Will the public buy a healthy home?

A new report defines the healthy home and has found that fewer than 30% of buyers and renters would be willing to pay more for homes that are good for them. But while many buyers and renters may not yet be willing to pay a premium for a home that offers overall health and wellbeing, they do prioritise features like safety and absence of mould and damp problems in a property.

The report, produced by the UK Green Building Council (UKGBC), resolves the question of what makes a healthy home, but more importantly shows the potential for the industry to give greater focus to health and wellbeing in design, construction and marketing.

The UKGBC’s report says the healthy home can be summed up in 18 factors, including lighting, sound insulation and materials, and connections with the local community. It includes a survey of 3,000 homeowners and renters, carried out by manufacturer Saint-Gobain, which found:

  • 90% of those surveyed would like a home that does not compromise their health and wellbeing. Almost 30% of all respondents would be willing to pay more for such a home
  • Although 95% of survey respondents claimed to make an effort to look after their health and wellbeing, less than 10% said they had a “concern about the health and wellbeing impacts of the buildings where I spend my time”
  • When asked about the features of their ideal home, respondents gave greatest importance to safety and security. This was closely followed by running and maintenance costs, and a home environment with no condensation, damp or mould
  • Renters considered the issue of homes being too cold in winter to be twice as important as homeowners.

Key findings of the report for industry include:

  • Designers need to think beyond the physical impact of design – and consider mental, social and physical health and wellbeing
  • Solutions for minimising the impact of the built environment on mental health are often the same as those benefitting physical health and need to be considered early in the design process. For example, good daylight levels are good for both mental wellbeing and physical health
  • Many design features that enhance health and wellbeing also bring positive environmental benefits. For example, the provision of green space can enhance biodiversity.

John Alker, campaign and policy director at the UKGBC, said: “With consumer interest in health and wellbeing showing no sign of diminishing, there is a key opportunity for the housebuilding sector to provide high quality, healthy and sustainable homes, which our evidence demonstrates buyers are starting to value.”

The report, Health and wellbeing in homes, is available on the UKGBC website.

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