energy 3D-printed community in California.
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