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Sustainable property is top of the agenda for Generation Z

While once it may have seemed a luxury or even a quirky asset, sustainable property is even a top priority for Generation Z when looking for a home. 

When people think about what would be on the wish list for a 16-25-year-old seeking a home of their own, many might presume they would be keen on added extras and gimmicks like a cinema room. However, new research has revealed a much more sensible, forward-thinking trend.

Also known as Generation Z, 80% of this age group actually said they would prioritise sustainability credentials when looking at where to live in the next five years. This is according to a survey by The Property Marketing Strategists (TPMS), with UPP and Dataloft.

Sustainable property for the PRS

The private rented sector (PRS) is catching up in terms of green credentials and sustainable property, with minimum EPC rating regulations now and place as well as certain government initiatives aimed at upgrading properties.

Looking at 16-18-year-olds specifically, TPMS found that more than half (57%) would be willing to pay more for smart technology. This compares to 46% who would pay more for a cinema room, 41% for a pub or bar and 39% for a gaming room.

Sarah Canning, co-founder of TPMS, said that despite many people’s preconceptions about Gen Z, their preferences are simple: “Quality homes with proper insulation to cut down bills long-term, smart tech and accommodation near where they study or work.”

It appears likely that newer homes, which tend to be the most sustainable properties, are therefore likely to attract more young renters than older properties. Particularly as the cost of living crisis continues, a smart home with high energy efficiency could save money in the long run.

What are the other priorities?

Alongside sustainable property, another major priority that showed up for Gen Z was transport, with 70% saying they valued access to public transport as important when choosing a home.

Two thirds (67%) singled out insulation to cut down energy bills as a particularly desireable sustainable feature, while a third (35%) would like solar panels installed.

Only 6% of the 2,500 respondents said sustainable property was not a priority for their next home.

LOFT founder Benjamin Hall said: “The residential sector needs to incorporate increased sustainability measures from construction right through to the furnishing of the home, or people will not want to live there.

“Increased sustainability features are crucial to future homes to not only benefit the environment and create a greener future, but cater to a more conscious and ethical residential demographic.”

It comes at a cost

In other research, this time from Mortgage Advice Bureau, the level of importance of energy efficiency in homes was once again highlighted. This time, though, money was the focus for many.

The research found that a huge 75% of Brits would like to make their homes more energy efficient, which shows the scale of how far the message has spread.

However, the major barrier noted by the report was the cost of carrying out such work to create a more sustainable property. Almost a quarter (23%) said they could not afford to upgrade their homes.

Another 37% said they had prioritised their household bills over making home improvements, which highlights the Catch-22 for many; modernisation and sustainable features can save money in the long run, but can be costly in the first place.

Ben Thompson, deputy CEO at Mortgage Advice Bureau, commented: “The government’s ambitious plans to reach net zero targets is having an effect on households, with an impressive number of people having the intentions to make their homes more energy efficient.

“But despite this desire, consumers are being hit from all sides with the cost-of-living crisis, including soaring inflation and rising household bills. This means households are having to delay their desired energy efficient home improvement goals to prioritise their finances.

“More needs to be done to help consumers (such as working with lenders to help people make sensible and informed choices which will ultimately support the government in reaching their targets, while also helping the environment and potentially reducing household energy costs.”

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