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49% of Boomers Want ‘Green’ Homes, But Only 12% Would Pay More

boomer extraThe green building sector could get a shot in the arm as legions of Baby Boomers ease into retirement. While survey respondents indicate a desire for more green homes, there is a disconnect between desire and willingness to pay, according to a new survey from the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and the MetLife Mature Market Institute.

About 37 percent of potential buyers said they wanted an “environmentally friendly” home but just 12 percent said they would pay extra for one, according to the survey “55+ Housing: Builders, Buyers, and Beyond.”

About 27 percent of respondents said they were not concerned about the impact of their home on the environment.


Among those who would pay a premium for a home with environmental attributes, respondents said they would pay an average of $6,732 in order to save $1,000 annually in utility costs.

Here are environmental features that respondents said they’d like to see in their homes:

  • energy efficient appliances – 79 percent
  • solar heating – 63 percent
  • water filtering systems – 58 percent
  • allergen-free and chemical-free building materials – 42 percent

What potential buyers tell the survey agency and what they tell their builders differ. About 55 percent of builders said that their customers 55 years and older say they want Energy Star-rated homes.

Even those who aren’t specific in their desire for an Energy Star home are interested in more energy efficient homes – 94 percent of builders said that buyers desire that trait in a home. About 69 percent of builders said that some buyers would pay extra for green amenities, but just 9 percent said that most buyers would pay extra. The remainder (22 percent) said that none of their buyers would pay extra for green homes.

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