January 25, 2023

Quebecers surveyed on the environmental impact of their residence

In the fall of 2022, Léger conducted a web survey among Quebecers on the importance of the environmental impact in making real estate decisions. Commissioned by the Fonds immobilier de solidarité FTQ, the Société d’habitation du Québec, theQuebec Professional Association of Real Estate Brokers (QPAREB) and the Service de l’habitation de la Ville de Montréal, the survey polled the opinion of 6,755 respondents. This article discusses the survey highlights and provides some food for thought about green housing.


1. The environmental impact of housing

Among respondents, 42% believe that where they live has no impact on the environment, whether they live in the city, the suburbs or the countryside, as well as if their residence is large or small, new or old. In fact, only 11% believe that their choices have a negative environmental impact. This rises to 17% among 18 to 34-year-olds.

Of note, only 36% of homeowners and future homebuyers say they have enough information to properly assess the environmental impact of their home. Furthermore, 69% of respondents are in favour of seeing a standardized system put in place which would allow them to conduct a more detailed analysis. This percentage rises to 72% in the Montréal census metropolitan area (CMA).

What’s more, 35% of respondents would like their current or possible future city or municipality to provide information on the environmental impact of a home, 21% feel that it should be provided by the provincial government and 9% by the federal government.

2. Energy performance

Energy performance was identified as the number one factor when assessing the environmental impact of a home, followed by the quality of materials. Reduced commuting time and distances and the preservation of natural environments are tied for third place. Moreover, the survey shows that the 55+ age group is more sensitive to the first factor than the 18–34 age group.

3. Premium for greener homes

When asked if they would be willing to pay a premium for a greener home, 56% of homeowners and future homebuyers responded in the affirmative. Among the respondents, 31% would accept a premium if there were other savings that offset some of the additional cost, and 18% would accept it only if it resulted in a higher resale value. Finally, only 7% would be prepared to pay with no conditions, increasing to 10% for the 18–34 age group.

Interesting fact: those who are reluctant to pay more might be persuaded to do so if they knew that the home would cost less to live in and maintain or if they qualify for a subsidy at the time of purchase.

4. From the tenant’s perspective

How is environmental impact perceived in a rental context? It affects their decision in 56% of cases, compared to 61% in 2021. Moreover, only 30% of tenants believe they have enough information to analyze the impact of their dwelling on the environment.

As with homeowners, energy consumption is the number one factor when evaluating the environmental impact, followed by a location that facilitates active transportation such as walking and cycling.

When asked about paying more for greener housing, 54% responded that they would be willing to pay a premium. However, the majority expect this premium to be offset by savings. Just 6% of renters would pay a premium unconditionally. Nevertheless, some could change their opinion if there was a subsidy to reduce the cost of rent or if it was demonstrated that the housing is cheaper to live in and maintain.

In short, the survey conducted by Léger confirms that the population needs more information to make informed choices about the environmental impact of their residence. With the right tools, there is no doubt that Quebecers will be able to make better decisions that will benefit the environment, communities, and future generations, believes Martin Raymond, Senior Vice-President, Real Estate Investments, Fonds immobilier de solidarité FTQ.

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