Feature Article /
Jun 20, 2023

The Factors Driving Builders’ Product Purchases

affordability will drive building product purchases

Image: Wild Awake | AdobeStock

Home builders’ decisions in purchasing building products over the next few years will place greater importance on affordability, indoor air quality, smart home technology, and sustainability.

That’s the takeaway of a latest survey conducted by Home Innovation Research Labs.

Building Product Purchase Motivators

The survey showed that a combined 71% of builders said that affordability in their decision making would be more important, and of that 32% described it as “much more important,” according to Ed Hudson, director of marketing research at Home Innovation Research Labs.

“Builders' decisions to buy products and materials is becoming much more impacted by affordability,” Hudson said. “As a result, building product manufacturers need to design and offer with those things in mind. Affordability is a big driver.”

When it comes to smart home technology, 59% of builders said that smart technology and home automation would factor into their decision making more, with 16% putting it in the “much more important” category.

Some 57% said that indoor air quality will be a more important factor in the future, with 18% putting it in the “much more important” category.

Sustainability was next in order of importance. Fifty-five percent said that it will be “more important,” while 16% described it as “much more important.”

Green certification was fifth at 44%, with only 9% having said that it fell into the “much more important” category.

The Factors Driving Builders’ Product Purchases

Home Innovation Research Labs asked builders to identify how impactful the above factors would be in determining building product purchase decisions over the next few years. While several of the factors appear to be growing in significance, none is set to be more influential in the coming years than affordability. 
Source: Home Innovation Research Labs

Affordability’s Impact on Building Product Purchases

Hudson said that the survey tells him there will be an ongoing “downward influence” on a builder’s willingness to pay higher prices for building materials, since a home going up a few thousand dollars is pricing some people out of the new-home market.

“For builders, it may not mean buying a cheap material over an expensive material, but it may mean buying fewer products,” Hudson said. “With affordability becoming a major issue for buyers, maybe builders are designing a house differently or streamlining and doing things so that they have to buy fewer products. Their decisions are definitely going to be driven more by affordability than they have been in the past because they have to build something the market can buy.”

The Escalating Importance of Indoor Air Quality and Smart Technology

Hudson said that he was surprised indoor air quality, which has been growing in importance, was that far behind affordability. Still, it ranks high as the third-most important category.

“Indoor air quality issues are going to continue to escalate,’” Hudson said. “The code requires builders to build more air tight homes than they did 10 years ago or 20 years ago. That means fewer air changes per hour that happen naturally due to leakage. That means the air in the house doesn’t get exchanged as much and as a result undesirable things like humidity and CO2 can build up in a home.”

As for smart home technologies, younger buyers more than previous generations are demanding it help with lighting, energy, heating, air conditioning, security, access and other uses.

This is the first time Hudson said this survey question on building products was asked of builders.