Why Africa’s Demand for Green Homes Comes With New Preferences

African Home Buyers Now More Inclined to Greener Homes

African home buyers are willing to pay more for eco-friendly homes compared to the global average,  Knight Frank’s 2021 Global Buyer Survey reveals.

According to the survey, sustainability in Africa’s real estate is not limited to energy conservation but also includes good air quality, proximity to green space and access to good healthcare. 

Findings from the survey noted that 71 per cent of African respondents indicated that energy efficiency was very important to them compared to 42 per cent globally. 

In addition, more respondents across Africa (29%) indicated that they would prefer a greener home and be willing to pay more for it compared to 27% globally.

The Global Buyer Survey represents the views of over 900 Knight Frank clients across 49 global markets and 9 African countries: Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Nigeria, South Africa, Botswana, Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

In addition, Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance is taking precedence over other considerations for African home buyers. 

“The just-concluded November Climate Change Conference (COP 26) in Glasgow, has helped to cement the growing importance of sustainable led residential developments. This survey provides us with a timely glimpse on how investors and buyers are zeroing in on the sustainability agenda across Africa,” Tilda Mwai – Senior Analyst Knight Frank said.

“We expect these findings will send a strong signal to developers on what buyers want, as the race to sustainability intensifies.”

Remote working influencing choice of home

The survey also revealed that a home study office, access to broadband internet and more outdoor space topped the list of the most preferred property features, indicating the impact of remote working on home buying trends.

Mwai added, “With greater flexibility towards remote working likely to emerge as a lasting legacy of the pandemic, we are seeing first-time buyers and homeowners gravitating towards top-quality homes, with amenities such as access to green space and reliable high-speed digital connectivity topping considerations.”

Right-sizing driving future buying intentions

Interestingly, rightsizing emerged as the key feature in future buying intentions with 22 per cent of the respondents citing upgrading family’s primary residence as the main motivation towards buying a house, while 17 per cent cited downsizing as the main motivation.

Furthermore, when asked about the type of property they would like to live in, in the future, 50 per cent of respondents in the region said they would be more inclined to buy a rural or country estate; slightly higher than the rest of the world respondents (34%).

In addition, with strict lockdowns imposed in most markets, it is no surprise that employment, healthcare, and children’s education also emerged among the biggest motivating factors for African buyers.

Suburbs now in high demand

Some 34 per cent of the respondents indicated that they are more likely to purchase a second home, in line with the global average at 33 per cent. 

However, one of the standout differences was the apparent need for African homebuyers to live in the suburbs (57%). 

Globally this figure was lower at 33 per cent.

Tarquin Gross, Head of Residential Agency, Knight Frank Kenya said: “This is a fascinating insight into the impact of the pandemic on buyer preferences. The pandemic has supercharged demand for quality affordable homes in the suburbs as buyers look at the best of both worlds: space and greenery but easy access to services and amenities.”

Experience working on communication and marketing departments and in the broadcast industry. Interested in sustainable development and international relations issues.

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