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The perceived impact of the home on one’s own health and wellbeing

Feel Good Live Well Saint-Gobain Multi Comfort

Responding to question five of the Saint-Gobain UK Home, Health & Wellbeing Report report: ‘And thinking about buying or moving to a new home and the impact that home could have on you, which one of these statements would you agree with?

In my opinion, the most interesting aspect of this survey is that 90% of the respondents want a home that does not compromise their health and wellbeing and that overall, this figure does not seem to change dramatically across market segments (i.e. mosaic groups).

But what’s also interesting is the remaining 10% who state they are ‘not concerned about what impact a home would have on me’.

By and large, the proportion of those not concerned about this aspect does not change dramatically across different tenures, ages, or gender. There are small differences across regions (from 7% in South East and Wales, to 15% in North East) and there’s a small reduction in the proportion of 'not concerned’ as income increases.

Of the 90% who want a home that does not compromise their health and wellbeing, around a third would pay more and on further inspection, this seems to be linked to socio-economic factors such as social grade and income. The higher the income, the larger proportion of those willing to pay more, and conversely, those on lower incomes were less likely.

To investigate this relationship further, it would be interesting to explore whether the issue here is lack of affordability or lack of desire. There is also a similar relationship between income and concern about the effect of the home on their health and wellbeing - again, some could be studied in more detail.

Healthy home vs current home and health

Perhaps surprisingly, the proportion of those willing to pay more for a healthy home does not vary dramatically depending on the respondent’s satisfaction levels with their own health.

Some features of their existing home may affect respondents’ willingness to pay more and their overall concern/interest in a healthy home – for instance, of those stating that their home is warm or healthy, respectively 38% and 37% are willing to pay more (as opposed to 30% for the whole sample) . What should also be considered however is whether this relationship is due to the quality of their current home and/or the effect of their income and socio-economic status.

The tenure type also seems to be a further factor, with the proportion of those willing to pay more dropping to 21% for social renters, compared to owners or private renters at around 30%.

Interestingly, however, 67% of social renters still want a home that does not compromise their health and wellbeing (although are not willing to pay more for it), which is higher than the corresponding 60% (approx.) for the other tenures. Again, this suggests that the proportion of those willing to pay more is affected by perceived affordability, rather than simply by the perceived ‘intrinsic value’ of a healthy home.

Overall, the responses to the question on the perceived impact of the home on one’s own health and wellbeing, and corresponding willingness to pay ‘more’, indicate that such willingness is strongly affected by actual, or perceived, affordability. To explore this area further, it would be valuable to ask respondents to quantify how much more they would be willing to pay and compare those results to the respondents’ disposable income.

It would also be valuable to consider what respondents are willing to pay versus their education level – something that’s not currently explicitly captured in this questionnaire.

In summary, within this sample, the vast majority (90%) of the respondents want a home supportive of their health and wellbeing, at least a third would pay more for this, and it is likely that the proportion of those willing to pay more could be greater, if this is perceived as affordable. 

It is also worth noting that 85% of those willing to pay more for an environmentally-friendly home would also be willing to pay more for a home supportive of health and wellbeing. By contrast, 47% of those willing to pay more for a healthy home would also be willing to pay more for an environmentally friendly home.

Regardless of willingness to pay more, however, only a small proportion (2-4%) of those who want an environmentally-friendly home are not concerned about the impact a home would have on them. This indicates that there is significant synergy, in terms of home desirability and marketability, between environmental, and health and wellbeing features.

*Disclaimer: The comments above were based on evaluation of descriptive data only. No inferential statistics tests were carried out. It is also noted that some questions include answers with small number of respondents – for these especially, the results would need to be taken with particular caution.

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Disclaimer: The sole responsibility for any views expressed lies with the author(s). Any opinions shared do not necessarily represent the views of Saint-Gobain.

Dr Marcella Ucci
Dr Marcella Ucci Senior Lecturer
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