September 27, 2023

Environmental awareness drives homeowner choices

The interweaving impacts of housing on the environment are becoming increasingly apparent.

A new survey conducted by Freddie Mac sheds light on how climate change, environmentalism and alternative energy are influencing the housing decisions of Millennials, a generation known for its environmental consciousness and desire for sustainability.

According to the survey, more than one in four Millennials (those born between 1981 and 1996) have relocated in the past five years due to concerns about weather-related events.

Among the total population, 70% of both Millennials and Generation Z expressed a willingness to move over climate concerns, while the percentages dropped to 50% for Generation X and 40% for Baby Boomers.

However, it's not just a willingness to move; Millennials are far more likely to have already relocated. While 26% of Millennials have moved in the past five years because of their concerns, only 8% of Generation Z, Generation X, and Baby Boomers (combined) have done the same.

Furthermore, nearly two-thirds of Millennials say they worry about climate impacting their current homes and communities - 61% of Millennial respondents are concerned about personal inconvenience, jobs, and community livability. This compares to an average of 53% among Generation Z, Generation X, and Boomers.

Beyond mobility, Millennials are increasingly concerned about the environmental footprint of their homes create, and are willing to take steps to limit it. However, just like other generations, money, lower energy costs are their primary motivation.

Only a small percentage of Millennial respondents said they would be willing to pay more for sustainable housing. Among homebuyers, 67% expressed a desire for a sustainable home, but only 13% would pay more for one. Similarly, among renters, 54% would prefer to live in an environmentally friendly property, but only 11% would pay more without a guaranteed return on investment.

For those looking to promote sustainable housing features as benefits, it is crucial to frame them through the lens of cost savings. Highlighting the financial advantages, such as reduced energy costs, may be more effective in encouraging broader adoption.

Freddie Mac's monthly surveys are comprised of responses from 2,305 consumers, providing valuable insights into the attitudes and behaviors of different generations regarding weather-related events and sustainability in housing.