Home Buyers Value Accessible Housing Features, Study Shows

When given the choice between a house with accessible features and a house without accessible features, homebuyers and homeowners would opt for a house with accessible features – and would be willing to pay more for those features, according a new study being released by the Ohio Colleges of Medicine Government Resource Center, and funded by DD Council.

The study examines the perceived value of including visitable features in new home construction and the cost to modify existing housing to accommodate people with ambulatory challenges.

Visitable housing is a substantial issue for people with disabilities and will become a growing problem in Ohio over the next 25 years, when it is expected that 5 million Ohioans will deal with some sort of ambulatory challenge.

Dr. Jack Nasar, professor emeritus of City & Regional Planning at The Ohio State University and primary author of the study, said that his goal was to look at the issue from multiple angles. The team spoke to builders, homeowners, buyers and people in real estate to get their take on the costs, perceived value and preferred design options.

Nasar said this study is the first to look at how the presence of visitable features may determine the value that a buyer is willing to assign to a home. When given a choice between homes with visitable features and those without, consumers overwhelmingly chose the visitable home, even when accounting for additional costs.

Carolyn Knight, executive director of DD Council, said the Council funded the study to help advocates better understand if there is truly a market for visitable housing.

“There have been a lot claims around what consumers actually want and are willing to pay for in the housing market with regard to accessibility,” Knight said. “This study shows that the cost is not prohibitive and that Ohio consumers, when given the option, actually want visitable features.”

Read the full report online.