Not only is the environment a top-of mind issue for many Canadian homeowners, but the majority are also willing to ante up a higher purchase price in support of their beliefs.
The TD Canada Trust Green Building Poll, conducted by Ipsos Reid to examine Canadians' views on environmentally friendly housing, found that 73% of Canadian homeowners or those considering buying a home would be willing to pay a premium for environmentally friendly features. Among those considering a purchase in the next two years, this propensity increases to 85%. When asked how much more they would be willing to pay, the average response was 10%.
"Over the last few years, we've seen an increased awareness of environmental building features among Canadian homeowners and prospective buyers," says Joan Dal Bianco, Vice President, Real Estate Secured Lending at TD Canada Trust. "But until recently, many homeowners were not willing to pay extra for green features. That seems to be changing as Canadians are realizing the multiple benefits of green buildings and retrofits."
When asked why they would consider choosing environmentally friendly features in their homes, two-thirds of respondents (67%) say that future energy cost savings are very important. Another 59% cite improved resale values as very important.
The connection between green features and resale value is also strongly emerging as a selling feature in the realty industry. Among Canadian homeowners or potential buyers who have dealt with a real estate agent in the past two years, four-in-ten (40%) say the agent highlighted environmentally friendly features as a selling point.
While energy cost savings and increased resale value are the strongest drivers for buyers seeking environmentally friendly features, almost one half (49%) of Canadian homeowners say reducing their home's impact on the environment is very important to them. Another 43% say it is somewhat important. Among those willing to pay a premium, 37% say they would do so to reduce their environmental impact or reduce greenhouse gases.
"Canadians clearly see the long-term cost savings in green buildings," continues Dal Bianco. "But increasingly, they are moving beyond economics and going green for the sake of the environment. With those two factors as motivators, they are more likely to make green decisions."
The poll findings also indicate that Canadians are turning their intentions into action with respect to their homes. Twenty-nine percent of respondents say they have already made significant improvements and another one-third say they are likely to do so in the next 12 months (15% very likely, 18% somewhat likely). Three quarters (76%) of Canadian homeowners say they would consider conducting an environmental assessment prior to finalizing renovation plans (34% said they are very likely).
When asked about regulations, the vast majority (95%) of Canadian homeowners or potential homebuyers agreed that environmentally friendly changes should be included in building codes for new buildings and renovations (86%). Incentives are also popular, with four-fifths (81%) agreeing that the government should provide subsidies to individuals who choose to buy or build certified green or environmentally friendly homes from builders.
However, fewer are in favour of penalizing those who do not choose to live in environmentally friendly homes. Less than half (48%) agree that regular building materials should be more expensive than environmentally friendly building materials and only 36% agree that a carbon tax should be levied on property owners whose homes are not environmentally friendly.
"We're seeing an alignment of the stars here," concludes Dal Bianco. "As buyers, builders, contractors and realtors all start to move in the same direction, I think we'll be seeing more environmentally friendly homes become the norm. In the end, it's a win-win for homeowners and the world around us."
About TD Bank Financial Group
The Toronto-Dominion Bank and its subsidiaries are collectively known as TD Bank Financial Group. TD Bank Financial Group serves more than 14 million customers in four key businesses operating in a number of locations in key financial centres around the globe: Canadian Personal and Commercial Banking including TD Canada Trust; Wealth Management including TD Waterhouse and an investment in TD Ameritrade; Wholesale Banking, including TD Securities; and U.S. Personal and Commercial Banking through TD Banknorth. TD Bank Financial Group also ranks among the world's leading on-line financial services firms, with more than 4.5 million on-line customers. TD Bank Financial Group had CDN$385.8 billion in assets, as of July 31, 2006. The Toronto-Dominion Bank trades on the Toronto and New York Stock Exchanges under the symbol "TD".