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A landmark survey of over 2,500 people between 16-25 reveals that 70% believe that sustainability features in accommodation are important

The Property Marketing Strategists (TPMS), a property consultancy which puts research at the heart of design and services, has partnered with leading on-campus student accommodation provider UPP and research house, Dataloft, to find out what Gen Z actually want when it comes to their home. June’s research report delves into Sustainability, where 80% of UK’s  Gen Z said it was important to them that their home has sustainability credentials when considering a new place to live in the next 5 years (this rises to 86% for internationals).

According to a recent report by Cushman & Wakefield, there are over 681,000 student beds across the UK; with a further 115,000 beds in the development pipeline. With the UK a powerhouse for academia, both for domestic and international students, the £60billion sector is proving resilient in spite of Covid and only set to grow. Likewise, the PRS sector has recently topped £4bn in 2021, with spend up 19% from 2020, with completed stock accounting for 1.3% of all private rental households, rising to 2.2% if the pipeline of under construction stock is included. However, despite this, design remains formulaic with TPMS asking whether Gen Zs – who these homes are largely marketed to – have ever been consulted on what they want.

TPMS’ research reveals the booming rented property industry is at odds with what their tenants want, with 16-18 year olds expressing a willingness to  pay more for smart technology (57%) as opposed to a concierge (35%), gaming room (39%), cinema room (46%), pub or bar (41%) or communal dining room (37%). “We have huge preconceptions of what young people want when it comes to housing, but really, our research reveals they want the basics: quality homes with proper insulation to cut down bills long-term, smart tech and accommodation near where they study or work,” says Sarah Canning, co-founder of TPMS, “Young people are acutely aware of the cost of living crisis, added luxuries are at their discretion and in their control, whereas their home should have eco-credentials in design as standard, not at extra cost.”

“When I was in student accommodation, everything was paid in one but now I’ve got a smart meter and I can see how expensive everything is, I would rather put on another jacket than put my heating on… it makes me more conscious of the fact that we’re in a cost of living crisis, which does really impact how I use energy and the choices I make in terms of, you know, turning things off, and only using what I need” says Lucia, Qualitative Research attendee.

Other findings reveal:

  • 70% consider access to public transport as important in terms of sustainability
  • This rises to 81% for females vs. 62% for males
  • 67% want their accommodation to have great insulation to cut down energy bills
  • 35% would like to see solar panels installed 
  • Only 6% say sustainability features would not be important when deciding on their accommodation.
  • 73% of those surveyed would be comfortable living somewhere with second-hand or upcycled furniture 
  • 22% of young people say they want outdoor space to grow produce

Jason Clarke, Head of Energy and Environment at UPP comments: “This research really demonstrates the absolute importance of consistently and continually speaking to students about what is important to them. There is no question that sustainability and the environment are important to students but – like many others at the moment – price sensitivity is dominating their decision making. 

“This is why it is incumbent on the universities and accommodation providers to find ways to make sustainability an easy choice, to help them prioritise their wellbeing and what is important to them without having to pay a premium,” adds Jason.

Further comment from Research sponsor LOFT, Benjamin Hall, Founder adds – “The results of this sustainability-focused survey are hopeful and exciting, as we can see sustainability is becoming a crucial factor in Gen Z selecting their homes. As LOFT was conceptualised from a second-hand furniture business that specialised in recycling and upcycling furniture and furnishings, we understand the importance of creating a circular economy within the residential sector, and beyond. 

“The value of this survey can not be understated, as it is giving us categorical evidence of the perceived importance of sustainability from the most important source of all – the residents. The residential sector needs to incorporate increased sustainability measures from construction right through to the furnishing of the home, or people will not want to live there. Increased sustainability features are crucial to future homes to not only benefit the environment and create a greener future, but cater to a more conscious and ethical residential demographic.”

To learn more, and download the full report please visit: or contact 07810 442 526

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