"Healthy Home" Could Be The Next Big Housing Trend

What is a “healthy” home?

It’s a common phrase surrounding the building and home improvement industry, but what exactly is a “healthy” home?  Common definitions include terms or words such as: devices that improve clean water and air flow, practices that improve insulation, increased natural lighting or controlled lighting to impact mood, managed moisture control, safe environment, organic/natural chemical compounds used throughout all materials within the home footprint.

One thing is clear: "healthy home" ranges across categories, brands and customers.  If you think your business or your target audience is immune to this emerging trend, you may want to think again.  Below is a useful infographic from the UK Green Building Council that illustrates just how far-reaching healthy home products can be.

Source: UKGBC

Source: UKGBC

Do manufacturers or retailers need to know about “Healthy” homes?

Increasingly, homeowners are concerned with the “health” of their homes: the quality of air, the sustainability of building materials, water quality and lighting considerations. In fact, our research with Harvard's Joint Center for Housing found that over 1/3 of renters and 1/4 of homeowners were concerned about healthy home conditions or risks.  Those numbers have only been increasing.  Contractors are also seeing a growth in the healthy home market.  Over half of those surveyed feel extremely or very confident when advising clients on healthy home solutions.

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Millennials especially are more aware of the products they are using, where these products have been sourced, and what they are made of.  This concern creates an opportunity for manufacturers and retailers to produce and carry these types of products with this generation now entering the homeowner market.

Younger moms in particular are more and more concerned with the environment around them and their new babies. With an increase in allergies and child asthma, these young families are realizing the environmental elements in the home could play a part in these ailments.  Increased moisture and toxic products are top culprits forcing many families to seek the products that are not harmful.

How can Manufacturers and Retailers take advantage of this trend?

Manufacturers and Retailers can engineer and sell a variety of products that can increase the overall health of the home and those living in it.  By understanding the consumer perceptions, needs and behaviors of healthy home, manufacturers can add value directly to the homebuyer and contractor.  Examples of such products include Formaldehyde-Free Cabinets, all-natural carpet (completely nontoxic, untreated, non-dyed), low VOC paints and stains, locally sourced flooring.

Retailers should also be aware that increasing products centered around healthy living can have a positive impact on sales and satisfaction among customers. Products related to healthy sleep, including UV and LED lighting to control circadian rhythms are increasing in popularity as well.

Next steps?

The Farnsworth Group is working closely with Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies to conduct research among Homeowners, Contractors and Renters.  This research will follow up prior work from 2014.  A report of the findings will be available late 2018.

For more information on the healthy home trends or general questions about the building and home improvement industry and please contact us at results@thefarnsworthgroup.com.

Written by: Erica Farnsworth, efarnsworth@thefarnsworthgroup.com.