Driverless Cars Have Potential Market – What does this have to do with housing?

NAHB regularly conducts national polls of American adults and home buyers in order to understand new trends and preferences in the housing market. This is the second in a series of posts highlighting poll results, as presented during the 2018 International Builders’ Show in Orlando, FL.  See previous post on tiny homes.

Driverless cars are currently being developed and tested in the United States. These vehicles use GPS, radar, laser and other technologies to operate without direct human input.  Some potential benefits may include reduced stress from driving, better traffic flow, and fewer traffic accidents, yet liability and safety concerns remain serious barriers to market adoption.A recent poll found that 59% of adults in the US would at least consider the possibility of buying one of these cars if a safe and reliable model was developed in their lifetime. But the likelihood that someone would consider this transportation option declines with age:  while more than half of Millennials and Gen Xers say they might consider buying a driverless car, the share drops to only 36% of Seniors.

What do driverless cars have to do with housing? Among the possible connections, they could have an impact on the location where people choose to buy their homes.  When those open to the idea of buying a driverless car were further asked if having one might encourage them to move further away from work, a significant share – 63% – said ‘yes’ or ‘maybe.’

As with previous trends, younger people would be more likely to move further away from work if driverless cars become a safe and reliable commuting option: more than 60% of Millennial and GenXers might be encouraged, compared to only 18% of Seniors.