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The Future of Air Quality in Real Estate

KPT is looking into the future, especially in the future use cases for air quality data that are prevalent in our cities: This article is part of a series of future visions and thought experiments about how our environment could become more environmentally sustainable and responsible with the increasing availability of environmental datasets. 

Air Pollution in Our Cities: Location Matters

Air quality in our cities used to be a mystery: with few, if any, public measuring stations and data portals often difficult to find (and use), air pollution was not an issue for the general population. This has changed with the advent of inexpensive air quality sensors.

Hyperlocal air quality data has shown us that air pollution levels can already vary greatly between two locations that are a few tens of meters apart.

This means that location is a much more important factor than previously thought when it comes to the overall exposure of city dwellers.

Empower Home Owners and Investors

With more data available, it will only be a matter of time before it also plays a significant role in  real estate decisions, whether for a young family looking for a new rental apartment , a budding sole proprietor with a chronic condition like asthma, or an institutional real estate investor looking to insure the value of their portfolio  against  the elements. The increasing availability of air pollution data is likely to have a measurable impact on 

property prices: areas with excellent air quality will appreciate in value and areas with chronically high levels of air pollution will experience stagnation or a decline in the value of land  and real estate. Prices.This, in turn, also means there will be more incentive for politicians and public managers to care about urban air quality, as they look at property value as a KPI (Key Performance Indicator) of how well they are doing. It could even mean that real estate developers will implement their own  air pollution control measures in the future to make their investments more attractive and environmentally resistant to external influences.

More and more people are concerned about air pollution: clean air was one of the top 10 global consumption trends in 2020, and 9 out of 10 people worldwide live in areas with excessive air pollution. In the future, prospective buyers who want to buy or rent a new home will probably have a number of questions about air quality, for example:

  • What is the average level of air pollution in my future neighborhood, or better: on my street?
  • Has it gotten better or worse in recent years?
  • What air pollution control measures is the municipality currently taking in my neighborhood and surroundings?
  • Does the air pollution pattern match my habits and lifestyle?
  • Is the air quality in my neighborhood generally good if I want to exercise outside?

How to choose a home with good outdoor air quality

What can you do if you are looking for a new home today and we are still waiting for property portals to adopt average air quality  as an additional search indicator? Here are some basic tips for choosing a place with good air quality:

  • It makes sense to choose an apartment that is not  on a main road or arterial road: the further away, the better.
  • It may also be useful to research where your city's industrial areas are located (e.g. ports, refineries, logistics centers and the like) and what the  prevailing wind direction is. With this information you will know which areas are downwind of industrial sites and which ones you should also avoid.
  • In general, apartments near parks are also less polluted.
  • It may also be worth checking out the  public air quality monitoring stations closest to the areas you are looking at and what their data says.



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