Hot-Off-The-Press Consumer Insights

Green Builder Media’s latest COGNITION Smart Data market intelligence unveils unique and compelling information about today’s homebuyers.

Homebuyer preferences and purchase drivers have been evolving rapidly over the last few years as awareness about healthy home, resiliency, electrification, and enabling technologies has exploded.  

Green Builder Media’s market intelligence division, COGNITION Smart Data, keeps its finger on the pulse of these shifting expectations. A recent COGNITION survey of over 2,200 consumers across the United States highlighted key differences between Baby Boomers, Gen Xers, Millennials, and Gen Zs.  

Home Buying: Demographic Differences

While home purchase interest was about 80% across all four generations, Millennials and Gen Zs indicated that they were much more likely to move due to climate change and were markedly more concerned about the impact that climate change has on the value of their homes.

have you considered moving because of climate change

Furthermore, 82% of Gen Zs claimed Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) strategies are extremely important when making purchase decisions about products for their homes, compared to 72% of Millennials, 65% of Gen Xers, and 60% of Baby Boomers.

Healthy home and resiliency are top of mind across all generations. Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) still reigns supreme with respect to healthy home: Respondents associate healthy home primarily with air filtration and purification systems, sensors to detect indoor pollution, bath fans, and range hoods, although home gyms and exercise equipment are also valued in the equation.

what do you think of healthy home

It’s no surprise that homeowners think of a Resilient Home mainly as a home that will not be damaged in a storm, but energy independence (solar + storage) and food independence (onsite food production) are also pivotal in the discussion. Living in a location that is less susceptible to weather events is also of high value. 

resilient home

With respect to lifestyle choices, interestingly, 35% of respondents indicated that their ideal family size is just two people–themselves and a partner, compared to 18% who want two parents with one child, and 16% who want two partners and a pet.

Given current market conditions:

  • 23% of homebuyers said that they’re sitting on the sidelines waiting to see what happens with interest rates and the economy for the next few months before diving into buying a home.  
  • 14% said that they have stopped searching and are fine renting for the time being.  
  • 13% are actively searching for homes. 
  • 13% would buy a home today if they could afford something that fits their needs in a good neighborhood.

When asked about the top two things they would change about their current living situation, the predominant responses were ventilation and (26%) and leaky windows, doors, and insulation (25%).

Respondents claimed that the top three factors that have the biggest negative impact on home buying decisions include a neighborhood that is prone to climate events like flooding, storms, and wildfires (27%), an unsafe neighborhood (27%), and a bad home smell (25%).

Out of a range of green products and technologies, respondents were most familiar with smart thermostats, smart refrigerators, induction cooktops, solar PV and battery storage.

rate your familiarity

Finally, when asked which phrases seem to capture the spirit of the moment, respondents resonated with Reckoning and Realization, Optimism and Outrage, Radical Renewal, and We Can’t Go Back. The phrase that resonated least was: Believe in Better. 

What’s Next?

Now that Millennials represent over 54% of home purchase applications and Gen Zs are exploding onto the scene, expect exponential growth in demand for net zero, all-electric, healthy, resilient, connected, solar powered homes.  

Publisher’s Note: This content is made possible by our Today’s Homeowner Campaign Sponsors: Whirlpool, Carrier and Jinko Solar. These companies take sustainability seriously, in both their products and their operations. Learn more about building and buying homes that are more affordable and less resource intensive.