Green Buildings Selling for More?


Green Buildings Selling for More

New analysis shows “green” homes may be a bright spot in today’s real estate market. Environmentally certified homes sold for 4.8 percent more and stayed on the market for 24 percent less time than comparable homes sold last year, according to GreenWorks Realty. The firm’s research focused on the Seattle market.

In the first year since it began tracking environmentally certified homes, 19.8 percent of new homes in Seattle sold on the Northwest Multiple Listing Service were environmentally certified. These homes averaged 1,477 square feet, just slightly smaller than the 1,492 square foot average for all new homes sold. On a square foot basis, this means green homes sold for a 5.9 percent premium. Green homes certified by a third party sold for a 10.5 percent premium on a square foot basis.

“In today’s changing market, this is an important finding for homeowners to consider,” noted Ben Kaufman, founder of GreenWorks Realty. He added, “Environmentally certified homes offer homeowners a way to get the most value and sell more quickly.”

Environmentally certified homes include those certified by Built GreenT, Energy StarT or LEED for HomesT. From September 1, 2007 to March 31, 2008, 168 environmentally certified single-family new homes were sold in Seattle out of a total of 848 new homes sold.

“Until now, the idea that people are willing to pay more for environmentally certified housing has been mostly based on anecdotes,” said Aaron Adelstein, Executive Director of Built Green. “Now we have the first hard data to back up what many of us have believed for a long time – green sells for more,” he added.

Kaufman noted, “When buying homes, it seems buyers understand the benefits of green homes – from lower energy bills to healthier indoor air.” Kaufman initiated the effort to include environmental certification checkboxes in the NWMLS. “These new figures will help appraisers, homeowners and real estate agents understand what buyers are willing to pay for an environmentally certified home,” added Kaufman.

I have no doubt that this is the case in many areas, however I have not seen the market pay a sustained premium for environmentally friendly homes in South Carolina. It’s coming, and I hope that it happens soon, but the South Carolina “green” market just isn’t big enough to document that it’s happening yet.

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