COVID-19 Message to Propane Customers   Learn More »

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COVID-19 Message to Propane Customers   Learn More »

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WASHINGTON (December 7, 2020) — Homebuyers are leaving the city for the country amid the pandemic, according to recent housing data, and propane helps them do it affordably and comfortably.

The pandemic makes crowded areas less attractive to people who worry about rates of infection. Working from home has also caused many Americans to reconsider the need to be close to city centers.

“This shift is a huge win for propane,” said Bryan Cordill, director of residential and commercial business development at PERC. “As more homebuyers turn their attention away from urban living, more homes are being purchased in areas where propane appliances can benefit both the homeowner and the homebuilder.”

A decline in the supply of lots is likely to affect the trend. The number of available housing lots is 10 percent lower than a year ago, according to Zonda. Meanwhile, nearly 74 percent of builders expect to build at least as many spec houses in 2021 as they built in 2020.

As developers move farther away from the urban core in search of lots, community propane systems offer a way for builders to offer desirable gas amenities even in locations where the natural gas mains don’t yet extend. For builders and developers planning new communities, be sure to check out PERC’s e-book titled, “The Ultimate Guide to Community Propane Systems” and CEU course titled, “Community Propane Systems: An Energy and Technology Solution for Developers, Builders, and Homeowners.”

According to the 2020 National Association of Realtors (NAR) Home Buyer and Seller Generation Trends report, published in March, 50 percent of buyers purchased a home in suburbs or subdivisions, 13 percent purchased a home in a rural area, and 13 percent purchased a home in the urban area or city center.

A Harris Poll survey — which reached 2,050 U.S. adults in April 2020 — revealed that 39 percent of respondents have considered relocating to a less crowded place, prompted by the pandemic.

In another recent residential analysis, Zonda found that the pandemic and transition to working from home has only accelerated this trend — and even increased the migration distance in some markets. Most notably, residential customers who previously lived less than 15 miles from the central business district are now located more than 25 miles out in top-tier markets including Atlanta, Austin, Boston, Detroit, Nashville, Richmond, San Diego, San Francisco, and Tampa.

Propane can power nearly every major energy system in a home including water heating, space heating, ranges and stoves, clothes dryers, generators, fireplaces, and various outdoor living applications. With propane, builders aren’t at the mercy of a public utility and customers can choose first-rate amenities regardless of where they live. Propane tanks can be placed above or below ground, and community propane systems can fuel an entire development. Plus, homeowners will enjoy greater efficiency, reduced energy costs, and decreased emissions with propane-powered systems.

“Propane offers unmatched comfort and cost savings for the homeowner and better profit margins for the builder,” Cordill said. “Builders who are well-versed in propane’s capabilities in this market will set themselves up for success as this trend continues.”

To learn more about residential propane applications, visit


About PERC: The Propane Education & Research Council is a nonprofit that provides leading propane safety and training programs and invests in research and development of new propane-powered technologies. PERC is operated and funded by the propane industry. For more information, visit

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Gregg Walker

Propane Education & Research Council

Jeff Salem

Swanson Russell