The Housing Supply Is Looking Greener

By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR(R) Magazine

Green building is moving into the mainstream. About one in five homes — or 20 percent — built last year were “green,” according to a study by McGraw Hill Construction. What’s more, researchers predict green homes to make up 29 percent and 38 percent of new homes by 2016.

Energy efficient home features are becoming nearly standard practice among some homebuilders nowadays. Many builders see “green” as a way to compete against existing homes, boasting it as a way for home owners to save money on utility bills.

Even in a down economy, home owners have showed a willingness to spend more for green features, according to a separate McGraw-Hill Construction study.

While the thirst for “green” homes is growing, buyers will have to pay more for it.

Nexus Energy Homes COO Bruce McIntosh told The Wall Street Journal that green homes cost about 5 to 10 percent more than homes that aren’t “green.” However, McIntosh notes, material and construction costs for energy-efficient building are on the decline, which may help open the doors more to green building.

Also, home owners hope that green home features will lead to a higher sales price when they go to sell too.

Studies have shown that home owners can see higher sales prices when they go to sell if they’re home boasts green features. For example, last year, researchers from the University of California found that green-certified California homes netted 9 percent more than a comparable house without a green label. Green-certified single-family homes sold for $34,800 more than comparable non-green certified homes, according to the study.

Melissa Tracey

Melissa Dittmann Tracey is a contributing editor for REALTOR® Magazine, writing about home & design trends, technology, and sales and marketing. She manages the magazine's award-winning Styled, Staged & Sold blog.

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  1. Excellent article! I am so glad to read this Melissa; thanks for sharing. In 2007 I developed EcoStaging(R) as a new program for stagers, interior decorators and real estate professionals to gain knowledge and insight to a trend i saw as the next marketing wave. Chuckles I didn’t expect it to take five years to catch on but glad to see we have a following more people are realizing what weighs heavily when purchasing a property is if the utilities are affordable once you move in.. Green certification helps you understand the nuances of design, decor, green sustainability and green build.

  2. There is no doubt that on the resale market, green homes sell for more. The lower utility bills in of themselve translate to a lower monthly payment. Gas prices wildly fluctuate at the pump, but it seems the utility companies have a constant line up when it comes to home energy prices.

  3. nice home.

  4. Greener and more energy efficient homes are becoming a favorite.

  5. These type of properties always get more attention!

  6. We can find ways to go greener! Thank you for the tips!

  7. The move towards sustainability continues to grow. This will guide the home upgrades in the coming months and years.