Energy efficiency tops list of housing wishes

The Demand Institute surveyed over 10,000 households about what factors they found most important in a residence and how those factors were reflected in their own homes by asking them to assign ratings to 52 home and community characteristics. The results from the survey, conducted in 2013, were compiled in a report called “The Housing Satisfaction Gap: What People Want, but Don’t Have.”

The top concerns identified in the report were energy efficiency, repairs and renovations, and age-friendliness.

The top concerns identified in the report were energy efficiency, repairs and renovations, and age-friendliness.

Since 2000, the increase in average household spending on home electricity has outpaced that of other housing-related expenses by 18%, which has doubtlessly put energy efficiency concerns high on consumer radars. A full 90% of surveyed households said that they had already taken some measure to consume less energy, including changing habits, switching to CFL or LED bulbs and replacing old appliances.

The report says concern about energy efficiency “will drive renovations, maintenance, and new technology use: for instance, 51 percent of households would considering buying an energy-use monitor.” An additional 49 percent of households indicated interest in smart appliances.

Retailers should be sure to prioritize efficiency in their product purchases and marketing to serve this growing concern. Examples include energy-saving home improvements such as insulation, eco-friendly appliances and smart systems.

The Demand Institute’s study also found that more than three-quarters of households thought their homes needed renovations or repairs, and that consumers planned to increase spending on the following home improvements: 30 percent on paint, 25 percent on flooring, 20 percent on bathroom remodels and 18 percent on kitchen remodels.

Three out of four study respondents also said they are hoping to “age in place,” and want homes that will accommodate their needs as they age. Especially as the baby-boom demographic ages, retailers should acquaint themselves with the remodeling needs and preferences of this demographic, including accessibility features such as walk-in showers and tubs, low maintenance indoor and outdoor styles, and enough space to accommodate reduced mobility.

Rounding out the top 10 concerns that made up the “satisfaction gap” were neighborhood safety, affordability, privacy, sufficient space, responsive property management and investment value.

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