Back in September last year, we wrote an article exploring how much Singaporeans factor sustainability into their property decisions. Turns out, 82% of the Singaporeans surveyed agreed they would consider paying more for an environmentally sustainable home. Top priorities for their homes included having smart cooling systems, high-insulation windows and doors, and solar panels.
Most of those surveyed are millennials and older. But we wondered: what about Gen Z Singaporeans? So, we conducted an informal survey and asked 10 Gen Zs how they think sustainability will affect their future property decisions.
Sustainable Properties and Neighbourhoods: What Are They?
When buying a sustainable property, you can either choose to buy a home in a sustainable building or live in a sustainable neighbourhood.
Sustainable properties are basically buildings that are green – buildings that are made of environmentally-friendly materials, are energy- and water-efficient and have good surrounding air quality.
Aside from having similar features to sustainable buildings, sustainable neighbourhoods tend to be surrounded by greenery and have features like electric car charging points. In Singapore, HDB has made moves towards creating sustainable neighbourhoods with programmes such as the Smart HDB TownFramework and Green Town Programme.
Now that we understand what sustainable properties and neighbourhoods are, let’s dive in to what our respondents have got to say.
Majority of Gen Z Singaporeans Surveyed Would Purchase a Sustainable Property
For Gen Z, sustainability is a big concern. Already, they are spending more on sustainable products. It makes sense that their sustainable spending habits would apply to their property decisions.
So, it was unsurprising when we found out that eight out of 10 respondents agreed they would buy a sustainable property in the future. Their main motivation is that green properties are good for the environment in the long run.
Having good air quality and reaping the health benefits of living near nature are added perks some like Muhemmed Erfanulla, 23, and Nadia Osman, 24, prize. As part of the Singapore Green Plan 2030, 1 million trees are set to be planted and every household is on track to be within a 10-minute walk from a park.
“Sustainable properties aren’t complete without green surroundings. I definitely look forward to the parks the Government has in place for each household. I can go for regular runs or even walks with my family on weekends and breathe in the fresh air,” Erfanulla shares.
“Living in my current home, I am not 100% sure if I am breathing clean air because I do not know what toxic materials (e.g. paint, construction materials) are used. There are also not many trees around my area. With sustainable properties, there are none of these issues,” Nadia adds.
Another more practical reason for wanting to live in a sustainable home is to enjoy long-term cost savings. To Rachel Pong, 22, using solar panels is one way to combat rising electricity costs.
“With electricity prices increasing, solar panels would save me some money on a monthly basis. The few extra dollars can be accumulated to purchase sustainable goods for my home.”
Barriers Against Gen Z Singaporeans Purchasing Green Properties
Sustainable Properties Costs More or Are Expensive
Like sustainable products, sustainable properties tend to cost more. Instead of being optimised for cost, the building design, surrounding features and amenities, and construction materials are usually chosen for sustainability.
It doesn’t help that four out of five of the most eco-friendly districts in Singapore are located in the Core Central Region (CCR) aka the most expensive areas to buy property. Properties, such as Martin Modern, Boulevard 88, and Haus on Handy, that tend to pop up on the list of eco-friendly condominiums in Singapore are usually pricey too.
All these factors create the perception that purchasing sustainable properties translates into paying a lot more. In turn, this is off-putting for the younger generation of would-be homeowners.
Already Gen Zs worry about risings costs of living and housing affordability. Both Nurhuda Halim, 24, and Muhammad Nadhir, 24, agree that sustainable properties are a good addition to the country. But for regular middle-class persons like themselves, it is too expensive.
“Furthermore, sustainable materials aren’t as readily available [and cost more]. I might have to pay a higher conservancy fee or even parking fees,” Nadhir explains. Their hearts are willing, but their wallet is ‘weak’.
So, the question lies, are sustainable properties always too expensive?
Of course not! For example, Tengah, Singapore’s upcoming ‘forest town’, is a sustainable neighbourhood that remains extremely affordable. The most recent Tengah Feb 2022 BTO launch saw 5-room flats starting from just $420,000. Compared to how the median price for a 5-room resale flat in Queenstown is $952,000, we say, Tengah homes are a steal.
Other existing affordable eco-towns include Punggol, Tampines, Choa Chu Kang and Nee Soon. As a trade-off for low property prices, all of these HDB estates are located in the more ‘ulu’ areas of Singapore.
But that brings us to the next issue…
Sustainable Properties Are Located in Undesirable Locations
Besides the cost, the location is also another barrier for Gen Zs.
Enduring work from home arrangements has shifted our home buy preferences. More prefer larger spaces and a place that offers excellent connectivity and is surrounded by amenities like shopping malls. Gen Z is no exception.
When Faith Jacob, 22, buys her future home, location plays an important part in deciding which property to purchase, more so than affordability.
“For my future home, I would want a place that is convenient. HDB coming up with green features is a good start, [but] most green buildings are [located far away from the city centre],” she shares.
Related article: 7 HDB BTO Projects with ‘Chio’ Gardens and Eco-friendly Features
It Is a ‘No’ for Me
The cost and location are two impediments that stands in the way of Gen Z Singaporeans. But the remaining respondents have an opinion of their own.
20% of those surveyed said they wouldn’t purchase a sustainable property in the future. They didn’t find it necessary to live in a sustainable neighbourhood either.
Why? Because they felt such properties weren’t worth the price. However, it’s not that they didn’t care about the environment. Rather, they preferred adopting green practices at home.
How to Go Green at Home
To each its own – the journey of sustainability is different for everyone. For those who prefer incorporating sustainable habits into everyday living habits, here’s what you can do to go green at home.
1. Install Water Thimbles
Remember those water saving kits provided by PUB? The kit comes with a set of thimbles with three and four holes. These thimbles allow residents to have greater flexibility in regulating their taps and showerhead flow rates, so they can use less water.
2. Switch to a Green Electricity Provider
Using green electricity means power produced from non-polluting renewable resources such as sunlight or wind. There are actually three types of green electricity plans you can find in Singapore:
Carbon Credits (CCs)
Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs), and
3. Going Green With Paints
Going green with paint would mean choosing eco-friendly paints with low volatile organic compounds (VOC) levels.
VOC is non-biodegradable and non-recyclable and has also been demonstrated to harm human health.
Related article: 5 Eco-Friendly Home Improvement Ideas For Your New Home
4. Install LED Lights
LED bulbs, energy-saving sticks, and twisters all produce the same amount of light as standard light bulbs. The main distinction is that LED bulbs consume significantly less energy.
To Go Green or Not?
It’s clear Gen Z cares about going green, though there may be barriers to their purchasing a sustainable property.
For those looking for green homes, look out for the PropertyGuru Green Score when browsing listings for sale or rent on our website. The PropertyGuru Green Score assigns a sustainability rating to listed properties, so you can more easily pick a sustainable home.
For more property news, resources and useful content like this article, check out PropertyGuru’s guides section.
Are you looking to buy a new home? Head to PropertyGuru to browse the top properties for sale in Singapore.
Already found a new home? Let PropertyGuru Finance’s home finance advisors help you with financing it.
This article was written by Sahiba Banu who likes writing articles on property and is eager to learn more about real estate in Singapore. When she’s not working, she adores watching dog videos, especially about corgis, on YouTube.