Recent study reinforces homebuyer preference for natural gas home heating, cooking and more

8 out of 10 prefer natural gas appliances and amenities over all-electric equipment

Energy is a critical topic, especially for architects, builders, contractors and real estate professionals. How people heat their homes and their water, how they cook their food, and how they enjoy amenities such as fireplaces and outdoor grills, are all significant factors in many design/build projects – and are also important considerations for people in the market for a new home.

To remain responsive to the market’s energy needs, NW Natural recently engaged Escalent, an independent human behavior and analytics firm, to conduct the study, which surveyed 600 recent and prospective homebuyers in NW Natural services areas of Portland and Salem, Oregon, and Vancouver, Washington. Their research measured single-family buyers’ fuel and equipment preferences for space heating, fireplace, water heating, cooktop/stove, clothes dryer, and outdoor cooking and heating.

The study also explored price sensitivity between single-family homes with natural gas appliances, versus homes relying on electricity for space heating, water heating and cooking.

Results from the study showed that across all home values, a significant majority of homebuyers will not compromise when it comes to having natural gas service. The study also showed that as the cost of a home increases, so does their preference for natural gas. As expressed by a survey participant, “We prefer cooking with natural gas.  It is also much cheaper to heat our home with natural gas instead of electricity.”

Key findings in the study include:

  • 8 in 10 prospective homebuyers:
    • Recognize that natural gas is affordable and efficient
    • Prefer it to electricity for heating and cooking
    • Consider it a prominent feature when looking for their “ideal” single-family home
  • Those actively seeking to buy a new home are willing to pay more for natural gas.
    • 82% of recent and prospective homebuyers surveyed said they would incur an additional cost of $50,000 (an 11% premium based on a mean home value of $456,300) for a home with natural gas heating and cooking, versus a lower-priced home with all electric heating and cooking.
  • When presented with two near-identical single-family homes offered at the same selling price – one with natural gas appliances and one with electric appliances – 83% of recent and prospective homebuyers select the home with natural gas.

The data speaks for itself. For those in the market for a new home, natural gas is a highly desirable option and a strong selling point that can influence their decision-making process. For more information about the single-family home energy preference study, visit