I'm not 100% sure I agree with the overall assessment of this study. My psychology teacher in high school was a paranoid conspiracy theory guy...I didn't realize it then, but I do now. Anyway, one good thing he drilled into our heads was in regards to surveys & studies, was to follow the money. See who funded it. And why would they fund it, etc...
Seems like common sense to many, but for me it is my FIRST slant, before I get caught up in this or that, I generally look to see what is driving it, or how complete is the data.
So yes, I am critical of all surveys, and on this one, I there are several things that concern me. For starters - "93% of all home buyers, both nationally and in the NY Metro area, ARE NOT willing to PAY MORE for green or energy efficient features when building a home"
is their big blanket claim. However, they did not sample the diverse home buying market, rather they focused on rich, young people nationally and 250 folks from NYC. "Their study skewed young, affluent, and New York/Metro area (with roughly 250 NY participants). "
Also, the media for the survey, was initiated online, meaning that people who do not do online surveys, would automatically be filtered out. I understand that some folks don't do phone surveys, and others would never take one in a Safeway parking lot...that is to say that no one method is perfect - but this one seems particularly skewed. Remember, it's less than 1000 people total. And it's not for people who have recently bought homes, or current home owners, but younger people looking to buy a home in the near future. I would presume many of those questioned would be first time home owners, and the majority of homes purchased of course are not first homes...That would be similar to surveying young, affluent people who are thinking of buying a car soon - their desires and results I think would be far from typical or average. I've looked into this before, and these folks buy European cars predominantly such as Audi & BMW.
The folks that commissioned the survey, the NT Times, isn't exactly known for their un-biased and accurate reporting. And if you read the full write up, it was unlike any other survey conclusion I had seen - it was more like a magazine article, filled with large pictures of people sitting on couches, central park, etc. the pictures take up way more space than the words - meaning this is meant to be more subtly persuasive, than an analysis of the facts. The constant comparisons to MTVs Cribs helps to identify the source (not saying that MTV put money into the survey, I'm saying that the person(s) at NT Times that put this together, is very familiar with the show, and is likely, young, affluent...lives in NYC...and essentially the market that they are trying to explore - this is like a doctor doing a survey on doctors - to be unbiased, someone with some distance to the subject should be part of question generation, interview process, data analysis, etc). It's my guess that the people who are behind this share the same general result of the survey, which is typical in a loosely-controlled survey such as this one.
This survey was also done in the spring of this year, about the worse the real estate market has been in decades - consumer behavior 2 years ago - or 2 years from now, may not be as it is now, at a well documented housing low point.
All that being said, I think that the overall sentiment of not spending a lot more money for a house with green features is about right - but I think the 93% number is overstated. Also, they lumped so much into each of the 5 Core Questions. Green features included solar panels and many other items - such as using recycled materials, and environmental impacts, energy efficient windows / applicances, etc.
The young and rich folks in this survey wanted everything to be about me, which if you know any young, rich people, this is not surprising. This is an expert from the results:"Now, we’ve come to the conclusion that younger home buyers tend to be part of the MTV Cribs generation.
When we talked to them, it became clear that they were shaped by the same values reflected in that show, where people who spent a lot of time, and money, shaping their personal identities, looked to customize their own spaces to reflect themselves and show off who they were. And with America’s young adults on their way to be being the most affluent American generation in history, these desires do not seem out of reach."
Here they at least qualify that their conclusion is based on "younger home buyers", but when the article gets written, it's put in absolute terms of"93% of all home buyers, both nationally and in the NY Metro area, ARE NOT willing to PAY MORE for green or energy efficient features when building a home"
It's these little tidbits that are meant to influence us, if ever so slightly. Even if we disagree, or are just shocked, they intend to plant a seed in our minds, so the next time something like this comes up, we will have something to match up with it...eventually, if we hear it enough, even the stronger minded will be influenced. Not to say we will all be brainwashed to be the same, but to say that either we gravitate toward or away from it, depending on a great number of other factors in each of our lives. Man, am I getting off subject? Am I just ranting? I hope not. I feel it's important for people to continue to question things. Ask why. Push back if it feels wrong. Don't just sit in front of the TV - or even the Monitor - without giving a conscious thought of how all the marketing dollars are trying to change perceptions - including your own. Fortunately in our SEVA group, we have a lot of forward thinking, out of the box type folks. I have to say we are in the minority. But we need to band together, organize our discontentment (as in the oil companies and automakers), and take unified action. Strength in numbers.
Ok, I'm done with the soap box