By Anya Szenties
In a rapidly changing world, the need for environmentally sustainable practices has never been more important.
That’s according to a new study published by Growth from Knowledge, which found that among other things, COVID-19 has not diminished U.S. consumer awareness and growing demand for brands and government to take steps towards preserving the environment.
Nearly 80% of U.S. consumers polled said they expect brands to take environmentally responsible actions.
Among those consumers, millennials, (aged 22-39) showed the greatest enthusiasm for “green” actions, with 41% saying they take the environment into consideration in their purchase decisions all or most of the time.
Millennials are also more likely to choose more efficient energy sources for their homes and cars, with 41% reporting that they do so all or most of the time. That marks an 18-point jump over 2010 for the same age group.
With this increasing emphasis on environmentalism, it is important for agents and brokers to demonstrate their own green practices as leaders in the industry. After surveying its members in March of this year, the National Association of Realtors found that 59% of residential consumers “were very or somewhat interested in sustainability.”
There are a number of ways for agents to become involved in sustainable practices, both attracting buyers and educating sellers through eco-friendly measures.
According to the NAR survey, 85% of active Realtors who responded to the survey said that solar panels were available in their markets, and another 36% said that solar panels increased the perceived property value. Although solar panels are more prevalent in the Northeast (available in 94% of markets), they are more likely to increase property value in the West, according to 41% of respondents.
Sustainable transportation and commuting factors of a property are also important to buyers, according to agents surveyed. Although 82% of Realtors reported that easy access to highways is significant to their client, 51% reported that walkability and accessibility of the property and surrounding areas are also heavily taken into consideration.
While incorporating energy-efficient practices has increasingly become the standard for home builders across the country, the survey showed that many Realtors have questions when it comes to existing homes. Some 35% reported confusion about lending options for energy upgrades or solar installation and 29% wanted more information about improving the energy efficiency of existing housing stock.
With a push to continually “go green,” it’s important that agents educate themselves, so they have the vocabulary and knowledge to discuss the cost and health benefits of purchasing and maintaining environmentally friendly properties.
“As many families are currently spending more time at home, some are taking on improvement projects involving sustainable features,” said Jessica Lautz, NAR vice president of demographics and behavioral insights, in the report. “Some buyers are also deciding to purchase homes with environmentally-friendly components. In both instances, these households look to either reduce utility costs or increase personal comfort within their home.”